Still Captivated By The Spell Of International Schools? Necessity Or Show-Off?

International schools in India are mushrooming everywhere, and finding ready takers despite the hefty fees. But what are they truly delivering in return?

International schools in India are mushrooming everywhere, and finding ready takers despite the hefty fees. But what are they truly delivering in return?

Priya and Raj woke up early in the morning. Both were deeply engrossed in arranging their degrees and other paraphernalia they will need for this process. While Raj was busy rehearsing the way he would enter the room and will introduce himself in English (apparently, this matters a lot for securing a place), Priya was busy selecting her best silk saree which would be apt for the interview; Raj interrupted her and advised her to wear some western attire instead as that would make a better impression on the authorities.

So while reading the preface one would deduce that both are going for their dream job interview but ridiculously, you are wrong in this guessing game as both are going for their 5 year old son’s admission interview in a renowned international school. No, no, not in some other country as these days we are lucky enough to get these international schools mushrooming locally in our country itself.

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Like many other parents, they too are overwhelmed with the thought of their only child getting enrolled in this 5-star school which looks more like a hotel and the splendour of this palatial place is amplified by the English speaking staff  dressed in their best attire.

The recent murder of a 7 year old kid in Ryan International school of Gurugram has shocked the whole country and especially parents who are sending their kids to these swanky schools. No, I am not accusing just this school; it can happen in any school, but the whole argument is to put to introspection, the mentality which is driving parents to follow this rat race of sending their kids to Big Schools (which are apparently big in their buildings only) and falling prey to the racquet of these money making machines which consider schooling as a business to make big bucks.

Here are a few lame excuses that parents would offer.

Giving our kids what we were deprived of

Recently, on being asked about sending his kids to these five star international schools, my friend lamented about how they were 5 siblings and the father was a farmer so they went through heart-breaking compromises in life including schooling in a village school. Now when he has achieved enough in life, he wants the crème da la crème of schools nurturing his kids as some elite creatures reflecting their own ‘class’. These are parents who are spending a fair amount from their hard earned money and often compromise on their necessities in order to fill the pockets of these schools. I found this sacrifice so futile and the argument so pointless. Our only responsibility as a generation is to inculcate more scientific and noble ideas in our kids thus making them an improved generation.

International schools as a display of living standards

Sharmaji ka beta waha padta hai to humara kyu nai pad sakta? (When Sharmaji’s son studies there, why not our son?)

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Bade school me padega to society me humara maan badge! (If he studies in a ‘big school’, we will have a higher status in society)

We often hear this jeremiad from parents, who are eventually compelled to get the admission form of these international schools. Going by the fact that what is not easily accessible is more valuable, there is a prevailing craze for getting admission in these international schools despite long queues and hefty donation charged. Most parents complain of fee hikes in schools or about their money making schemes by launching various futile projects and activities in schools which are actually irrelevant for kids, but they never take their wards out of these schools as more than need, it is a tool to maintain one’s superlative position in society. These people are generally narcissistic; education is an exhibition for them – exhibiting their spectacular opulence.

English is no more just a language

I may be wrong but my observation tends to argue that these days English has become more than a language, a medium to communicate. Yes, it is good and certainly beneficial if you know it because it is one language known and used widely by people round the globe but thinking that speaking English is a heavenly attribute that is mandatory for a successful and happy life is a myth. Developing concrete concepts of science (which can never be bounded by any language) is more important that developing other skills as these can be brushed up at later stages of education also.

The failure of government schools

The irony of our society is that Government jobs are considered creamy, white collar and respectable but government schools are places of neglect with pathetic infrastructure and poor teaching staff. In the year 2011-12, there were – 7,12,437 Primary Schools, 4,74,294 Upper Primary Schools,  1,28,321- Secondary Schools and 84,133-Senior Secondary Schools as quoted from GOI statistics. As many as 62% of children in India attended a government primary school in 2014, compared to 72.6% in 2007-08 – indicating a surging preference for private schools – A recent survey on education released by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) showed a sharp decrease in the number of students in government aided schools – only 62% of Indian children attended a government school in 2014 as opposed to 72.6% in 2007-08.

According to this report in The Hindu, however, there were government schools that still managed to achieve exceptional results, without any 5-star infrastructure. These were:

  • Zilla Parishad School, Kenjal, Maharashtra
  • Bankura Zilla School, Bankura, West Bengal
  • 3. Government High School, Thyamagondlu, Karnataka
  • 4. Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Kothamangalam, Tamil Nadu
  • Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Nadakkavu, Kerala
  • Rüzhükhrie Government Higher Secondary School, Kohima, Nagaland

So, if the above schools can change the perception by their progressive efforts than we can surely rebuild the rest of the government schools into ideal options replacing money making schools being run by influential people for whom education is a business rather than the wave of compassion  it actually should be.

The goal of Education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth. – John. F. Kennedy

Top image via Unsplash

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