Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Death by coaching

Coaching classes are big business in India. Urban Indians have gone completely obsessive compulsive about all the coaching their kids supposedly need, over and above the schooling and the dance classes, and the swimming classes, and the art classes, and the music classes. Go to the bookstore to buy the year’s worth of school books for your three year old, and you will be handed flyers for coaching classes! Is this insane or what?

Five, six, seven year olds, these days, are going to tuitions after school. These are not graduate, or masters, level students. These are barely first, second or third standard kids. They shouldn’t even need any extra coaching if they are in school and attending classes. Homework is given to students as practice, so the kid can revise what was taught in class, and get the fundamentals right. So, the kid should not need any major help with the homework, and a kid who goes to school regularly and does the homework regularly should have no need for coaching classes! At least not until they are in the 9th!

And suppose the seven year old does need a little help with his homework. In most cases, the parents are at least graduates, and in most cases have higher levels of education themselves. So why is it that they cannot help the kid? Okay, double income families might at least have an issue of time. When both parents get home late at night, helping junior with the homework may not seem too feasible. But, what about single income families? And there are still a lot of those in India! In many cases, the mother is at home all day, has 3 or 4 servants who do all the housework, has a cook for the food, so why can’t she take a look at her kid’s educational needs?

Not so long ago, the idiots, duffers, and stupid kids, who could not study or understand on heir own, were sent to tutors. It was a matter of shame in the peer group, for both kids and parents. Now, the situation has turned 180 degrees. It is “in” to have seven different tutors for a 10 or 13 year old. Seems to be another way for parents to show off their money and for the kids to shirk really learning or applying anything. They don’t have to think about what they have learnt, if anything, and definitely don’t have to apply the first principles to anything before they move on to mugging up the next.

But that’s what the system wants. Kids who don’t understand, who simply mug and vomit, do well. And that drives the movement towards more coaching classes. As a result, the kids have no free time, no real study time, no childhood and no fun. They get shuttled from one coaching class to another, learning less and less, and becoming the prime candidates for intellectual death by coaching. No wonder so few people really think these days. And be warned, the next generation will have even fewer.

No comments:

Post a Comment