US Schooling: My Take

During my stay in Cary, I have regularly walked with Emma and Zach to drop them to their elementary school nearby. At the end of the school, I had been bringing them back too. It gave me that immense pleasure what a grandfather gets. I saw many children getting accompanied by one of their parents. So time around 8.40AM and 3.40PM had been a quality one. Some other things also impressed me while in US this time. I wish the schools and teachers in India take a note of it. Quite a large number of students in Emma’s school do also come from distant places. Some one in the family drops them just outside the school entrance. The vehicles of the parents queue up till the siren for the start of school goes, and then it start moving on one by one.

1. Volunteers: I enjoyed watching the kids who work as volunteers outside the school entrance opening the car doors and receiving the students with nice verbal pleasantries such as ‘good morning’, ‘good day’ or just ‘bye’ to the parent. The same thing happens again when the school ends at 3.40PM, this time for seeing off the fellow students in the vehicles of their parents. Some teachers are also present at critical points helping the traffic movements for safety. The volunteers also mount and unfurl the national flag along with those of the state every day morning. Why can not all the schools in India too unfurl our national flag that will certainly be a nice inspiring routine act?

2. Teachers’ salary in US is comparatively pretty poor. Certainly, they have their grievances too. But they appeared to be very involved in teaching and doing their duty diligently. Mostly Americans as well as the NRIs put their children in the government schools near the community unlike that in India. Even the family decide the purchase of their houses based on the ranking of the government schools. One can know about the accreditation and other details of the school on its websites. I have visited the sites of all the schools my grandchildren were and are attending in California, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. I wish the programme Digital India covers every school as priority, and in the next five to ten years all educational institutions and schools of all types get accreditation from a credible agency and an active website of its own. With increasing penetration of Internet and use of various electronics gadgets such as laptops, smart phones, tablets, the schools will have to be on web and cloud to make the life easy for guardians.

3. Reading and maths are the only two subjects that are taught in primary school, that is up to class V. Emma is in grade 2. She has other activities- art class for painting, computer lab, music, library and physical education that have allotted hours once in a week. The design of activities make the children love the school hours. All teachers know their students and the family, mothers in particular. Many of the simple and very cheap fixtures built by the school authority and teachers make the school hours interesting along with imparting certain discipline, healthy life and knowledge too.

4. The education is fully free. Unprivileged ones get many other benefits. Interestingly, the class teachers request the parents who can afford, to arrange some supplies such as writing papers, clear files, or pencils for the use by the children or in the class. I found Shannon preparing a special T- shirt for each student of Emma’s class. She prepared a sweet dish one day for the class of Zach. Teachers are innovative and keep on working for making education a fun rather than a burden, arrange number of programmes involving the students and interested parents.

I could not even dreamt of the knowledge that Zach in KG and Emma in Grade 2 have, though naturally their mother has contributed too.

I keep on contemplating how the millions of kids in schools of rural and urban government school in India will reach a respectable standard in reading and math.

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