These Funny Diktats!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Dec 2018 12:07:03














By Vijay phanshikar,


It appears that the those in charge of education -- particularly in schools -- are least bothered about the long-term effect of what they wish to do or not do with school students.


New Delhi, November 26 (PTI): No homework for students of classes I and II and prescribed weight-limit of school bags for each class, are part of the fresh directives by the HRD Ministry to the States and Union Territories across the country.
According to official order, the HRD Ministry “has instructed all the States and Union Territories to formulate guidelines to regulate teaching of subjects and weight of bags in accordance with Government of India’s instructions”. ...

THIS issue has been on board for at least two decades, if not more. From time to time, the Government has been issuing instructions to schools about controlling the weight of students’ bags and also about how much homework to be given to students. Now the fresh instructions are that the students of standards I and II should be given no homework at all -- so that the children have some time to play and be with parents or elders or siblings without the burden of studies. Despite all such efforts, the school community has not been able to abide by these guidelines for years, may be due to the impracticality of the instructions or in sheer brazenness and disrespect for the Government’s intentions. Whatever the reason, the overall scenario is far from satisfactory from multiple angles.
So once again, instructions have come -- for the schools to follow. And one part of the instructions is that no homework is to be prescribed for students of standards I and II.
Why not? -- may I ask!
Why not homework for those children?
Naturally, the authorities will insist that they wish to reduce the children’s burden of studies.
To that answer, here is another counter: What about instilling in the children certain discipline about studying back at home -- at least for sometime?
This is the real issue. This is the issue that needs to be understood in its entirety.
In pre-school, there need not be anything to be done at home by way of studies in classroom. But as the child climbs into standard I, he or she needs to be taught the importance of sitting in one place and do some work related to school. Call it homework or anything else, but it is important that the child learns to sit down in one place for a few minutes and get engaged in a focused task. And when the task is mandated from school by the child’s favourite teacher, it assumes an altogether different kind of sanctity. Ask any mother, and she will testify to this. When the mother tells the child to do a thing or not to do it, she or he does not listen. But when the teacher says something, there is every willingness to do it -- or avoid doing it.
There is another argument as well. The school has not prescribed any homework for the students of standard I and II, but at home their parents give them tasks as regards studies. How can we stop that? To that extent, the instructions are effective only in a limited manner.
These are actually the issues fundamental to education, not to studies per se.
Unfortunately, a lot of wrong has gotten into the system first by way of funny instructions, and also by way of non-serious approach of schools in general towards the official instructions. That is the reason the weight of school bags has not come down for ages and the children are prone to back-ache and bent backbone and drooping shoulders.
It appears that those in charge of school education are least bothered about the long-term effect of what they wish to do or not do with school students. A funny diktat emerged from somebody’s head long back: Never punish a child. And never means never, the instructions said. Everybody knows how terrible the impact of this instruction has been.
Then came yet another instruction a few years ago -- never fail a child until he or she reaches standard 9.
Why not? -- may I ask.
If the child has not done well, why not ask him or her to continue in the same standard and build studies soundly?
But this diktat was in effect for long, and was withdrawn only after a generation of school students was spoilt by its implementation!
If that instruction -- of not failing a child until standard 8 -- was right, why was it withdrawn?
No one knows the answer. Or, in other words, everybody knows that the HRD Ministry had messed up things.
And there also is yet another diktat still in effect: Never publish what used to be called Merit List. For, those who do not figure in it feel left out and their minds are negatively impacted and they develop an inferiority complex. So came the grades whose actual meaning is ultimately boiled down to percentages. So, unofficially, merit lists do persist, no matter what somebody in the HRD Ministry might have thought at one point in time.
In a similar vein has come the instruction that there should be no homework for students of standards I and II. Whosoever has sponsored this idea has worded it very finely -- to make it appear almost sublime: No studies at home so the child gets a lot of time to feel free to do his things.
But then will come a time all of a sudden when the child is in standard III, and his homework begins. Will he accept it or rebel?
Have we ever thought seriously about the idea of progressive engagement of the child and the discipline of studying (or learning) with a higher quotient each year?
No. Never.
That is the root of real trouble in our school education. Our children -- and their schools -- dance at the whims of some people whose connect with education is suspect.