Almost all parents today are concerned about their kids future and want them to excel through education. But their ideas of education are too narrow and lack of awareness is widespread. Education as we all know is formal schooling that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning. But education is more than pursuing certain courses. The actual goal of school education is to provide perspective and enlighten.
Schools with mindset to serve society through education
Schools serve the society through education, their goal should be to strive to provide good education to their students. Most good schools have been around for 30 to 60 years. It takes 20 to 25 years for a school to establish itself as a good one.
Good schools are like custard apples (Seethapalam). They may not look appealing from outside but inside, they are clean, appealing and good. Good schools mentor kids properly instilling discipline, building character, leveraging the attitude, making sure that the kid is well behaved, focusing on handwriting skills, regular assessment of homework (encouraging self study), not tolerating negative behaviors, ensuring that the formal communication is in English, not overly punishing, using structured system to discipline the kid etc. Remember, none of these need money, fancy buildings or air conditioned classrooms.
These good schools will stay away from all the hype and drama. They will not look for money, their main aim is to help the child develop his/her academic, social and moral values. They not only teach kids the right way to spell, add, speak, but also to talk to their peers and respect their elders. We are losing all of these invaluable lessons with the large number of new commercial minded schools being run by greedy businessmen.
Today, we can see many people who are ‘educated’ in fancy, expensive schools, but don’t have the basic knowledge, which includes discipline, communication or courtesy. Many are unsuccessful in life unable to apply their ‘education’ in the real world. The reason – most of them got educated in schools with ‘cinema theater mindset’.
Gross commercialization of education – cinema theater mindset schools
Education in our state became a multi-million business, with sophisticated marketing departments working hard to convince parents/students that an admission in that school is a ticket to the student’s success. Even autorickshaw drivers, mechanics and other low income families are overspending and sending their kids to private schools. They are spending substantial amount of their incomes to send their children to these schools and are assuming that these schools will ensure a bright success to their kids.
Rushing off to admit your kid in schools with fancy buildings or those which advertise themselves highlighting the success of a minute number of students scoring high marks may be a foolish decision. There are many schools in our state attracting kids and parents with all this drama and hype. They can be considered as cinema theater mindset schools. Cinema theater schools mushroom everyday, become talk of the town within two to three years showing some unimaginable results and quickly enroll hundreds and sometimes thousands of students with high fees.
We know a small number of students from these schools do well in academic scores. How about the vast majority of the students from these schools. What are the values and expectations they are setting? Will they make them honorable people?
Cinema theater mindset school – always ‘houseful’
We call them cinema theater mindset schools because they operate in a similar fashion to that of cinema theaters. Cinema theaters, do not mind what people are learning from the movies they screen. They want to screen only a hit movie that runs houseful, no matter what people are learning and what are its negative implications on the society. For them a good movie is something that makes more money. Similarly, cinema theater mindset schools do not bother what kids are learning, they only want their cash registers flowing. They are like shady auto dealers, seeking to make most money by selling a second hand car. They fine tune the external things to make it look perfect because this affects saleability of the car. Even if a car has major issues, he will find someone to do a quick and cheap fix for short-term before selling it to someone. When the car malfunctions, it is the problem of the new owner. Such will be the quality of education in these schools.
Moreover, movie theater business is a risky business. They cannot get continuous hits throughout the year. Where as educational institutes does not have this issue. Fees need to be paid monthly, year after year. In that way, it is like having continuous hits.
These schools are constantly focused on growth – more schools and more branches. Reasonable growth is acceptable, but by mushrooming and multiplying rapidly, how can they hire, structure and create good schools?
Fancy building doesn’t translate into good education
Many people in our state have wrong expectations of the schools with fancy buildings. Spending more than 10k per month for kids education – is it really worth it? Does fancy infrastructure translate into better education? It is simply overspending on the education, which these cinema theater schools are ‘cashing’. To understand better, take a look at Middle Eastern countries. There are many universities with excellent physical infrastructure. But will anybody go there for further studies? Are they better than Harvard because their buildings cost more to build than Harvard?
Schools are the basic foundation laying institutions. Kids spend much of their formative years in schools and whatever they learn here has an impact throughout their life. When a school is systematically run, kids become systematic. But when kids attend drama schools with fancy buildings, air conditioned classrooms, they are being conditioned to fancy way of thinking and living. They get disassociated with the reality.
Good schools need not be fancy, but should have substance. If you take a look at ancient India, kings who could pay anything for a good education went to gurukuls to attain a well rounded education. Gurukuls which used to be in the middle of the forests, had little facilities. Even the kids of mighty kings used to live modestly at gurukuls. They valued true education and knew that studying in gurukuls will make them complete human beings, who can face and tackle the challenges of real life. Typically, a guru does not expect bags of gold coins at gurukuls (even though they are educating the king’s children).
Even today, there are some good missionary schools, some non-commercial schools, and some will-run, non-profit private schools, which offer good quality education without the greed of making money from schools. They are focused on being good schools, not in running high profit schools as businesses by exploiting the vulnerability of ignorant parents.
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