With summer starting, the end of the school year is getting closer but of course, before they can go in their well-deserved holidays in May, the children still need to write their yearly exams. After the summer holidays, another school year will start and in schools around the country, parents are now already choosing the school they want to send their children to. Or, and this is what I see often these days, they apply and the schools choose. Let me tell you about this trend which I see as a dangerous approach to educating children.
If you want to inscribe your child in a school, you normally go there during days when they are open for admissions. You want to choose a good school and so you inform yourself about it. These days, for informing yourself about one of the better private schools, at least in this area, you need to buy their pamphlet. There you get to know about their school fees, the offers and facilities of the school and, last but not least, about the application process. Even if you decide on paying their – often crazily high – school fees in order to provide your child quality education, you need to pass this application process.
The process is quite lengthy and includes an interview of the student, an interview of the parents and then often a raffle, a lucky-draw concept to choose those children of the many applicants who get selected for this school. In this raffle however, not every applicant’s name is present. You have to pass the interview as a parent and as a student in order to be included in the raffle at all. Are you good enough for this school?
Yes, in this way, already your introduction to school, as a tiny child of four years or even younger, starts with a competition. Do you already show enough intelligence in order to go to this school? Are you clever enough?
What is it that they are looking for in the parents? Whether they can support their child during homework? Whether they have degrees themselves? Whether they can teach the child at home when teachers didn’t manage to convey the message? Or is it all about money and how much they can support the school with donations? And how come that some children, the sons and daughters of the most influential people, never get taken out in the raffle but always make it to enter the school?
It feels elitist and you know what? The school openly declares that it is a school for the cleverest, the most intelligent, for ‘future leaders’.
The scariest thing about this all? That this is becoming the norm. That this is a standard procedure for a whole lot of schools. I will tell you tomorrow why I believe this is wrong, why I think this will increase India’s problems and why it convinces me more and more of the work that we do here with our school.