Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Entering the System

Tuesday Breakfast : Cottage cheese stuffed freshly baked kulcha w kechup n pineapple drink
Lunch: Kadhi Pakoda , Jeera aloo, Green peas pulao, Phulka dheeme aanch se, Fried masala papad, Green salad, Rice kheer thandi thandi
Evening Drink:Strawberry shake

Wednesday Breakfast : Fresh vegetable potato cutlet w steamed green peas n oven freah muffin, rose drink
Lunch : Ghia masala curry, Amritsari Chole,Bhuna piaz pulao, Tandoori naan, Boondi raita, Garden fresh greens roundal cut, Fresh fruits.
Evening Drink : Bournvita Milk

Thursday Breakfast: Grated vegetable stuffed parantha w fresh curd, mango drink Lunch: Kadhai paneer, Channa dal Ghia, Steamed rice, Chapati, Cucumber raita, Vinegar dipped onion w hari chutney, Jalebi.
Evening Drink: Mochha Milk

Friday Breakfast : Carrot peas freshly steamed idli w sambhar n coco chutney, fresh lime juice
Lunch : Subz bhaji w butter on top, Bombay pao, Pindi channa dry w paneer cubes on top, Stuffed bhatura, Piazi raita, Bhuna jeera rice, Kesari rasmalai.
Evening Drink: Mango Shake
Million Dollars to the one who guesses what the above is...or maybe just a "The Most Aware of Whats Happening Around You Award!"
I for one had a jaw droping moment when I read the above....the jaw hit the keyboard kinda moment.....for the above is not a Luxury Hotel/Resort's Menu Card but a weekly Menu Card of a School....a school where a 3.5 or 4 year old enters primarily for the purpose of acquiring life skills....oops sorry I meant livlihood skills. When did a center of training (I do not have the heart or the mind rather, to call them Centers of Learning, though some teachers do cross that line and make it a learning experience despite the stale 'how to make a good living' syllabus, but they are few and far in between).

If one thing I am sure of, it is a head full of premature grey hair by the end of the following 4 months. The end of the coming 4-6 months will also mean return to Janmabhoomi and hopefully a satisfying end to my school search for my children who will enter the Indian School System. My search and queries have lead me to frazzled , harassed parents who have told me horror stories which can keep any parent awake. Any queries sent to the 'Contact Us'link of school websites have (not surprisingly) yielded no results. I have been told the schools do not need 'us', we need 'them'. This power play and positioning means we will do whatever 'they' ask us to do. From paying money under fancy and necessary sounding heads that are actually nothing more than shameless greedy 'donations' to being treated poorly, we take it in our stride. We accept being forced to maintain a DIH (Double Income Household), sitting for parent interviews at school and ignoring the most glaringly unethical question in the school admissons form about the income of the parents.

As a parent one is ready to sweat it out to give the best to one's child. I will happily do cartwheels around the school campus if gauranteed the best education for my child. But after paying ridiculously high fees and putting up with all that will come my way from this greedy, money making, institution, am I ensured of what is truly the best for my child. I am not expecting lessons to live life well...I know that is something I will have to do myself...gone are the days of such Gurukuls and such Gurus.
But the rising trend of Day Boarding Schools and forced lunch at school is alarming to say the least. The first such school that came up in my hometown of Jammu has a dangerously high number of obese children. Can a person who bids and wins a contract and hopes to make a profit be in a position to feed your child nourishing, nutritious and wholesome food. I have been in the hostel for both my undergrad and post grad and during PG I remember that a certain,Mr. Shetty, the Canteen Contractor was rumored to use soda in Rice and other dishes so that the students ate less and yet felt full.
A child growing up on such a diet however fancy and delicious is bound to suffer in the long run. And what is it with the long hours? It can be suitable for working moms but no one can convince me that it is good for a child to be in a structured setting for such long hours. The only thing it does is prepare the child early on for long working hours at office or lead to a case of early burn out, both physically and mentally. I do not need that kind of "smooth transition" from school to office for my children.

All I dream of is a great school. Not very far away from home. Where lunch means exchanging home made parathas with some friends idlis. A school where one makes friends, explores and grows. A place where winning is not important but doing one's best is. Values are equally cherished as academic excellence. A place where a child may falter, make mistakes but never stops learning.

P.S : Any suggestions, advise, information are more than wlecome :)

21 comments:

AnjuGandhi said...

schooling has become a big business these days
every one wants to put their children in best schools ( i suppose best means the more the fee is the better it is). as far as schools are concerned the ball is in the court of the school authorities.
in the name of providing global, all round education they demand what ever they feel like and the parents not to be left behind by their frnds shell out whatever is demanded and they are ready to dance to the tunes of the school authorities. now when parents are ready to do any thing why should education system not take advantage of the paretns

Antarman said...

it is really sad to see the commercialisation of everything.

Plus many parents today want to give their child what he/she wants not what should be given... we are doomed to have the next generation as obese.......First we spend money to destroy our health(by eating indiscriminately) and then spend money to regain that health(by gyms etc)

BK Chowla said...

Schooling is a business where ROI is extremely high if the school management maintains a good PR agency.Parents are more concerned with the name and standing of the school and not so much about quality education.Higher the fees,better it is considered and because of this those concerned take the advantage...and why not?

wordsndreamz said...

Welcome back! How was your exam?

And have a lot to say on this - will be back later :)

Vinod_Sharma said...

It's all about the money, everywhere. For those who have money there are twice the number who develop means, fair and foul, to get it out of them.

This is the result of the great riches race. If you join it - even if you don't - you have to take the good with the ugly.

manju said...

Well, how was the exam? :)

Good luck with the school hunting. Go with your gut feeling- if you feel that a school is right for your childen- that's probably true!

Chrysalis said...

Anju ji : You are so right, best has been defined as the most expensive in every sphere of life actually.

Antarman: "many parents today want to give their child what he/she wants not what should be given" You nailed it here...I think we lessen our own guilt for spending lesser and lesser time with our kids and even the moments we spend with them we are distracted and perpetually "connected".....so we guve them 'all' which is reall all damaging.

Chowla Sir: Business it is and we are willingly being fooled.

Vinod Ji: money money money it is...and ugly ugly ugly too.

Smitha and Manju ji: Thanks for asking... my exam was good minus the sanskrit shlokas which I did not manage to memorize...hopefully in a year or two when both A and A are of to school full time.....
But I am really hoping I pass so that I could seriously start on my thrid level exam....the syllabus for which is amazing and I cant wait to get started....

wordsndreamz said...

You know, my friend went through all this when she moved back last year. As you say, schools just don't call back or respond. She had to literally hound them before she managed to get it all sorted out. We certainly need them! It has all become a matter of how much you are willing to pay.

As for the food - don't even get me started! Yes, homemade food is anytime better! I don't understand this concept of 5 star food in schools. Even if I am working, I would rather give my daughter a healthy wholesome lunch box than a school lunch. Here, in the UK, there is a concept of school lunches -but still most children bring their own food. And even that is strictly regulated - no sweets, no crisps, fruits and yogurts and healthy food are expected in lunchboxes packed from home as well.

What I have come to understand is that swanky schools are more likely to be full of children from houses which are equally swanky. I would rather put my daughter, where the focus is on education rather than horse riding! I have seen schools in Bangalore advertising that they also have horse riding! I am for a all round education - 'education' being the key, I want her to be grounded in reality as well.. Somehow, these schools make me wary.

All the best!Am sure you will be able to zero in.

wordsndreamz said...

And just one more thing, I so wish we had a proper grading system for schools in India. You know, on the various important aspects of education. Here, they have a system for that and it makes it so much easier to zero in on a school..

mesoliloquy said...

I wish we had something like this in school while growing up. Just for this menu, I want to join that school. :D

Chrysalis said...

Smitha : Agree with every word u say. BTW can u imagine 40 children in one section and atleast 4 sections per class.....and horse riding....that is either many horses or some really overworked and exhausted few ;)

mesoliloquy: Hey welcome! So good to see u here. I come from the gene pool where I have to watch everything I eat...so thank God I did not have something like this at school :)

rupa said...

M is going through this hectic schedule. Totally agree with what Anuji has said.

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Pranab said...

Munshi Premchand, in his work Karmabhumi lamented the onset of commercialization of education asking, "Should we be surprised if the students of these institutions put money above values in their lives? ". Would he, have imagined that 6 decades later, that commercialization would not even spare the kindergarten level of schooling.

The last few years have seen an immoralistic, unchecked rise in the fee charged by schools right from first enrollment.

I personally think that among the many things that should be taken care of, in making the decision about the institution into which a child has to be enrolled, two things should never be forgotten.

One, it is necessary that a feeling of competitiveness be inculcated into the child from an early age. This does not mean that kids should be pressurized even before they have shed their milk teeth but that they realize the incentive for hard work and focus. This makes it necessary that the past students of the institution you are interested in, have done well both in sports and academics.

Secondly, and most importantly, I believe that such an institution should be chosen which does not delay the end of school hours unnecessarily. This ensures that the child gets to spend as much time as possible with the parent(s) provided the parent can afford it. This, because parental care is the most powerful and effective tool in shaping up the character,focus and the value notion of a child and also negating any unwanted influences the kid can come across when away from home. On the other hand, if the child comes home late, the parent will supposedly become considerate and flexible in tolerating things s/he should not be. Less time spent with the child would make the parent solely dependent on the school to shape up the child's education and character which is a tricky scenario.

As far as the food served is concerned, the menu u provided is no doubt petrifying but I think that barring junk food, kids should be allowed to eat whatever they want to at this age. If I am not wrong in guessing the school u mentioned in Jammu, I agree the school has obese kids but even then the environment the kid is provided at home is the decider. One of my cousins is from the same school. He is fittest of us all and has represented our state at national level in sporting events. No doubt, the guy has a special sporting character but the part played by env at home is also important.

Wish you and your kids good luck !!!

manju said...

Just read this post about alternative schools- you might find it interesting.

http://punarjanman.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/alternative-schools-in-india-some-advantages-and-disadvantages/

Amrita said...

OH!! Sounds so terrible. Even that is my very idea of school, where you are to get an education - not food, pampering, and definitely not cos parents dont have time!! Alas - i think i am born in a very wrong age and time :(Do keep us posted on ur search results

Chrysalis said...

Pranab: "This, because parental care is the most powerful and effective tool in shaping up the character,focus and the value notion of a child and also negating any unwanted influences the kid can come across when away from home. "

This is so vital in todays day and age when gurujul system is dead. Agree with every word you said. And yes about food at school... practices at home detremine the habits one forms, I agree, but I still prefer the home cooked dabba :)
Your comment yet again blows me away...you definitely wiser beyond your years.

Manju ji :Thank You so much for the link. Really interesting post and throws light on many aspects of alternative schooling. I only wish more alternative tools for education were available for regular schools. Most of these alternative schools are boarding schools.

AMrita: I feel like a misfit too Amrita. Though since I believe in Punarjanam I am assuming there was such a time and will be later when I fitted right in or will do so :)
I will keep you posted on the end result. My plan B is to take admisson in my husband's school old....a school from 1850's, not in a metropolitan, on the banks of the Ganges.....me pretty happy with my Plan B :)

Pranab said...

Hello....Thanks a lot for ur generous comments.

As far as me being wise, I would better advise you to reserve ur judgment till you see me, as you might just discover the opposite :)

Anrosh said...

if you are wise you will trust only your childrens literacy to the school system, only you can educate them.

Chrysalis said...

Anrosh : Well said. Totally agree.

destinationinfinity said...

I was extremely lucky to have been educated in D.A.V School... even today if I am about to do something silly, I will always think - will this somehow affect my school name... I had so much regards for that school. There was only a deposit of 5000 rupees and that was totally refunded once the student was leaving and no donations - that's how schools ought to set an example for students, so that they follow some of the principles of the school later on... I totally cherish my school, and will someday do something back (when I am able to).

Destination Infinity