Education’s Trauma- My Experience

Education, sometimes, becomes a trauma for a student as well as parents. The student doesn’t get interest in the subject taught. The student hardly learns the subject. Mostly it is because of the way subject is taught. But the student is under pressure to score high in the examination. That leads to rote learning that is torturous. Education becomes stressful.

In Indian traditional system, the rote learning was not considered inferior. The teachers of the time thought that once the student would get mature with age he would understand the content learnt through rote way.

In my school days, the students were scared of two important subjects-English and mathematics. Many coming from rural India found English as difficult as Latin. The examination for judging excellence or score was also arduous. Most of the questions used to be subjective. The students were expected to translate and write essays on odd subjects. Without grasp of the language, it was difficult to score good marks.

Mathematics was scaring for many. The fault lied with the teaching. Basically, I never found any teacher innovative in making the student learn the basics. The language of the questions used to be made difficult to understand the questions. I scored very high marks in mathematics, but I can confess that those came out only through my rigorous practice sessions and long hours with varied type of questions from different sources. I will love to learn the school mathematics again today. I shall be able to appreciate what it means in practical life. In school, the competition causing trauma is limited to the number of students in the class of the school. But when it comes to board, the competition becomes more wide and extensive.

I had a trauma in the examination in my school before the West Bengal Secondary Board Examination. My class teacher wanted to make me behind his favourite student of an executive of the factory whom he was tutoring privately. And he waited till my Hindi teacher submitted my scores. Thereafter he awarded that many more marks in Bangla language which could make his student the first in the test. It was the first case of discrimination that I faced. I was very sour about that. But I scored almost 100 marks more in aggregate than the so-called first boy in the final board examination. The teacher was so ashamed that he could never face me thereafter.

In those days we had to go for Intermediate examination in college. I was worried but confident to get in one of the three colleges of Calcutta of the time for the intermediate in science. Those colleges were Scottish Church, St Xavier’s, and Presidency College. I went to Calcutta after collecting the marks-sheet. My grandfather as usual accompanied me. I had never been to Calcutta on my own, though we were in Birlapur, the factory town in district 24 Parganas that was so near to it. In the first two colleges, I filled up the admission forms. I was asked to come for a test on a specific date. When I went to the counter of Presidency College that was my dream college, the old man on the other side of the counter asked for my marks-sheet. I handed over to him. He asked if I had brought admission money. I affirmed, and my grandfather passed on the amount. I got the admission almost without any fuss in few minutes. I got my Hostel too same easily the same day. It happened as Presidency had a set cut off marks for science. I qualified and got in. The other two private missionary colleges had the discriminatory power for admission. I might not have got admission there.

At Presidency, I could realize that though a student of vernacular medium is taught English as a subject for almost 9-10 years, the student hardly get proficient in English. It holds good even today. The education system must correct this through technology aids. In the school, my medium was Hindi but I was taught all other subjects in Bengali. Another flaw is the number of students in one class room. It was about 50 or so in Presidency. Even in IIT, we used to have about 60 students. Let me confess I hardly learnt anything, though I passed with big scores.

By the time my sons grew and went for schooling, things had changed. All the three had their primary schooling in the nursery school in the factory premises only. But then it was necessary to get them admitted in some good school in Calcutta as was the fad those days. Kids of my colleagues used to commute to Calcutta for schooling. I tried a little but failed to get them into any of the best schools of the time. All the three went into Hartley High School that didn’t have big brand name such as St Xavier’s, St. Lawrence or many others. I had tried for Rakesh, the eldest in St. Xaviers, but failed. I was neither resourceful nor smart enough to understand the way I would have succeeded. My son was no way inferior to those who got selected. Even after school final, I couldn’t get him in usually preferred missionary schools of Calcutta. Rakesh sat for a test in Ram Krishna Mission College in Narendrapur that was considered the best college for plus 2. He had an excellent score in school final board examination. But I had to do a lot to get him in. The problem exists even today when a student is to change school. The criteria of admission are not transparent. And the good schools and colleges are few. The students and parents get traumatized to find a good school. But I have bit of advice. The school must be sufficiently good. One should not hanker for a school because of its brand. Many a times, even these branded schools cause the trauma for some students.

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