Wednesday, April 20, 2011
IIT - Dream of most parents
RAMAIAH, NARAYANA, CHAITANYA, GURU are the chants which play on the lips of parents of high school children in Hyderabad.
No, these are not the names of religious gurus but branded as 'techno schools' which train children rigorously in the name of ‘IIT foundation course” and acclaimed and hailed as the right mentor for IIT- JEE.
These schools look like corporate office with chrome and glass facade, have an a/c atmosphere, work from 7 to 7 and... yes, yes, they deliver otherwise how else would you get to hear on NDTV year after year that 40% of students who crack the IIT entrance exam every year come from Andhra Pradesh.
I remember my neighbor santhosh telling me his daily schedule. He went to a residential techno school 5 years back. His day started at 4, after yoga, they were given milk and they had to study till 9. Then they would have their bath and get ready to classrooms by 10. From 10 – 4 it would be school with an half hour lunch break, after which it would be IIT coaching till 7, after 7 it would be studies till 9. ( no, I am not exaggerating, I am infact playing it down).
No recreation or extra curricular activites, after all they are not here for that you see.
This 'IIT' training starts very early, perhaps ‘Catch them young’ is the mantra for these schools.
Every year during summer, this is an epidemic with most parents (not just urban, even rural uneducated) whose children are in 7th,8th or 9th. They want to enroll their child in the IIT foundation course. Many parents feel, they are missing something by not enrolling their child. Some over enthusiastic parents infact call the educational counselors to enquire if their child who is in class 5 should start the course.
It is all understandable, All concerned parents are worried about their child’s education and IIT being one of the premier institutes of India, it is a dream of most parents to see their child in IIT.
But in their love and affection they fail to see the interest of their children and their childhood. The child may not be technically inclined but he/she would have to join the course due to their parental pressure and their parents social status. For these children if technical skills are one end of the spectrum then soft skills are at an other end.
My husband and his team go to recruit his company’s trainee engineers at various campus interviews .He says all of them are technically strong, but just technical skills will do no more, for client interaction, group discussions, knowledge transfers we need soft skills too’.
Now, with this year there is a new epidemic, immediately after the tenth board exams, the schools have accepted admissions for 11th standard based on the pre-final marks and this summer the schools will work in a/c atmosphere, After all IIT entrance is only two years away, so they are not wasting time and the parents argument is that when you are young, you’ve to work hard and now is the time, so no leisure.
I am not against IIT, but against these training. Infact ,my cousin cracked his IIT with his average intelligence studying in and out of many government village schools ( vernacular medium) and English medium schools( in cities) due to his father’s bank transferable job, with no formal training and lot of self study. Other than him, I have 3 uncles who are from PSBB and IIT (any tamilian would know what I’m saying but for non- tamils PSBB is a most sought after school in Madras some years back). All of them are a part of brain drain.
Let IIT be a part of every parents dream for their child, but let them also enjoy childhood. If they don’t play and enjoy now, when else will they?. IIT is not the only solution for a bright future. There are many more avenues.
But, even I’m scared I may succumb to the pressure of my peers. My daughter is in the tenth with no inclination towards engineering/medicine. She is more interested on the creative side like animation, designing, communication etc.,
With a recent call from the school where she was one of the meritorious students selected to meet the great ‘ IIT guru’ Dr. Chukka Ramaiah, I thought his speech and words would change her mind. But she came back telling ‘I don’t want to be an engineer/doctor.’
Now, I am a parent on the cross roads. Should I enroll her against her wishes or comply with her wishes. Though my husband is clear saying ‘ She’ll decide and we’ll only guide’.
P.S: Please note that everywhere I have used 'most parents' and not 'every parent' this is a generalised post and does not apply to every parent in AP.