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An estimated 3-minute read

How Many More Rouvanjits? Edification, Education, Enrichment Etc.

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Edification


The teacher had drawn a big apple on the black board and was busy colouring the apple red. As big as the apple was the alphabet ‘A’. This was the pre-nursery class. She heard a few students talking and snapped, “Don’t talk. I have eyes on the back of my head. I can see what every one of you is doing”.


I ran my fingers against my hair on the back of my head to feel that something which the 4 year old me still hadn’t figured was a part of his body. I found nothing. I thought these maybe some of the special powers given to teachers and parents.


Back home dad had brought a coconut. Me and my brother used to carefully observe the work which had to be done on the coconut: dad would take the coconut between his feet and peel off the brown, bark-like cover with a hammer’s claw. 


Then a small, hard and ball-like shell would come out. The three dark engravings over the shell would then be punctured using a sharp object and from these coconut water would come out. This I thought required great effort. “My daddy strongest”; as every kid fantasizes. We of course loved the coconut water which was around 1/4th of a 250ml glass and had to be shared.


That day I hit upon something: I was sure that the teacher’s eyes were hidden by her brown matted hair just like the three engravings on the coconut were hidden by the outer bark like cover. This made for a fabulous, yet intelligent explanation.


Throughout school, I was an introvert kid. Sigmund Freud might owe the introverted-ness to the above incident. I would agree to some extent. Imagine if such a little incident can make such a huge impression, what impact would corporal punishment have on a child’s mind. Does anyone here support hitting children?

 

Education


I wrote a poem on the Indian education system in standard nine.

Fair, round faces,
Black, twinkling eyes.
Little, fragile bodies,
Bright, inquisitive minds.

Big heavy bags,
Big heavy books.
For tiny toddling kids
On their tenterhooks!

Wisdom is vanishing,
Creativity has no places.
Classics take a bow,
Guides show their face.

Big, mounting tomes
Memorised and crammed.
Young sprightly colts,
Whipped and Whammed.

A parrot-mule crossbreed,
Set to don the scenes.
The diabolic face of extinction,
Hovering on human beings.

The then teenage angst might have exaggerated things but sadly, five years later, things haven’t changed. Teachers continue to hit students, students continue to die or commit suicide and Kapil Sibals continue to believe that as little as a law will remedy the situation.


Entrance exams, nearly all of them, be it CLAT, IIT-JEE or CAT continue to toy with student’s future. CLAT has come in for special criticism. That it tests memory skills rather than reasoning abilities is the primary critique. I hope that this will change. Here is something good in the offing.

 

Enrichment


This is an entirely disjointed entry. The concern is teachers and their quality. To be a teacher in an NLU, the qualification is straight forward. AN LLB with good marks. An LLM with good marks, preferably from abroad. And a dozen good publications.


Knowledge is a prerequisite. Understandably so. 


What about erudition? All right. Leave this for being vague. Well, what about testing communication skills of would-be teachers? We all know what a person with tons of knowledge does when he goes about in a drone tone. Soporific arm chair scholars. How do we challenge their competence? Poor us. 


Secondly, who teaches our teachers on the art of teaching? I thought the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal did that; but it doesn’t. 


Whether teachers are born or made, I don’t know. But I hope everybody will agree that skills can be improved upon. I would like to see someone offer courses to teachers on various skills. What do you suggest?

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