“The elephant is out in the room” and nobody is noticing. Two young lives have been snuffed out in quick succession; one to the “Blue Whale” and one to the “NEET Fiasco”. As the blame game goes on, two culprits have been away from centre stage – we (the parents) and our own “Education System”.
Let me gather my arsenal and point out to the latter, “Endearing Education System”. What killed the 17 year old medical aspirant from Ariyalur? Why did this child, who studied diligently to score 1176 / 1200 in State Board succumb to a paltry 86 in the NEET Exam? Would you go by the logic that the CBSE Questions are 180 degrees apart from the State Board? How could one reach Chennai from Trichy if one were to travel from Trichy to Coimbatore? How could one crack the NEET when grappling with the ‘archaic’ State Board System?
Early this year, i had organised a seminar at a suburban school. One of the speakers was a most coveted Biology teacher who gave his formula for success in the Biology exam. He mentioned that just studying chapter 3, 4 and 5 would fetch 190 marks out of 200. Byhearting chapters 3 and 4 would fetch 150 marks out of 200 and by just studying chapter 3, one could attain 80. If this is how we are going to churn out doctors, then God save the patients.
I have been teaching for 19 years and struggle to make Engineers understand decimals and fractions. Geometry and Algebra is beyond their comprehension. Reading and writing, their pet aversion and History and Geography, a mandatory burden to be endeared to clear the TNPSC and Bank exams. When are we going to address this fundamental flaw and stop churning out armies of students bereft of concepts and applications? Why do these 1180s consistently get arrears in their Engineering? Isn’t it high time somebody figured it out? Would just window dressing the syllabus be a long term remedy? Don’t we need a systemic shift in mindset and ask the obvious question – what is the need for these myriad of exorbitantly priced Coaching Institutes? Why our BEd and TET trained erudite teachers are woefully inadequate in transforming 1176 into high NEET scores?
Let’s now turn our attention to the former “the Blue Whale episode”. Whereas the most innocuous of professions mandates a certification, the most responsible profession in this planet; Parenting is turned a blind eye towards. A child, who is not allowed to touch Nicotine or Alcohol even with a barge pole, has the most addictive tool in the planet 24 x 7. The ubiquitous ‘Cellphone’, an instrument which demands constant attention and who’s ‘friending or unfriending’ status can determine the course of one’s life and build or destroy ones self-esteem. Isn’t it time, the torch bearers of the family stopped analyzing characters living under one roof in reality shows and started noticing the “Little Boss” under their roof? Isn’t it time, the “Little Bosses” realized that ‘friending’ is a physical reality – hugs still exist in this world, they are entities who would be heard, dinner times are meant to be together and Engineering and Medicine are not the be all and end all of life. Childhood is meant to be lived and not an examination to be passed.
Many more versions of ‘Blue Whales’ and ‘NEETs’ will come and go but the “Elephant in the room” needs to be woken up and addressed. Is anybody listening?