EF - A Handbook On LifeSkills for Teachers, Parents & Professionals

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Daytime Prisons - 2



Let’s get a few things out of the way. There are some who think the English language is evil and is destroying original Indian or Hindu culture. Their reason being, more schools are adopting English as the medium of teaching. This is one of the silliest arguments going around. English has not been a “foreign” language for Indians for a long time. It is the “second” language and also the “official” language of GOI. These folks suggest India must teach in the mother tongue just like France, Israel, Japan or China do. The problem with this is, India doesn’t have one unifying language like these countries. And except for China, these countries have tiny populations not comparable to India.

If all states resorted to teaching all subjects in the home language one cannot imagine how a Tamilian will communicate with a Bengali or how a Gujarati will communicate with a Telugu. Besides, parochial Indian politicians have turned language into a “Conflict” issue. South fights Hindi, northern politicians try to promote or impose Hindi and it goes on and on. Often times, these conflicts have created riots. So, to suddenly throw away English and turn everything into local language is one dumb, stupid idea. Mother-tongue will be learned by kids anyway if parents and family use it. I happily speak five languages, including English, and no school has made me proficient in the local languages. I learned them with friends and their families.

Secondly, rural folks are now catching up on English and it is no more a language of the few who became dominant and mocked Indians because of their English language skills. Even material things change. Once upon a time, friends or relatives returning from the US or the West used to bring goodies home for everyone. These things were not available in India. Even small things like high-end chocolates and stuff weren’t available in India. George Fernandes also banned Coca Cola from India. Today, there is nothing that a common man would want or need that is available in the US that is not available in India. Even perfumes and body-spray brands number in hundreds.  

Our schools need a dramatic revolution and the problem is not the language or the medium. Since the previous part was written, more molestations and rapes have been reported from schools. Perhaps, many are also not being reported. And a spate of such incidents gets knee-jerk reactions from school Boards and the govt departments:

They will have such meetings that usually have nothing transparent coming out. Schools don’t need such band-aid, they need a dramatic revolution in terms of reforms. Nobody in the boards or govts seem bothered that life is miserable for kids and parents alike. Let’s see a few things that ails schools (for primary classes up to 7th):

Schools have unusually long hours, from 6 to 7, hours. Add commuting time of another hour or so and the kids nearly have a full office day. What do they with all this time? Absolutely unnecessary and can be cut down to school time of 4 hours. And these 4 hours can include a short and long break.

Even on I-Day and R-Day schools make it a torture for kids. Get up early, assemble and wait for over an hour for some guest. Flag hoisting done, a long lecture by a few followed by a long lecture by the chief guest. Brevity in this day and age of all these functions on TV seems to be lost on them. Schools can’t seem to cut down these functions to 90 minutes or so. Beyond that, every activity becomes boring like a long Bollywood movie.

Excessive tests – From class-1 onward, there are monthly tests of some kind (or even fortnightly). For what? That’s like 15-20 tests every academic year. First term, second term, finals and a couple of class tests in between would do. Burdening kids with nonsensical tests is a pain and produces no real learning at all.

Simplify the syllabus – Some people have commented in the previous part that “All subjects” are important. That is sheer nonsense. English (Or medium language), Math and Science are they key subjects. History, Geography, Civics etc can be bundled into one text book for just enjoyable reading and learning. There is no need to test these subjects so severely that kids have to cram facts. Even the history taught is mostly garbage peddled by Commies for a long time. Math is the foundation for multiple subjects. Whether science or geography, a good grounding in Math has to be the topmost priority. How to make teaching Math easier and enjoyable to learn has to be the highest priority for educators and govt.

Heavy Luggage is still a problem. There have been many attempts and many court orders even, to reduce the heavy bags that young kids carry to schools. But there hasn’t been any great improvement in this. Kids still carry a heavy load of books and have to carry their lunch box and water bottle. And when tragedies happen, it is again more knee-jerk reactions by the Boards, with members having no clue about what they are blabbering:

Sudden psychological tests will solve these problems? School education is a completely broken down, dilapidated building that deserves to be condemned to demolition. What is needed is a complete ZERO-BASE start-over to think through primary education all afresh from scratch. And the way to do it is to not hire or employ the moth-eaten brains that brought us to such a situation in the first place. An absolutely new task force with fresh thinking with clear goal of revolutionising and simplifying school education is what is called for. No amount of lipstick and knee-jerk reactions will solve any problem. School-life for children has to be good and learning an enjoyable experience. Anything else is nothing but a bunch of jailors holding their prisoners for 6 hours.

Concluded.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Daytime Prisons



A young 7-year old student was brutally murdered in a school in Gurugram. So far, reports suggest it was the school-bus conductor or driver who tried to sexually molest him that did it. This is hard to believe but time will tell and it’s best to let the police bring out the facts. In another incident in Noida, a boy slaps another for camera. The principal calls it “Peer slap bet”. Fancy term indeed. In another incident in Lucknow, a Class-3 student was slapped 40 times by the teacher for not responding to the roll-call. Elsewhere, a kid was detained in school for long for non-payment of fees. Another young girl was also detained in another school for dress code. I’m sure it makes us all wonder what our schools and teachers have come to. Of course, these are hopefully stray incidents and one hopes these aren’t that common across the country.

Childhood and early teens are the most joyful years in life. Our schools are the ones that make it absolutely miserable for children. Most children hate schools. Cannot blame schools by themselves but also our governments that have made them daytime prisons for kids. Despite a lot of efforts by courts, some govts and other activists, our schools have remained a painful experience for students, teachers, management and parents. Almost every school is a centre of chaos. I am not even going to discuss the discriminatory RTE legislation in this post.

PM Modi talks of a “New India”. Much appreciate, but you certainly cannot build a new India with the dilapidated structure of our school education. Our schools don’t teach for learning outcomes and thinking. They teach to TEST. Period! Every classroom act is designed to pour information into children’s heads to ready them for the next test. I cannot believe there are schools that run “unit tests” for Class-1 children from the second week of the academic year. I know parents who are constantly preparing their kids for the next test. With such backwardness and lack of innovation of any kind, our schools are way behind civilisation and modernisation and not equipped for any New India:


What to teach is an important question. What to test is also an important question. Not everything that is taught needs to be tested. And even the method of testing can be simplified without inflicting pain for some lower level subjects. The three key subjects to be taught and tested are English (Or the medium of instruction), Math and Science. All other subjects are secondary and need not be tested so stringently. What purpose in hell does it serve in memorising nonsense about history, geography or civics? A general reading of these subjects in class followed by Q&A would be enough.

That apart, I sympathise with teachers too. Not much investment is made in them. I have seen the poorest of poor people appearing for B.Ed exams in worn out clothes and slippers just because they cannot find any other work. Teachers are supposed to create geniuses for the country but the investment in them is almost zero and a peon in a private company or an Uber driver earns more than most teachers. Therefore, they too teach to complete a task. They don’t teach to seek learning outcomes.

Trends in International Maths & Science Study (TIMSS) is an international study across countries that is being conducted for many years across the world. These are mostly for Class-4 onward in schools. India has not participated in these studies except a stray exception. Consistently, in these studies, Singapore, Korea and Japan perform dramatically well. Yet, our Delhi minister goes to Finland to discover magic in education. All one has to do is compare text books of Singapore and NCERT to see the dramatic difference and why their students find it more interesting to understand and learn.

Let us also keep in mind that there is not a single course in India that certifies and qualifies someone to be a Principal. There are professional certifications for doctors, lawyers, CAs, architects but none for Principals. ZERO! What stops the GOI from starting prominent institutes across the country to train and certify principals? Our pathetic HRD ministry is concerned only with IITs and IIMs when the roots of our “New India” are formed in schools, not in higher institutes. Therefore, a separate ministry and minister focused on school education is a must. Although education is a state subject, there must be every effort to standardise curriculum and methods of instruction.

Because education is a state matter, our states exploit kids in areas like history. In Bengal the Mughals are gods. In Maharashtra Shivaji becomes most important. In UP again Mughals. In Rajasthan it’s Rana Pratap. And there are moronic SS books that teach RahulG, Barkha or Teesta as heroes? What history is being taught and why even test this subject with so much pain inflicted on children and parents to cram facts and vomit in answer sheets? What is the purpose in this day and age of facts being available at fingertips on mobiles and internet? If we want a “New India” a dramatic change is needed in school education. This means – what we teach, what we test and how we test. When schools are not enjoyable for any stake-holder, students in particular, some of them, turn to deranged behaviour. We get juvenile jerks who form gangs in schools, bully, and get violent. We also get perverted teachers and principals and lower end staff that results in painful incidents like these:

Unless we unburden our students, teachers and principals there is no way we will produce great innovators or thinkers. Our schools are mass-manufacturing units of mediocrity. You cannot build a “New India” with a moth-eaten structure. And the problem is too huge to explain in one single post. Therefore, this series on school education, something I am passionate about, will continue in multiple parts.


To be continued



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Goldmine Lankesh



"A Horse, a Horse, my Kingdom for a Horse… I haven't had a winner in six months”. The first line is from Shakespeare but the second line is used by a pathetic, worn-out loser who was once a champion. Deserted by all, fat and lonely, the “Raging Bull” ends up a stand-up comedian. He didn’t have a winner for months. I imagine that’s the feeling our Commie folks in media, politics and assorted Naxal-Maoist NGOs and gangs feel ever since ModiSarkar has been in place. The most recent thrashing being the UP elections and it’s not even six months. They were desperately looking for a “winner”. They finally found one – Gauri Lankesh!

GL was shot and killed outside her Bangalore residence on the evening of September 5. She was supposedly a “Journalist” although I haven’t heard much of her journalism. I have mostly heard of her Maoist sympathies, her heart bleeding for anyone and anything that’s anti-India or anti-Hindu. But she died instantly and this was the moment the entire Commie Gang (media, politics and activists) were looking for, to jump and down and scream “Hindutva murder, Hindutva murder”. All too predictable. Some from this Commie Gang glowing described GL as a “Progressive thinker”, a “Free thinker”, “Spoke her mind” and so on. Unbelievable! Having written about media and journos for so long I am a bit surprised I didn’t hear much about the journalism of GL. Perhaps, it’s because she ran something called “Lankesh Patrike” which is a local paper in Karnataka. I am sure those describing her with such glowing epithets must be reading her paper. The Commie Scotch-circuit gang instantly went into “Rudaali mode”:


Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and now Gauri Lankesh! And because they were critics of BJP or anti-Hindutva these folks quickly imply some Right-Wing faction or group has killed GL. Let’s just get a bit of trivia out of our way – all these murders happened under Congress rule. In none of the cases this Commie Gang held the CM or Congress responsible. No resignations were demanded. No reminders for investigation were made. All the previous cases either went “Cold” or are hanging. Karnataka (along with some other non-BJP states) has been facing a series of murders. Hindu activists or RSS activists have been frequently murdered. Makes no sense to do a count. None of these Commies in media called it a “Jungle Raj”. IAS officers like Ganapathy, Ravi and some more have either committed suicide or were killed. None of those deaths mattered to these Commies.

GL was a “Journalist” too. So, it’s natural these redundant journos like Rajdeep, Sagarika, Barkha or Saba types would shed buckets of tears for her. Even in mourning journalists, these Commie Gang is selective – there’s a class separation. It’s like “Our journalists” in their club and others who call themselves journalists are mere undesirable intrusions in their “Scotch life”. Three journalists in Bihar were killed in the last 2 years – Rajdeo Ranjan, Akhilesh Pratap Singh and Brajesh Kumar. Nary a mourning was held. No outrage. NOTHING! You see, these stinking Hindi-speaking, not so perfumed guys aren’t sincere journos because they haven’t demonstrated hatred for Hindus, hatred for India, hatred for our Constitution as demonstrably as Lankesh. For this Commie Gang – Lankesh had attained Gold Standard in that department. This is further demonstrated by Congress morons who talk like they were Saints from the Himalayas:

Had it been a BJP govt, these same Johnies above would be trashing the govt. That Dinesh Gundu even says shivers go down his spine. If such is the fear under a Congress govt he should have asked it to resign. And readily, the Pappu is at hand to claim Lankesh will forever live in his heart as if ever read a word of what she wrote. Pappu also grandly claims “culprits have to be punished” but like a typical Congi he has condoned all the crimes under the Siddaramiah govt in Karnataka. It doesn’t matter who died – All that matters is that someone who hates BJP, who hates Hindus died. So, the Congi morons must glorify the person despite her being a Maoist supporter. The Lankesh types celebrate when Indians are killed and our Jawans are killed by Naxals and Maoists. But to these Rudaalis her hatred of Hindus and BJP is more important to qualify for a nice grave. I don’t think the Commie Gang in media or politics give a damn about GL and I am inclined to think they are happy she was killed so that they can point fingers at Hindutva/RW and dance over her dead body:

Yes, indeed! I am convinced she was expended by her own Commies as I don’t see how any Hindutva brigade or BJP would profit by eliminating her. She was no great threat to them and nor was she any electoral force that affected anyone. I don’t think Lankesh was such a towering figure that would have dented any electoral prospects of BJP or ShivSena. She is largely an unknown figure except in her Commie Scotch circuit and the Hindu-hating gangs. While the investigations will reveal the truth (although nothing guarantees that) the current nonsensical finger-pointing by the Commie Gang only indicates how happy they are that Lankesh was killed. It’s the shot in the arm they were desperately seeking to rant against RW, Hindutva and eventually against PM Modi. We all know the script.

It would make sense to take a look at Gauri Lankesh’s preferences and views too. I don’t know what she wrote and I couldn’t care less. But she was certainly convicted for defaming a couple of BJP guys and sentenced to six months in prison. She was out on bail. She was also hobnobbing with the JNU gang. Her Twitter page banner carries the pic with her darling “son” Kanhaiya, the guy who thinks Naxal-killers are “Nationalists”:

Not just Kanhaiya, GL had also sort of adopted the India-hating goon Umar Khaled as her other son. She sure had a happy life. Any Commie with a farm of pigs would be happy indeed. Her own mind was disturbed on the morning of September 5 as she tweeted some infighting among Commies as early as 3am:

I would prefer to dismiss the first two tweets as family squabble within her Commie family. But it’s the earlier Retweet of a disgraced cop that reveals the FILTH that fills the mind of Gauri Lankesh. Being a critic, being anti-BJP is fine. But grovelling to the level of endorsing absolute filth against Modi reflects the deep-rooted hatred that cannot pass. I hold many Commies and media morons in utter contempt. Still, I wouldn’t wish them killed or wish them death. However, I am certainly not going to mourn the death of such filth. These are the very Commies who insult our Army, Hindu culture and celebrate the death of our Jawans at the hands of Naxals or terrorists. I certainly won’t mourn such people.

And all the Commie animals will come out – media, politicians, filmy idiots, worthless writers and jhola-chaaps to protest the killing of GL. But what will they be protesting against? They won’t protest jungle-raj in Karnataka. They won’t protest against Sonia, Rahul or Siddaramiah. They will slowly turn it into another anti-BJP, anti-Modi, anti-Hindutva rant. And that’s why it’s “Goldmine Lankesh” for them. They will use her death to score political points. Will they succeed in trashing BJP or Modi with her dead body? I don’t think so. But let them try. Such trials are more steps to more failures.