Education Matters - contd
by Pushpa Raghuram
(Bangalore, India )
Valley School, Bangalore
Back to page 1 of the story
Janaki belonged to a generation and milieu, in which girls ‘obeyed and did’ in their lives what the Elders wanted them to do. She had the traits of a traditionalist. Her children belonged to another genre. They ‘heard’ their counsellors and did what their hearts desired regardless. During their evolving period, they discovered that initially they had lost their hearts to art and later to cross-country culture and art. They thought that professional education in the reputation of the institution mattered. For them, the renowned institutions’ accreditation was valuable, irrespective of the country in which they were located. One daughter went to the West and another to the East. Parents could only wish them both the best. That is how they could deal with Vyjayanthi belonging to Gen-Y generation and Vanamala who prematurely donned the hat of Gen-X.
Time and tide wait for none. Time flew by. Janaki entered the third phase of her life. They chose the location for their homes as well as their soul mates. Janaki’s first daughter ‘Vyjayanthi’ came back for good and spent a few years in the capital to start her family. Vyjayanthi’s baby ‘Parinitha’ came in to the world, and Janaki rejoiced her grandmotherhood. But before Vyjayanthi could really enjoy and celebrate her motherhood, she had to look around for the appropriate school for her daughter. Vyjayanthi surveyed the schools, near and far, to find out the befitting one for Parinitha.
Hawk-eyed Janaki was constantly observing Vyjayanthi to follow her train of thought concerning education and the pedagogic principles. Vyjayanthi was no less involved in shaping her children’s education than Janaki. She informed herself about American and Canadian syllabi and waded through books to learn about the upbringing of children. While at it, she was not in any better position than her mother was in, two and a half decades ago. The millennium had come, but the search for good education continued.
Janaki spent a while with them to get first-hand information about what was happening in the lives of her daughter and her family, particularly with respect to Parinitha’s schooling.
The school, which Vyjayanthi chose for her, was 100% cyber-centric. Everything was computerized. She had to log on to the schools’ website almost every day to be informed about the homework or the dress code for the international festivals, which the school would celebrate the next week. There were optional and obligatory events for parents too.
Janaki noticed that her daughter had to be lot more involved in Parinitha’s education, in fact, she had to invest more time, energy and money into her daughter’s education. Vyjayanthi had to participate in ice-breaking activities, induction and informative sessions held at the school premises. There were parent-children projects, and semester concluding get-togethers. Janaki observed all these activities with awe. On a particular day when Vyjayanthi
returned after one such parent-teacher meeting, Janaki asked her how it went on. Vyjayanthi showed her the letter she had. It read as follows:
“Dear Parent, We are happy to inform you about an activity session for our third standard students on the 20th of this month. Our Children will be reading coordinates on a map, finding marked spots with a compass, while measuring distances in Meters. After a lunch break, the second part of the session will follow. They will be taught during that time to send E- Mails, upload photos on Web sites, post photos on class blog, access Home work sheets on line and finally they will watch a video on safety with USB headphones.
Parents, who wish to register their names and participate in the activity, have to fill up the attached form and send it along with the fees of $250 five days before the session. The venue is in the “Emerald” Building, III floor, III room in the west wing. We look forward to meeting you. We appreciate it if parents would bringing laptops to the session. Please note that Videography is not permitted during the session…”
Janaki could not read the Mail till the end. She went down the memory lane. Her School ‘Makkala Mantapa’ swam before her eyes, in which the drawing room of the Master was converted in to a class room and his veranda functioned like the Adminstrative office and Master’s wife collected the fees of Rs.10/- per month.
She remembered her secondary school building, which was then already twenty-five years old and had not seen any renovation since its inauguration. Janaki remembered Steiner. His philosophy came rushing back to her. He was right. One should develop lifelong love for learning to deal with present day kids. Her train of thoughts took a giant leap in to her next phase of life. In ten years to come, when she would be in her fourth phase of life, Parinitha in her early teens might be attending Next Gen programmes, learning about entrepreneurship or taking part in mock trading exercises or visiting a simulated auction to learn about investing in Art and and….
Parinitha came back from school. When she kissed her mother and her, Janaki came back to her present location and time zone. Parinitha was narrating excitedly that she had seen a D.V.D. of Pied Piper of Hamelin in the story session. Janaki bent forward and hugged the child, recollecting her own love towards that poem in Kannada. Vyjayanthi had another surprise for her for that evening. She had reserved tickets to watch the The Merchant of Venice. Janaki could not have asked for more—as she casually looked at the alter in the room, only to notice Saraswati, the goddess of learning. She gratefully thought of her Father for his dictum about education, all attributed to gene theory. ***