The classes begin at 10 am. Its 9:35 and the students are all scattered in the school ground, everyone in their own groups, doing their own thing. Everyone trying to fit in someplace or the other.
Its 9:45 am – the bell rings * Ting Ting Ting * — the scattered students all move together to form their respective lines for the morning assembly. Ivan Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning is so perfectly applied on the school students.
Its 9:55 am. The bell rings again *Ting Ting Ting* – all the students gradually moved to their classes. They called it discipline but the students were turning into robots, reacting on bell sounds and acting as they were told to. If anyone comes late, they are punished, because how dare their houses be too far or how dare they get stuck in traffic jam and miss one great day of coming closer to turn into a robot.
Its 10 am – the first class begins – Its Mathematics period. “Students, turn on your Math book, take out your calculators and while you are at that, make sure you turn on your mathematical brain or else get punished.” , says the teacher. The student good at math becomes the teacher’s favorite whilst the bad ones get punished, because how dare they not solve a problem they could not understand. – 40 minute passed – * Ting Ting Ting*
With no break in the middle, the English teacher enters and says, “Make sure you go from being logical to being creative in 0.001 seconds because you are my students.”, students who were trying to prove that “ LHS = RHS “ for the last 40 minutes, now suddenly have to shift their minds to “Where the Mind is without fear” and interpret the hidden meaning that the poet is trying to convey. But they also have to make sure that their interpretation is exactly the same as the teacher’s interpretation because hey, the teacher is always right. The 40 minutes pass. *Ting Ting Ting*
This goes on for 8 periods straight with one lunch break in between and maybe one 10-minute short break. With all that “studying” and “acquiring education” , the students then have to go home with rather heavy bags, and then with the little ounce of energy left with them, finish the “not-so-many” assignments given by all 8 of the teachers.
Oh well, and when there are exams, you either mug up all the answers and memorize everything that there is on the books and textbooks and get your “intelligence” or your “eligibility” and your learnings of one entire year tested in 3 hours with 8-9 questions. And dare the students get low scores or fail in any one of the subjects, they are criticized by their parents, by their teachers, by relatives, even by the aliens that don’t even exist in the planet.
Our Education System believes that “Education” is finishing your schooling, your college and your university studies with straight ‘A’s or at least a ‘B’ and acquiring a certificate that proves that this particular person is educated. This is exactly what’s wrong with the education system of our country. The students are given information about various things and areas but they aren’t taught to utilize those information. Students are taught to mug up chemical equations and science theories, but they aren’t taught basic life values. I am always amused to see little school children spitting on the road or throwing wrappers on the road even when their parents are with them. What is the point in finding out the value of ‘x’ if the kids are still throwing the wrappers of their chocolates on the road? What is the purpose of knowing the name of father of Computer Science is if you don’t know how to respect fellow human beings.
The school does not teach the students life values such as respect and empathy. Rather, it implants the feeling of competition within you – competition not to make yourself better but to compete against others. They are not taught to be okay with failures but are taught that if they fail, they are not worthy of anything. The only person given respect inside the classroom is the kid who comes first. The kid who is a great musician but is not that good at studies is shouted at, humiliated in class in front of all his/her friends. The notebook of the kid who loves to write is torn apart every time he/she is found scribbling down a plot of a new story. The kid who doesn’t like to play sport are forced into it because it’s compulsory. Everyone is made to participate in art even though some students are not even interested in holding the paint brush. Everyone should have write essays and everyone should participate in talent shows. Students are molded in such a way that they start believing that if they are not good at studies, they are not good at anything. Their interests are not motivated but are suppressed in such a way that between assignments and mugging up and vivas and exams, they lose the interest or their passion.
The teenage suicide rate of Nepal is increasing so rapidly, and I believe that one of the major push factors in it is the screwed up education system of Nepal. Yes, students should be taught discipline but at the same time, they should be taught to lead themselves into becoming unique individuals, not to follow others or fit into what they are not. Yes, students should be taught to compete, but not with others, – with themselves! Yes, students should be motivated to win, but they should be taught that it is okay to fail. They must be taught to work hard to achieve success and failure is only a small obstacles in his/her path of success. The students must be appreciated if they study well but if they are good at something else and are looking to take it forward, the school should motivate the children. Intelligence is not restricted just to the parameters of the grades you get, but your analytical skills, your thinking capacity, your opinions and so on.
We are taught from our very childhood that school is our second home and we are taught that education is the pathway to success. Let’s work towards making our second home a place where we are actually educated with knowledge as well as values. Let the children believe that school is not a place where they are shaped into someone that the society believes is correct, but it is a place that gives a hand in building them as what they believe they want to become. We have so many people in our country who hold so much potential, are they losing their confidence in their potential because of this education system?