‘School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for exam. I felt that my thrist for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement.” This was said by Albert Einstien and is still relevant for schools decades after.
Education in schools should go beyond textbooks to impact the students’ lives and prepare them to face the real-life challenges. But the harsh reality is that schools today are failing miserably in achieving this goal. Let’s not talk about preparing students for life when they are not even able to prepare students for examinations. Students going to coaching right after the school have been a common trend for a while now. As schools remained traditional and did not evolve they have allowed innumerable new education-related businesses to germinate.
Private education companies today create content, train teachers and run coaching classes which should have ideally been done by schools. This phenomenon has made most schools redundant as centers of learning. Schools cannot compete with coaching classes in the race of getting marks, in fact, most schools have joined hands with coaching classes.
Statistics tell me that schools are in general selfish and shortsighted organisations. If we ask a question to any school who are your students the answer would be – the ones who have gotten admission in their schools, the ones who have paid their fee and the ones who wear their school uniform. So all the big claim to fame, legacy, impact etc. is actually limited to only those students who by sheer chance or fate got admission into those schools. Let’s do simple math, the average population of a good sized school in India is about 2000, this indicates that the number of students that pass out of the school grade 10 or 12 is about 200 every year. Even if a school has been in existence for 100 years the number of kids who have actually been influenced by the school is just 20,000. This number is minuscule compared to the billion-plus population we have in India.
If we may ask, What about the other children, the ones who did not get admission to these quality schools?
Well, the answer you would get from these schools is that they are not their students so it is not their problem. When town planners design cities they earmark spaces for civic amenities that include parks, hospitals, and schools. Schools have been given a space in our society to make a difference to society, somehow schools have only made a difference to the students who study in their schools and have never been concerned about the others! In future, if schools have to be relevant they have to reinvent themselves and move beyond the madness of academic grades. Schools have to look at children outside their walls as their concern and add value to their lives, this is a humungous opportunity waiting. As Martin Luther King rightly said, ‘When schools flourish, all flourishes.”