A failure of the school system

The finding of a multi-nation survey that Indian school children take the maximum number of tutorial lessons outside school hours reveals some serious flaws in our education system. Students go for tuitions because the teaching in the classroom is inadequate or students and parents do not have full faith in it. The survey, which was a part of the Cambridge International Education Census conducted in 10 countries, has found that about 74% of Indian students go for extra classes in mathematics. Tuitions are very popular for other subjects also, especially science subjects. The survey was conducted among 4,000 students, but it is doubtful if it is fully representative. Though state board schools were also surveyed, it is doubtful if the same results would have been obtained if schools from rural areas were included proportionately in the survey. But the fact that such a high percentage of students of even the surveyed schools go for tuitions tells a story.

The figures show that it is not just the weaker students but the average and even the best of them also go for tuitions. This shows the failure of the school system to cope with and satisfy the needs of all students. Some students go for tuitions because they are poorly taught in the classrooms, others want to improve learning by supplementing it, and yet others opt for it because of the sense of competition or peer pressure. It is known from many surveys that classroom teaching in most schools is far below par and many students do not attain even basic proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic even after many years of schooling. Many teachers are not qualified and are not well-trained. The teaching infrastructure is inadequate. Classrooms are overcrowded and most students do not get individual attention. 

It is sheer wastage of students’ time and their parents’ money if children have to learn the same lessons again in tuition classes. The academic system is oppressive, with its accent on rote learning and an examination-oriented approach. There is no room for developing the creativity and individuality of children. The only aim is to secure high marks for admission to coveted courses and institutions. That is why the tuition industry has grown into a big business. One positive finding in the survey is that Indian parents take more interest in their children’s studies than parents in other countries. There is also high participation of children in extracurricular activities, though not necessarily in sports. But these positives are of little use when the education system itself is inefficient and far from friendly to students. 

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A failure of the school system

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