Are you a parent yet…? Are you a proud mommy or daddy of a little prince or princess? Are you in the process of thinking or on the way to becoming a parent? If you have said “YES” to any of the above questions then you have one of the most important tasks on hand and that is choosing what type of education you want your child to have.
Mother to a strapping young boy… has been the most trying, overwhelming and rewarding experience. From the get go it’s all about the choices. Are these the right foods, diapers, clothes, etc.? It was eight years ago since these mind blowing choices had to be made. The easy part was the sleepless nights of feeding, the never ending changes of diapers, rhymes singing, the funny faces and the awkward dances that kept us all on our toes. But sadly that phase ended a little too soon for our convenience and now it was time for the husband and me to decide on the schools that we had to put our son in. As usual we took opinions from our near and dear ones. Friends, family and from people who were eavesdropping on our conversions had an opinion to share. “Put the child in play school as early as two years”, “Don’t put them in play school but home school them”, “Don’t home school them but put them in a regular school once they reach the ripe age of three”….. You get my drift don’t you? Sigh!!! Don’t get me wrong, all these people had our best interests in their hearts but the biggest question was what did we want and most importantly what did our child want? We knew our child the best. So after a lot of arguments and discussions on the pros and cons, we finally decide to put him in playschool. Our first experience was a nightmare….let me tell you why. The first day of playschool was a difficult one for us especially for me since I had never let my boy out of sight for more than 5 mins. I was going through what I think many of you mothers out there will agree to “separation anxiety”. We reached the playschool well ahead of time and waited for them to take him in. I thought there was going to be a lot of screaming and crying, but our little guy was only too happy to let go off my hand and walked in with the “aya” with confidence. The next few days he settled in well. We were happy too. Then came the day when he was back home and he had a huge bump on his head. I didn’t think much of it but his grandma and a friend of mine asked me to probe him further. On asking him, with just the few words that he knew, he told me in his own way that a teacher had banged his head on the wall. It freaked us and we immediately pulled him out. Now the dilemma was where do we put him next. How do we choose the next place and trust these people with our child who were unknown to us? Well we went with our instinct and enrolled him in another playschool. This one turned out great and with no big incidents he spent the next 2 years in an environment where he was happy and content. Remember this was only the first step. Now came the more important step that would lay the foundation to his future. Which regular school do we choose?
Just the beginning… a long journey ahead of us.
Decisions…. we had to make one soon. So we got down and dirty with loads of brochures and articles and tons of reading from eminent dignitaries from the educational sphere. But we still questioned if the choices we have made are right. At the onset of this journey there are things to ponder. Being in a diverse country like India we have various options. With different people, backgrounds and culture we have a multitude of educational boards to choose from, the most familiar being CBSE, ICSE & State board, these are just a few options. Then come the schools, the most renowned, the budget friendly, the one with all the extra- curricular activities, the distance from our home, travel time and the works. With the changing times we also have newer forms of educational systems that have been introduced based on the global systems / standards. Now this form of education is something that was alien to us and completely threw us off course. With no regular class rooms, curriculum and no books. It was more of learning from your environment and peers.
I was all for the regular school, the one like I had been too. The usual rows of desks and the teacher standing on a little podium in front of the class with chalk in hand and reading out lessons from the text books and our noses in the books. This was something I had grown up with and I wanted my son to have the same experience. My husband on the other hand who I must say is great at sports wanted him in a school that had a lot of focus on different sports. Now here was the next hurdle. How do we choose? Do we pick a school that is just book centric or do we go with something that concentrated more on sport or do we go for a school that has a combination of both. We decided the latter. We were spoilt for choice. The number of schools to choose from is just huge. There are the international schools which would make our pockets considerably lighter. These schools have air conditioned classrooms and meals served on trays and lifts to take them up and down the building. All we had was a normal classroom with peeling desks and the windows open to the maximum during summer, sitting and fanning ourselves with our books and a muddy and dusty open tree lined ground where we took our “Tiffins” sat in circles with our friends and had our meals.
Then we have our old and established schools, the one that have been around for years and where some of us now parents have passed out from. These schools still followed the old methods and ways of teaching and running the school with little added advantages (they do have to keep up with the times if they want students enrolling themselves).
So we chose the more established school for our son for we are from a middle class family and there is a mixed group of children in these schools. And being educated from one such school we understood it better. But like anything else, with time these institutions have also seen changes. Teachers now don’t need to have any teachers training whatsoever. We find most of the teachers who are from IT backgrounds. The question is again was this the right choice? I have no doubts about the teachers educational backgrounds, I’m sure they have the best degrees from the most prestigious institutions but are they and will they be able to handle the youngsters of today? With no formal teachers training, we as parents do think it’ll be difficult.
PHEW… Are only some of the reactions to the mammoth tasks ahead of us. There’s always going to be the good, the bad and the ugly to any institution. In all of my research there has not been one place of study that I have found to be a perfect ten on ten. So my dear parents and parents to be, please don’t beat yourself up too much coz when the time comes we will have to make that decision and there is really no right or wrong, for it’s for these little bundles that we would only choose nothing but the best.