We moved from the US when my elder one was 4.5 years old. She was not going to a proper school at that time there as in the US, kindergarten starts from 6 years. After we came back to India, she started going to senior kindergarten at the age of 5. Not to mention, she found the whole thing very different and difficult. The other kids had no problem in coping with the class syllabus as they were going to school at the age of 2.5 or 3. In other words, they joined the rat race at the age when they should be playing and exploring things around them.
So, the question is – Why to push kids at such a young age?
Ok, now coming to the second part. She slowly got used to the education system in India. She was a very creative child but we observed that the pressure of studies killed her creativity. Our Indian education system is such that it expects kids to cram everything without understanding the basics.
My next question is – Why rote learning? How will only memorising long and lengthy questions help a child in the long run?
Next part is the pressure which kids feel when they go to higher grades in India. Till 7th grade, it was all ok but as soon as our daughter entered 8th grade, it all changed. As parents, we could feel the pressure along with her. Sports and recreation periods were very less and there was more pressure on academics. She worked hard and scored excellent marks in her 10th grade but what about her creativity?
So here comes my next question – Why in Indian Education system kids are pressurised in higher grades? Why are good grades a matter of life and death?
As a parent, I feel these things are a problem in our Indian education system and it’s high time we need a change-
1. Rote learning without a proper understanding of basics –
Cramming and memorising answers and just vomiting them on the answer sheet needs to be changed. Our kids are not gaining anything by just memorising. More focus should be on basics.
2. Undue pressure –
Every other day we hear many cases of kids taking extreme steps as they were not able to perform well in studies. Parents and teachers have to make it a point to explain it to the kids that it’s ok if you get fewer marks and it’s not the end of the world. Any kind of pressure on kids never helps rather it just makes them nervous and lose the sight of focus.
Also, read an open letter to pushy parents.
3. Let them be creative –
Do you still think that doctor and engineer are the only two fields in India? I agree they are the most lucrative fields but maybe not the most satisfactory. There are many different fields and let your child decide on their own. Do guide them but don’t pressurise them. Extracurricular activities are given a back seat as they are not going to help a child to get admission into IIT JEE or medical. If you see foreign universities, they focus on what extra a child has done other than studies but sadly it’s not the case in India.
4. Early schooling –
2.5 or 3 is not the age when they should be sitting and learning but it’s the age when they play, explore and learn on their own. I remember one incident when my elder one was 2 years old and we were in India for a short break. She started going to a play school just for 2 hours. My aim was to let her go and play with other kids as there were not many kids in our neighborhood. But after few days she refused to go the school and the reason was that teachers were forcing her to sit and learn numbers, alphabets and names of months etc. when all she wanted was to play. Can you blame a two-year-old child for not sitting and focussing?
5. Focus on grades and report cards
Getting good grades is the only criteria for an Indian child to do anything in life. Instead of asking a child – What do you think of your marks or How do you think you can improve? They ask – Did you get the highest marks in that subject? Or how many kids scored higher than you? It’s time to change the focus. I know limited seats in good colleges add on to extra pressure as most of the seats are reserved for other classes. But a change in the ranking system is also needed.A lack of well-rounded education and practical knowledge is missing in our Indian education system. #Education Click To Tweet
This topic is close to my heart and wanted to write about it for a long time. I feel there should be more practical learning where kids can learn with feel and touch than just cramming.
I know the things are not going to change any time soon but it’s high time we think about it and bring a change. Our system does not produce the imaginative and creative kids but it produces according to set criteria.
I know it’s not the perfect system of learning and there are many flaws. But I can see few changes happening although it’s a long way to go. It’s time to reward innovation, creativity, and originality.
I would like to hear from other parents about the Indian education system. What do you think is wrong with our system?
You can read all our education posts here
I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter
My Alexa rank on 1st September is 406, 629. Hope to see it go further down with this challenge.
September 1, 2018 at 6:53 am
Actually career wise and monetarily there are many professions that have already overtaken medicine and engineering. Good Post.
September 1, 2018 at 6:29 pm
Thanks Lavanya for stopping by.
September 1, 2018 at 9:15 am
Where we have lost out the most is in stifling creativity and encouraging this ‘byheart and paste’ nature of passing exams. Talent is not always winning in schools because of this… can think of a few examples from my own school days and that was decades ago.
The problem is there is no visible effort to make substantial changes…
September 1, 2018 at 6:31 pm
Yes, Roshan..thats the real problem. No substantial efforts to change the curriculum or methodology. Thanks Roshan for stopping by.
September 1, 2018 at 9:49 am
There u go, we crossed each other.
Totally agree. I think it’s the key questions most parents thinking and no wonder that my topic today was exactly on same line. Kids started getting 99% and still want more? Poor kids.
September 1, 2018 at 6:32 pm
Thanks Maheshwaran. Would like to read your post.
September 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm
this ‘copy-paste’ education system is not scientific – it doesn’t allow a child to think. Change is needed.
September 2, 2018 at 2:51 pm
I hear parents discussing this very often Deepa. Hope the people in charge are listening and will bring about a change.
September 2, 2018 at 10:41 pm
I know nothing about the Indian education system, really, but it sounds as if we (in the US) are moving in that direction. On the one hand, we should have some standards for what is learned before one passes to the next grade. Perhaps there should be less focus on age and less stigma on failure to advance quickly, but more focus on providing a good foundational learning in reading, writing, science, and math. To this end, there IS a place for “rote learning.” Multiplication tables, spelling of common basic words (until one is old enough to learn how phonetics and a dictionary work), and certain common facts (maybe units of measurement). It’s simpler, faster, and more uniform and appropriate, I think, to elementary school students. It isn’t “evil” and repetition helps to cement basic, foundational knowledge that provides a springboard for original thinking.
That said, original and critical thinking are skills that must be encouraged and taught and treated as important. Where would medicine be without imagination? Would we have heart valves from pigs, or completely artificial hearts, or limbs custom-made from 3D printers? No.
The sort of system you describe, and the one I see us falling into here, puts far too much pressure on children and parents alike. It encourages stress, anger, and cheating. It serves few well. Teachers hate it. Why do we do it? Funding? The government needs to put some accountability on public schools for how they spend taxpayer dollars. But still, we pay our teachers poorly and many spend, out of their own pockets, for supplies for their students. I don’t have all the solutions, but we’re in similar struggles. All I can suggest is enrichment at home – encourage play, creativity, and demonstrate ways in which learning can be fun. Children learn best when their natural curiosity is engaged (not MURDERED by stress and grades and punishment) and when learning is turned into a game.
September 2, 2018 at 11:58 pm
Thanks Holly for reading and sharing your views. You ae right, it’s important for us to give the creative atmosphere at home so that kids get the freedom to express themselves freely. Every country has their own struggles I guess.
September 3, 2018 at 9:17 pm
As a mother I completely agree with your point of view, Deepa. My daughter’s almost 4 and not showing much inclination to learn like most kids do. My husband and I took it lightly and let her decide when she wants to. She’s good in colouring and creativity though. This pressure is what parents and our education system must shield our kids from.
September 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm
Completely agree on all points regarding the Indian education system. A lot of our problems would disappear if we could tweak it towards more life-based knowledge, creativity, flexibility and the the ability to work together as a team and as a society.
September 6, 2018 at 5:57 pm
We carry a legacy of old education system that was thrust on us. We didn’t have an option then and we got conditioned to a system that strives to kill our creativity and train to follow a process or a method. That wholesomely benefited the promoter of this rote kind of education system. Few decades back we as country were still in the old mindset, we didn’t have much career options in front of us and everything was revolving around medicine and engineering.
Things have definitively changed with the advent of digital and new stream of career options are dotting the landscape, schools have to change and there are already signs driving us in that direction, and maybe in few years time we see a new system dominating the education scene in India.
Very nicely written, the topic keeps bothering us every time we think of what’s next for our children.
September 7, 2018 at 1:34 am
Population plays a vital role. There are only so many jobs and there are atleast 1000 contenders for each available opening. The easiest way to filter is by sorting through ranks. Software companies like CTS don’t consider a candidate’s profile if they had scored less than 60% in their 10th or 12th. I mean, what’s those grades got to do with software programming? Also, the mindset of parents that only certain jobs are desirable makes the mad rush towards marks inevitable. There has to be a holistic change in the mindset of young parents to bring about a change and that will take atleast one more generation.
September 7, 2018 at 9:05 am
I agree Varad. This obsession with grades has to stop in our country. Otherwise, we are only producing memorising machines who have no idea about what they are learning. Thanks for sharing your views.
September 7, 2018 at 6:52 am
Deepa you have brought up some very relevant issues in the way our kids receive education. But trust me, times have changed to some extent now. My kids are not under the same pressure, to learn alphabets and numbers. They are learning basic activities where their cognitive and motor skills are developing. My son will be 6 next year, and I see him getting some pressure from studies point of view only then.
September 7, 2018 at 9:07 am
Good to know about it Anupriya. Hopefully, it changes in higher grades too. Thanks for stopping by.
September 7, 2018 at 7:49 am
I passed out of school in 1983 and those days only engineering and medicine were considered good career options. I am an engineer. Though I did like Mathematics I always wanted to be a classical scholar and take up something like History. But unfortunately opting for the humanities group was considered a matter of shame those days. So I followed the bandwagon, opted for Science, got through JEE and passed out of IIT. Your article is an eye opener for parents who insist that their children take up a career in engineering or medicine irrespective of the child’s inclinations and aptitude. #MyFriendAlexa #JaiSReads
September 7, 2018 at 9:08 am
Yes Jai, the mindset has to change. Thanks for reading and sharing your views.
September 7, 2018 at 9:25 am
As I have been on the other side as well and I must say, I really abhor our education system. Change must happen and soon. I have seen teachers who called their better half home to clear doubts while teaching in class and they were applauded for their teaching. Secondly I know of a prestigious school in Chennai where they take admission for 2.5 yo ..three years back. There is a huge waiting list for parents to enroll their yet to be born kids!!!. In Bangalore I have seen work at home moms sending their 2 yo kids [for almost 5 hours] with bags and teddies to school all the while consoling them as they cry. We are in serious trouble if this system doesn’t change soon. So it is better that we don’t stress our kids or pressurize them b’coz in the end as far as they are concerned it is a TRANSACTION between us parents and school.
September 7, 2018 at 9:33 am
Yes Sudha, Thats what makes me sad. There is seriously a need for change and hope that happens soon. Thanks for reading.
September 7, 2018 at 9:33 am
We had the same views when we came back from US. We even considered home schooling but I soon realised I need to bring a balance for my child at home between what they experience in the real world and what we think is correct.
So yes they enjoy school even though they are loaded because we have our priorities all set out
( as afamily what we are expecting – we discuss with the kids ), at home they are as creatve as they can be ( my daughter started exploring cooking baking and making cold percelain jewelry very early on around 5 years of age)
September 7, 2018 at 11:24 am
Thats great. Its important to let them be creative.Thanks for dropping by.
September 7, 2018 at 10:15 am
Good post. I also feel that there are many strengths in the Indian education system that’s why many Indians after a string base here, pursue higher education all over the world and do exceedingly well. Yes certain things need to be improvised with changing times but the core strengths need to be retained.
September 7, 2018 at 11:26 am
Indians get used to the hard work and that helps them to do well later but my point is – why the pressure? Lets hope for some change in the coming years. Thanks Prerna.
September 7, 2018 at 10:36 am
Very relevant questions. The best an Indian parent can do is find a school that believes in these ideals. It can be done, so don’t lose heart. The problem really is with the CBSE exam.
September 7, 2018 at 11:21 am
Very valid observations Deepa, seeing the syllabus for nursery itself makes me wonder why on earth do they have to study so much? Its a nightmare
September 7, 2018 at 11:30 am
September 7, 2018 at 12:13 pm
Couldn’t agree more. Just so my child doesn’t go through the kind of education I received we have opted for alternate schooling for him.. also govt is making changes in the current system.. it will take time though.
September 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm
So true – we also returned about 8 years back and have the same doubts since then….in the mean time, my kids have adjusted to learning by rote… I don’t know whether that is good thing or bad thing!
September 7, 2018 at 1:40 pm
Thanks Jayanthi..if they have to stay in India..they have to get used to it.
September 7, 2018 at 1:37 pm
We also wondered the same thing, when we moved 8 years back… it has to change – but how? when?
September 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm
The focus of our education system is more about rote-learning and producing known facts from memory rather than learning a concept and thinking. There are very few teachers who actually ‘educate’ children. And these days education has become a business.
September 7, 2018 at 6:55 pm
Agree with you about education being a business. Thanks Agnivo for stopping by.
September 7, 2018 at 4:45 pm
I could see the mirror of my thoughts and pain that I have felt with the education system in India, here in this post Deepa.
Does a report card with all A’s mean the person will be the best suited to live the life to the fullest? And does the report card with some D’s as well mean that the child will have no future whatsoever? Its a skewed way of looking at the life from the perspective of the academic excellence only and thus ignores the emotional balance, rationality of the child or the other areas of excellence like sports and arts. Indian education system is raising white collared bonded laborers and not the independent thinkers.
September 7, 2018 at 6:56 pm
Thanks Anagha. Glad you can relate to it.
September 7, 2018 at 5:56 pm
Like always, awesome post. totally agreed.
September 7, 2018 at 6:27 pm
Your points are so right. I think in such a scenario, a parent’s awareness becomes doubly important.
September 7, 2018 at 6:57 pm
Thanks Suchita for stopping by.
September 7, 2018 at 10:01 pm
You are very right, the system need to be restructured, we are losing our manpower/woman power
September 7, 2018 at 10:59 pm
Deepa you have brought up a very relevant topic! The system needs to be changed and until that happens We as parent’s also need to work on it . We need to create a pressure free environment for our children and foster their creativity in every possible way. I believe that even if a child gets outstanding in all subjects but the efforts are satisfactory and another child who gets Medium grade but efforts are outstanding then definitely the latter is much better and good learner! Hope we get there some day! Great post!
September 7, 2018 at 11:50 pm
Thanks Surbhi for sharing your views.
September 7, 2018 at 11:02 pm
Well expressed, Deepa! The rote system is fine as long as it is confined to the tables and the recitation of certain poems. Originality needs to be rewarded, and co-curricular activities made a must in every school for the overall development, physical and mental, of a child. After all, even in interviews, the personality of the child is what makes the all-important impact.
September 7, 2018 at 11:51 pm
Agree with you Deepti. Hope to see some change in the coming future. Thanks.
September 8, 2018 at 3:39 am
This subject is close to my heart..We are right now in the USA…My son is in 2nd grade and today he told me that one of his classmates’ mom mailed his teacher asking why are there so many home works coming? Now, according to me the amount is nothing! On the other hand, I have seen Indian parents complaining about not getting enough home works for their kids! There lies the dichotomy in the education system of the two countries….I feel both has its pros and cons ….Educationists from around the world should sit together and come up with universal educational ideas and methods!
September 8, 2018 at 9:05 am
Thanks for sharing your views Haimanti. Every system has its pros and cons as you said.
September 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm
education has become commercial. every country has its own struggle. seeing the kindergarten kids struggle with topics ahead of their age pains me. well written deepa
September 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm
So rightly put. Our education system needs a complete overhaul
September 8, 2018 at 9:49 pm
Our kids are under a lot of pressure and I hope it gets fixed. Now it is all about h.w and extra chapters 🙁
September 8, 2018 at 10:21 pm
Good to see you have discussed in this issue and raised logical questions but i think it will hardly bring any change coz it needs long time to take place any changes, recently in my blog i have shared some of my views on loopholes and drawbacks of our education
shared the link, do visit when you get time and share your thoughts.
September 8, 2018 at 10:46 pm
Thanks Jyotirmoy..will check out your post.
September 8, 2018 at 11:34 pm
Our education system needs a drastic change. I sent my kid to school once he reached 4. I refused to send him around 2.5 years and was ridiculed endlessly. But I took my stand.
Believe me, it’s the best decision we have taken for my child. He doesn’t know the rat race but enjoys his school every day
September 9, 2018 at 9:24 am
Thanks Pushpanjalee for stopping by
September 10, 2018 at 2:15 am
Agree 100% . As days pass, everywhere we see only competition. Whether it be 2 year old or 20 year old, children are pushed to compete… The system itself have no idea what is this competition for.!!
September 10, 2018 at 1:23 pm
The Indian Education system has become like this for decades now. one of the reasons for this rat race is also the ever increasing population.
I haven’t put my child to school for the only reason that I want him to enjoy his childhood_the golden days.
September 10, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Very true. In India, education is focused on getting good grades, not good education.
September 21, 2018 at 10:49 am
You have raised very valid questions. We have been focusing only on rote learning which kills all creativity and like-minded kids are the byproduct. Atleast now I see more parents moving away from traditional schooling, still there is a long way to go!