By Merrin Alice Abraham
Edited by Liz Maria Kuriakose, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist
Private institutions and schools are mushrooming everywhere and the standard of education has shot up. Yes, every parent wishes that their child graduate from a reputed institution with the highest possible degree. It is a very ambitious dream and very few see their hearts’ desire turn into reality. On the one hand, it is good that there are many worthwhile institutions where an aspiring student can fulfill his/her dream. But, with the privatization of the education sector, it has become more and more difficult to get enrolled into a good school or college. These institutions are reaping generous profits at the expense of the students. Double income families are finding it difficult to meet the financial requirements prescribed for their children. Tuition fees alone would cost them more than half their income. Add transport and co-curricular activities to the list and they would be looking at a red streaked balance sheet. Since education has become an inevitable aspect of any child’s future, the parents have to sacrifice more than usual to give them a decent education. Middle income and single income families find it the hardest to comply with this new system of learning. Hands on experience is definitely an asset but the rate at which the schools are running through their students parents money, we can wonder if anyone would venture to send their children to school. A kindergarten student has to take an entrance test if he/she wishes to enroll into a new school. Just imagine the level of expectation that is resting on that kid. He/she is just a kid. Why would anyone want to give them an entrance exam? What are they trying to prove? This situation is only going to get worse with the inescapable onset of inflation. Parents may have to choose between survival and education.
But, there is still hope for such an inexorable state of affairs: Home Schooling. This system has been adopted for students who cannot cope up with the regular class room setup. They are allowed to study at their own pace from home and take the exams at the end of the year. Imagine the difference it would make if home schooling was allowed for regular students who cannot afford the huge tuition fees. Either of the parents could also stay back home and coach their child. The children may just get to learn the subjects they actually like and probably pursue a career they enjoy. By enforcing a select number of subjects on a student we are restricting their potential to that group. The regular class room experience is an enjoyable one and we all agree with having social interaction. But with these money grabbing schemes the parents seem to have no better option. If such a law is ever passed, then the general middle class families can heave a sigh of relief. At least parents will not have to work double time to make ends meet.
Merrin is currently pursuing an Integrated Masters Program in Humanities and Social Sciences at The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. She has a variety of interests ranging from singing and dancing to playing football. She spends her time writing short stories and reading novels. An avid reader, she can survive without food if she has books to keep her company. She attends church everySunday and takes keen interest in her religion.