Guidelines For Private Play Schools In India Are A Dud

This could well be a KBC question. Which Government organization has put up guidelines for regulating private play schools in India? The options are NCERT, CBSE, Ministry of Education, NCPCR. Surprise, surprise, the answer is NCPCR. An obscure organization – the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has published regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India.

NCPCR comes under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and not the Ministry of Education, as one might think. It does not matter though. The general refrain would be that whoever comes up with regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India is fine, as long as they are sensible and delivers for the sake of the children.

Just that, they do not deliver. And, they are also nowhere closer to being the guidelines apart from the name. The guidelines for regulating private play schools in India are outright dud – inept and feckless. Wonder if any play schools or parents are even aware of these so-called guidelines. Not to worry, they won’t miss out on anything significant. That itself is the biggest worry though.

Here are some gems from the regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India:

Anonymous And Undated Document

This is extremely odd and unusual. The Government guidelines are notorious to carry the umpteen names of the officials and their designations who are involved in the drafting and the publishing of the document. There will be 10 different pages of message from the honourable minister, secretary, foreword, development team, acknowledgement etc enough to make a reader stop reading further.

In this particular guideline – there are no names. The Government officials, prone to show their designations and powers, are conspicuous by their absence. Even more weird is that the document is undated. Apart from NCPCR, there is no knowing that this is a Government guideline. It looks like the Government officers knew the shabby job they have done and do not want to be associated with it.

Even this would have been fine if the guidelines would serve the intended purpose. But!!!

Lots And Lots Of Authority But Not Children

The guidelines mention various types of authority – competent being the dominant variant. We are introduced to local, appellate, academic and also the plain vanilla type – only mentioned as the authority. The word “authority” features 46 times in the document. Comparatively, the word “children” comes up 31 times in the guidelines.

This gives the flavour of what’s in focus for the guideline. It is not the children that matter, but the show-off of the all-important “authority”. What is a Government guideline that bears the interest of the subject but not the powers of “authority”? The children have no chance to show up in front of the mighty Government authority.

Even this would have been fine if the authority was sensible enough and put to good effect. But!!!

Where Does The ICDS Come From?

The competent authority is the ICDS officer. Now, from where does ICDS parachutes into the play school regulation? ICDS is the Integrated Child Development Services, launched way back in 1975. ICDS is responsible for Anganwadi, which is where no child should ever be and never actually is, apart from collecting the free food. Anganwadi themselves are a sham, devoid of any regulation.

The Government officers who put up a charade of working for a child’s good and make a complete hash out of it are responsible to regulate play schools!!! This actually would be a well-guarded secret. Not just parents, the play schools too won’t be aware of this. I doubt if even the ICDS officials would know that they are entrusted to regulate play schools.

Even this would have been fine if the guidelines were good to go with. But!!!

The Non-Existent Guidelines

What should be the play school area for the given number of children? What should be the size of the outdoor play area? How much investment is required? What should be training/qualifications for teachers/caregivers? What’s the reference point for equipments, books, toys and other elements? The guidelines offer no answer for the above questions or for that matter, any of the questions.

Sample this. The curriculum will be laid down by the authority (can’t have enough of them) specified by MWCD, GoI with the first objective as conformity with the values enshrined in the Constitution. So, going by this, the NCERT preschool curriculum is null and void (it is a different matter that on its own too, it deserves the same treatment).

If a play school does want to follow the regulatory guidelines, there are none reasonable to follow.

And, this is not fine.

The Saga Continues

The Government’s vain efforts go nowhere to regulate the play schools. The parents pack off their kids to unregulated play schools with unfounded hope. The children miss out on their childhood, not even getting to know the fun and the play of being a child. The play schools flourish with zero accountability to gullible parents and clueless Government with the kids’ lost childhood as casualties.

The saga of letting down the child continues. The current example is the dud NCPCR regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

CBSE Syllabus: Disadvantages For Parents And Children, Advantages For Schools And Publishers

NCERT syllabus is pre-historic and aimless. But, it does exist. CBSE syllabus is even worse off. It is non-existent and a free-for-all. On the face of it, the students seemingly study and of course, get through the entrance exams. However, CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers, are massive.

The Non-Existent CBSE Syllabus

CBSE is the Central Board of Secondary Education, a legacy of the British era, set up in 1929. CBSE’s only responsibility is to conduct exams of XII and X and give affiliation to schools for just these two exams. CBSE does not get into the syllabus. That’s not the job of CBSE at all. It has no say in the syllabus taught in the CBSE affiliated schools.

CBSE does recommend the NCERT syllabus for Board exams, and if there is even one private CBSE-affiliated school that teaches NCERT syllabus then elephants fly, whales walk and birds swim. CBSE has zilch control over the private schools, not just for syllabus but for any purpose – including the fees, teachers’ salaries, management, the weight of school bags etc.

For us, education has become synonymous with exams. The most important exams are the Board exams, XII and X, conducted by CBSE. So, we presume that the syllabus studied for the CBSE exams is the CBSE syllabus. Just that, CBSE has got nothing to do with the syllabus of these exams or for that matter any exam.

CBSE has no association with exams of standards I-IX and XI. Now, because the parents incorrectly presumed the CBSE syllabus for the board exams, the erroneous presumption goes further. And, the syllabus for the other standards also gets called the CBSE syllabus. In reality, the CBSE has no role in the syllabus of I-IX and XI, similar to X and XII.

So, what do the students study? They seem to study quite a lot, after all. Enter the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers.

Disadvantages For Parents

As adults, parents haggle for discounts all around. When it comes to the child’s syllabus books, there is no discount, only inflated MRPs. The parents’ pay the astronomical sum assuming that the child is getting a quality education and this IS the biggest disadvantage for the parents.

The price of the syllabus in the private CBSE affiliated schools has no link with the learning inside the books. The private publishers’ puts in the stuff irrelevant to the child’s age-appropriateness/real-life learning to make the pages. Simultaneously, they also glaringly miss out on hands-on and experiential life learning syllabus components.

As a result of this purposeless syllabus, the child gets ill-prepared for real life, gets burdened with unnecessary frills and loses out on childhood. And, all the time parents think that their child is being educated. Leave aside value-for-learning as a parents’ notion, the high-priced syllabus is throwing good money for no apparent benefit, rather causing harm to the child.

Advantages For Schools

You get to carry the logo of the Government – CBSE. Nobody will distrust you. You get to flout the CBSE directive of using the NCERT syllabus. Nobody will hold you to task, neither CBSE nor NCERT, rather nobody will even care to know about it. You can sell a syllabus of your liking and at your price. Nobody dares question you.

For the private hospitals, there is a danger of a patient dying and they get bad publicity. For the private schools, there is absolutely no risk. The brain-washed students tell no tales. The gullible parents are at the mercy lest the child’s future will be ruined. No better business in India than running a private CBSE affiliated school.

Advantages For Publishers

There ain’t no regulations, nobody to supervise, no accountability, rather no deliverables, other than the inflated MRPs. The private publishers for the private CBSE affiliated schools have absolute price-control, a monopoly market, loyal customers of unquestioning parents and students, who don’t even know what hit them.

I am not casting any aspersions on private publishers. I am just saying that it is extremely difficult for any business operating in the environment mentioned above to operate in a manner that is beneficial to anyone, other than themselves. There is no incentive at all to let a child be a child and enjoy childhood, rather perverse reasons to burden the child with more and more books.

Disadvantages For Children

The CBSE is pedalling exams, private publishers’ are hawking their syllabus, the schools are merrily collecting their profit margin on the syllabus books, the parents are blissfully unaware that their child has no learning from this purported syllabus. Who the heck is bothered about the child and the child’s learning?

The whole process sucks the childhood out of the children, much before they are ready with no ensuing gain. The kids get locked up in the four walls of the classrooms/screens of the apps as the syllabus keeps multiplying with no learning at the end of it. Can there be any advantages to children in this entire muddle?

The Free-For-All CBSE Syllabus

IGCSE/IB boards endorse their syllabus. CBSE doesn’t bother with such finer points. Hence, the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers. Of course, the situation is not that dismal as I have made it out to be. It is a work-in-process; we shall surely reach there once, if not now.

We, as a society, care about exams and marks. What importance is a trivial syllabus? CBSE, too, cares about board exams only. What value is getting into a frivolous syllabus? The government of India comes up with a glorious New Education Policy (NEP). Why get hung up about an inconsequential aspect of the syllabus?

In the mean-while, the private publishers and the private CBSE affiliated schools, carry on with their free-for-all syllabus. Our children keep getting educated, wonder how/what is this learning?

What are your views on the subject of the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

CBSE Syllabus: Non-Existent And Free-For-All

The important aspect of a child’s learning is the syllabus that the child studies. The one that is backed by the Government of India, has a pan-India presence and sets the benchmark is the CBSE syllabus. A parent would presume that the study of the CBSE syllabus leads to success for students in entrance exams. Well, it is spectacularly off the mark. There is nothing called a CBSE syllabus.

CBSE Syllabus: Non-Existent

CBSE is the Central Board of Secondary Education. It was set up by the British in 1929 and is a legacy of the colonial era. CBSE was reconstituted in 1962 and was given the task of instituting an all India Higher Secondary Examination setting up a model that the State Boards might emulate and meet the needs of students whose parents moved from one state to another. That’s about it.

The CBSE’s only responsibility is to conduct exams of XII and X. Now, to conduct exams, students are needed. The schools have the students. So, the CBSE gives affiliations to schools for their students to appear for XII and X – the so-called Board exams. Hence, CBSE’s tasks become two – conducting the two Board exams and giving affiliation to schools for these two exams.

CBSE does not get into the syllabus. That’s not the job of CBSE at all. The tab of the syllabus on CBSE’s website leads to NCERT’s website. For parents, education has become synonymous with exams. The most important exams are the Board exams, which are the CBSE exams. So, we presume that the syllabus studied for the CBSE exams is the CBSE syllabus, which is a misnomer.

It gets even trickier for the standards I-IX. CBSE has got nothing to do with exams of all these. Now, because the parents incorrectly presumed the CBSE syllabus for the board exams, the erroneous presumption goes further. And, the syllabus for the other standards also gets called the CBSE syllabus. In reality, the CBSE has no role in the syllabus or the exams of I-IX.

The Broken Link Of CBSE – Affiliated Schools – NCERT

A parent might think that CBSE is prescribing the NCERT syllabus, which is also a Government of India agency, so it’s fine calling it a CBSE syllabus. After all, what’s in a name? Therein lies the catch. The CBSE recommends the NCERT syllabus. But, the schools don’t need to follow the same.

Wait a moment. This is getting confusing. The schools are CBSE schools and it is expected that they follow a CBSE, ok ok, an NCERT syllabus. And, that CBSE schools are not doing it!!! Well, the base assumption itself is incorrect that these schools are CBSE schools. To be precise, these are CBSE-affiliated schools.

A CBSE-affiliated school means that its students are eligible for CBSE Board exams. That’s it. Nothing more. CBSE has got nothing to do with the fees/academics/functioning of the school in any manner. Yes, CBSE does prescribe the NCERT syllabus. However, the school’s autonomy means that it is free to choose its pedagogical tools and every school does absolutely that.

CBSE lays down affiliation bye-laws and has certain infrastructure requirements. But, it is not compulsory for the schools to follow the NCERT syllabus. Also, CBSE has no control over the school’s management. Rather, the CBSE and the school are unrelated till the X Board exam. So, the school is free to choose its own syllabus. And this is never the NCERT syllabus.

CBSE Syllabus: A Free-For-All

Then, what do the students study in CBSE-affiliated schools? After all, they seem to study quite a lot. And, why can’t it be called a CBSE syllabus?

Several publishers come up with textbooks that are taught in these CBSE-affiliated schools. Each publisher has its own interpretation of the NCERT textbooks and what they want the children to study. The linkage with NCERT is slack and these publishers tend to cover stuff well beyond the NCERT textbooks. They are not bound by the curriculum framework or any such paraphernalia.

As all these publishers have separate versions, with few things in common and few not so, it is chaos. It is a free-for-all. There is no binding together of these disparate textbooks brought into existence by different publishers with varied objectives. Hence, there is nothing called a CBSE syllabus. As these publishers target more than the capability of the child, the students end up studying a lot.

Difficult to believe? What do you think is the price of an NCERT textbook, any subject, from Grade I-VII? It is Rs. 65/-. What is the price of a textbook of any of the private publishers?  It will not be less than Rs. 200/-. At times, it can be even more than Rs. 300/-. Why such a huge price difference? Because there is nothing called a CBSE syllabus and it is a free-for-all.

The Harmful Effects

A parent might tend to believe that as long as the child is learning, how does it matter what syllabus the child is being taught? Why get into the needless detailing? After all, if it has been delivering till now, it should be fine. The mighty Indian education establishment will surely know what it is doing and even the CBSE Board i.e. the Government of India has seemingly no issues with that.

Well, we are made to believe that it works, whereas it is far from reality. The effects of the non-existent and free-for-all CBSE syllabus is highly damaging to the children and their future. Please read here how it negatively impacts the learning of our children (coming soon).

What are your thoughts on the CBSE syllabus? How have you seen it in action with your child?

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Why NCERT Does Not Publish A Preschool Syllabus

NCERT published a preschool curriculum in December 2019. That’s pretty strange. The reason being NCERT is a syllabus publishing organization. It has published the syllabus of Class I-XII. Its textbooks are considered a bedrock of India’s beloved entrance exams. CBSE’s board exams are based on NCERT textbooks. Then, why NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus, meaning textbooks?

I have gone through the NCERT preschool curriculum, a huge letdown for the children of India and also the NCERT syllabus of Class I. Basis these two documents, I feel there could be three reasons why NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus.

NCERT Does Not Factor Preschool For Class I syllabus

NCERT Class I syllabus was published in 2005 – when the world had not heard of Apple’s iPhone or WhatsApp/Instagram and there was no Amazon/Facebook in India. Yes, it is difficult to believe, but in 2021, the children of India study the same textbooks that the children studied in 2005. This actually makes NCERT class I textbooks a candidate to compete with dinosaurs.

The primordial nature of NCERT Class I textbook has consequences for the NCERT preschool syllabus. Let me explain in detail. When do kids learn alphabets A-Z and numbers 1-10 today? In preschools. At the age of 3-5 years. Rather, the private preschools can even go on to teach 4-5 letter words and numbers up to 500 to 3-5 year olds.

However, as per NCERT, the children are to be taught alphabets A-Z and numbers 1-10 in class I syllabus textbooks. Now, in that case, what to put in the preschool syllabus? NCERT can’t include the alphabets and the numbers. If it does, the class I syllabus needs to be changed. And if NCERT does change the class I syllabus, then it will have to change the class II syllabus too.

So, what’s the solution? Not publish a preschool syllabus, but a preschool curriculum – gibberish and perplexing document, which nobody can comprehend. This is the prime reason that NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus as the Class I syllabus does not factor in the preschool existence. To cover up that gaffe, NCERT screws up the preschool syllabus.

A meaningful preschool syllabus would mean that all the NCERT syllabus textbooks from I-XII will have to take in a cascading change. It is, of course, anyways due for a course correction. But, NCERT won’t engage in such a large-scale update. So, the preschool syllabus becomes the scapegoat.

Preschools Are A Law Unto Themselves

CBSE conducts board exams – X and XII. It gives affiliations to schools for their students to appear for the board exams. However, it does not get into the preschools’ affiliation. Ditto for State Boards – They too don’t get into preschools. India has numerous preschools dotting nooks and corners of each city/town, but no education board has them in their fold.

So, for all practical purposes, preschools function merrily on their own, independently, with no accountability to anyone – on what/how they treat and teach the kids. Preschools aren’t hung up about syllabus and all such rubbish. Why bother when there is nobody to ask? NCERT is very much aware of this situation.

Even in CBSE-affiliated private schools, how many of them actually follow NCERT textbooks? None. NCERT knows this, as well. A fellow Government organization working in the same domain, which has regulatory powers, can’t make private schools follow NCERT textbooks. What’s the probability that private playschools, whom nobody regulates, will follow the NCERT syllabus? Zilch. Absolute Zero.

So, what does NCERT do? Just publish a curriculum, go around the country claiming that it has successfully guided the preschools, and go back to slumber. Rather than having an egg on the face by preschools not following your textbooks, better not to waste the efforts. So, NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus.

The Curriculum Development Team

There are 25 subject experts on the curriculum development team – 16 professors and two of them are even retired professors. No doubt, all of them would be distinguished academicians but when in life would have they last dealt with 3-5 year olds directly, hands-on? What would be their memory of seeing kids in action, leave aside today’s kids?

What would you trust professors with? College education, not the preschool variety. But, NCERT does exactly the opposite and the results are for everyone to see. This team can’t comprehend the two generations gap, not even one, with today’s kids and comes up with a lofty document that has no valid reason to exist.

This seems to be the third reason that NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus because the people NCERT employed can’t bend down to the level of 3-5 year olds, figuratively and literally.

The Self-Designed Syllabus

With the above state of affairs of indifferent NCERT and imperious private preschools, what should/can a parent do? Come up with one’s own preschool syllabus. Sounds exciting and challenging? It surely is.

Here is the preschool syllabus, sort of, that my wife and I came up with for our twin daughters.

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

NCERT Preschool Curriculum Is A Huge Letdown For The Children Of India

NCERT preschool curriculum was launched in December 2019. Hold your breath – before this, there was no uniform curriculum, rather no curriculum at all, for the preschools in India. Again, hold your breath – even after the launch of the NCERT preschool curriculum in 2019, there is no uniform curriculum, rather no curriculum at all, for the preschools in India.

The Indian preschools have no curriculum/syllabus/governing body/standardization template is a truth stranger than fiction. Let’s limit the current discussion to the NCERT preschool curriculum, how it perpetuates the mess of no curriculum and syllabus for the Indian preschools and is a huge letdown for the children of India.

NCERT Preschool Curriculum Is Not A Syllabus

The curriculum is broad-based and defines the universe of what all should/can be included. The syllabus is focused and defines the sub-set of what is actually included. Curriculum matters to academicians and theory discussions, syllabus matters to teachers and hands-on practitioners. NCERT preschool curriculum, as the name implies is a curriculum and not a syllabus.

This is a bit strange. NCERT’s core function is publishing the syllabus. It has formed the syllabus of Class I-XII, even though pre-historic and aimless. The hallowed entrance exams of JEE and NEET go by the prescribed NCERT textbooks. Surprise, surprise, NCERT does not formulate the preschool syllabus but a preschool curriculum.

Due to the curious anomaly of a curriculum and not a syllabus, there are no textbooks. There are no defined topics and subjects. Rather, there is nothing definitive at all in the curriculum. Apart from scratching one’s head at the use of jargon and lofty objectives, the curriculum serves absolutely no purpose in understanding how and what a child in preschool should be taught.

NCERT Preschool Curriculum Is Not Mandatory

This one is a real bummer. One might think that now, at least we have a curriculum. Maybe, the syllabus will follow or the curriculum will help in arriving at the syllabus. Surprise, surprise, there is an asterisk – conditions apply. The NCERT curriculum is suggestive and directional; it is not binding on the states. It does not refer to being compulsory or even considered by the preschools.

NCERT might argue that this flexible approach will aid innovation and not strait-jacket and stifle on-the-ground initiatives. Well, we are Indians. We do not have a great history of following the required mandates, how are the preschools going to follow the curriculum which is not enforced? The NCERT preschool curriculum has as much probability to succeed as the law against littering.

Fails To Address The Inequity

The NCERT preschool curriculum document rightly identifies that there is a wide variety of preschool services in our country – Anganwadi, private preschools etc, which have a huge disparity in infrastructural facilities, teacher qualifications, curriculum and pedagogies. Brilliant observation. And, then what does the document do? Gloss it over. Move onto the next sermon. Brilliant strategy.

The children, basis the family they are born in, start their preschool journey with an advantage or a drawback. This would then become a recurrent theme of their lives. NCERT could have tried to address this inequity of learning opportunities for the country’s future. Maybe, it thought that it is the responsibility of the Government. NCERT forgot that NCERT itself is the Government.


Throughout the NCERT preschool curriculum, it keeps referring to teachers. This is what teachers should do/plan/execute, roles and responsibilities etc. Presumably, nothing wrong with it. Just that, how much actual scope do the teachers have in a preschool set-up? Be it in Anganwadi or private preschools, the so-called teachers are mere fillers with suspect qualifications and motivations.

The real decision-makers are the owners/management of the private preschools and the higher-up Government officials. They control the purse strings and are responsible for making the resources available or off limits for the children’s learning. What does the NCERT preschool curriculum have to say about them? Silence.

What’s going to be achieved in preschool learning by letting the sharks devour the fees and grants without any concurrent deliverables? NCERT is awesome in sermonizing and also dragging its feet.

NCERT Preschool Curriculum’s Aim

The above downsides and other equally dreadful measures are made further insufferable by the stated aim of the NCERT preschool curriculum: Preparing the child for school.

There is no more disservice and letting down of children of India than this. Are the schools not enough to snatch away the childhood from the child that another three years are added to the ordeal? That too, when the child is just about getting to know and experience the fun and joy of being a child.

NCERT could have put the aim of the preschool curriculum as letting a child be and enjoying childhood. It could have imparted more learning to children than the current redundant version.

What are your thoughts on the NCERT preschool curriculum?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

NCERT Syllabus: Pre-Historic And Aimless

Any idea how was the world in 2006, 15 years back? No iPhones, No WhatsApp, No Instagram. Youtube was just a year old. Amazon and Facebook had not entered India. Whoa!! 2006 was a different world altogether as compared to 2021. 2006 also had another significant event – the NCERT syllabus for Class 1 was launched. And, it has been the same ever since, for the last 15 years. Whoa!!

The NCERT syllabus i.e. the textbooks the children study for Class 1 in 2021 is the same that the children studied in 2006. This is beyond belief. The technological landscape has changed. The people’s exposures and expectations have changed. There is hardly any comparison to the people’s lives then and now. And, the NCERT syllabus has remained exactly the same.

The NCERT syllabus seems to be cast in stone that it remains what it was 15 years back. Today’s children have access to so many innovations and newer experiences and the NCERT syllabus designed in 2006. There can and will, of course, be several arguments as to why the NCERT syllabus won’t and can’t change in 15 years.

NCERT Syllabus: Pre-Historic

Ever since NCERT came into being or whenever the new syllabus is devised, roughly the same time-lines have been maintained – 15 years or more for the syllabus update. So, if the non-updation of the syllabus has worked till now, it might as well do so currently too. The past laziness is the excuse for today’s laziness.

Well, there is no guarantee that it worked in the past and surely, it is not working today.

The children’s learning requirements remain the same irrespective of time. No, it doesn’t. The external environment might have changed drastically, but it does not influence the learning requirement of children. No, it has. Yes, the basics of learning remain the same, but the time that it gets introduced and the pace at which the child learns is dramatically different.

A child will always remain a child. But, it doesn’t mean they get taught stuff from the cave-man era.

NCERT syllabus has been designed so perfectly well that it entirely serves the learning purpose for children in 2021. Any idea how many pre-schools were there in 2006 and now? How many children went to pre-schools in 2006 and go today? Keep aside the technology revolution; the pre-primary education landscape has undergone a sea-change in the last 15 years.

Could NCERT fore-see such changes in 2006 and make a syllabus that is equally applicable in 2021?

The smart learning/smart classrooms are the flavour of the season. Any school worth the “International/Techno/Global” lingo that they use in their names will vouch for it. Just that, it is never discussed what is taught in these smart classrooms. What constitutes smart learning for smart children?

What would be your guess of today’s children being smart by reading the same textbooks used 15 years back?

NCERT Syllabus: Aimless

The Government of India has brought in the New Education Policy. It looks brilliant at the top, all glossy. Just that, the NCERT continues with the same syllabus from 15 years back. It looks murky at the bottom, all dull and dim.

Maybe, the New Education Policy aims at the Old Syllabus Books.

The NCERT might say that they can change the syllabus. But that would be a change for the sake of change as the syllabus doesn’t actually require change. This would be farthest from the truth. The learning requirements have changed for the children in the last one and a half-decade.

How can the un-smart syllabus from 15 years back do justice to the potential of smart kids?

One might say that this is precisely why private CBSE schools don’t follow NCERT books and have their own pedagogical tools. There are ICSE, IGCSE and IB curriculums, too. Well, who sets the benchmark for Indian students’ learning? Where do the maximum students enrol? Whom does the state Boards look up to for inspiration? NCERT.

The aimless working of NCERT further accentuates the inequity of the Indian education system.

The Action Points

Forget the above gripe. As a parent, how do you feel that your child is taught what was 15 years back? Does yesterday’s learning inspire confidence in you about your child’s chances to succeed in tomorrow’s world? Do you think that we are doing justice to the country’s future by letting our children study from the era of no WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon in India?

If no, what’s the way out? What’s to be done for the sake of our children, who are being let down, terribly and completely? What can we, mere, parents do? There are, of course, no easy answers when the Government and the education establishment is part of the problem and not the solution.

I propose bringing the issue into the limelight and requesting the Government for parent involvement in curriculum development.

What would be your suggestions and ideas?

(Along with Class I, the NCERT syllabus of Class X and XII was also launched in 2006 and has remained the same ever since. Wonder what XII Science students will be getting taught about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Automation etc? They might as well still be learning how dinosaurs roamed!!)

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Exams Cancelled: Adults Failed, Not Students

For the second year running, the school exams are cancelled in India. This year, even the board exams got cancelled. With no exams, there isn’t scope to ask questions to students. So, let’s try asking some questions to adults: The Government, the education establishment and also us, the parents.

Online education/online learning works, why not online exams?

Ever since the schools were shut down, the Government, Central and States, have been very enthusiastic about online education/online learning. Umpteen statements have been made that no learning loss has been ensured to students by the seamless transition to digital teaching mode. The claims say that the students are doing well, as they would have done by physically attending schools.

Now, the question to be asked is that if online education/online learning has been so successful, why can’t the same success be replicated for online exams? No, this is not possible. Why would that be? It will be said that there are issues with infrastructure/connectivity/integrity and all. It will be said that online exams are not feasible for every student.

Agreed, online exams do not work in India. Well, then how does online education/online learning work in India? If online exams, even as a concept, do not have a presence in India, how can online education/online learning have a real-life application? If online exams are looked down upon as a bane, why a diametrically opposite treatment for online education/online learning as a boon?

What did the education establishment do for a full year?

COVID-19 is sure to be blamed for exams postponement and cancellations in 2020. But in 2021 also? Even after one full year? When the emergency strikes without notice, we are unprepared. We say – what to do, we are helpless? However, when the emergency continues, even then do we continue to be unprepared? Even then, do we say – what to do, we are helpless?

Surely, the Government authorities and the education establishment that control the destiny of students as know-all didn’t assume that the pandemic will vanish in a month or two or even six months/a year. They are THE people expected to be with foresight, with immaculate judgement, with advanced tools to guide the country’s children.

So, what was the scenario planning that the education establishment did for one full year? What were the multiple options considered for the students? What were the considerations, trade-offs, alternatives basis the levels of the pandemic across the country for school and board exams?

Well, after one full year, we got the same answer – school and board exams cancelled, as they were last year. Did the education establishment do any homework at all for the last full year?

Everything moves on, why not the exams?

Between last year and to date, everything in India has got a move on. The country has wobbled across various stages of lockdown all throughout. The IPL, cinemas, bars and nightclubs have also opened, shut down again and will reopen shortly. However, one aspect has remained steadfast – The schools are shut the whole time.

As a country, we come up with paradoxical solutions. The safety of the children is the topmost priority. So, how do we go about ensuring it? By locking them inside and making everyone else free to their will. The future of the children is the second priority. So, how do we go about ensuring it? By cancelling school and board exams and continuing with everything else as normal.

The school and board exams are for a short duration, unlike school reopening. If the school and board exams are so important, that they are claimed to be, why not consider shutting down everything else for a week to ten days so that the exams are done and dusted with? Why can’t the country stand still for a brief time so that the students can write their exams in the mean-while?

If the nation has a hard lockdown, all of us would remain home compulsorily. Won’t we remain home for our children to write exams safely? Why can’t the Prime Minister of the country ask the citizens for this small contribution?

Why school and board exams can exist ONLY as a rote festival?

Are school and board exams an end in itself or the means to an end? If they are means to an end, which they are supposed to be, they can surely go beyond the three hours rote festival. Why can’t the education establishment come up with even a single alternative to exams in its current format? There can be multiple avenues to gauge the learning and the application of the students.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. COVID-19 lockdown called for online education/online learning. However, when it came to school and board exams, rather than desperate measures, we chose no measures, with exams cancelled. Is the three-hour rote festival so sacrosanct that we would rather not have exams in any other format?

The Adults Failed

Well, adults are not supposed to give exams. Also, our children are not taught to question the adults. What’s the bother?  No answers required for any of the above questions or whatever.

The Government and the education establishment get away with their shameful and irresponsible failures and we, parents, remain spectators.

The nation continues failing her children. School and board exams are dead. Long live school and board exams.

What are your views on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.