Walk a Talk


by NaSa

Me: “Good evening, Uncle. How are you? How’s everyone in the family specially our little champ, Shaan?”

Mr. Sharma: “Good evening, bacche. I am good and so is everyone. Shaan got admission in the formal school.”

Me: “Congratulations uncle. Pradeep and Meera must be happy and relaxed. You know these days getting admission in a good is no less than a mission. I am sure Shaan will also like his new school.”

Mr. Sharma: “Yeah. Shaan is all excited about his ‘big school’. He is still small to understand the concept of education. He’s happy with the bigger playing area than his play school, new bag, new uniform and stuff. But honestly speaking ‘beta,’ this new education system isn’t a very welcome system.”

Me: “Even I feel so uncle and I’ve my reasons for it but why do you say so? You have so many Principals of schools as friends, aunty is also into government teaching department…”

Mr. Sharma: “Yeah but I say so because the standard of education has come down despite the increasing standards of schools. The entire education system has changed a lot from what it used to be in our times. I remember my school days that date back to the 1960s and 70s. I used to study in a government school, most of the people of my generation would. My favourite teacher used to be the chemistry teacher, Mr. O.P. Singh, not because my favourite subject was chemistry but because Mr.Singh used to teach in English and with what dedication! At that time it was rare of a government teacher to choose English as the medium of instruction and it holds true till date. Even today, barely do we see a teacher in a government school teaching in English especially when his subject is not English. I have always been an English lover even though I could barely speak and understand English at that time.”

Me : “Right uncle. But these days look how even little children also speak English and schools too make it compulsory for teachers, students and parents to use English as the medium of instruction and learning. We have come a long and have improved a lot.”

Mr. Sharma: “I beg to differ from you beta. We have come a long way, nodoubts, but we have improved it is debatable. Atleast, I don’t think so. In our times, schooling used to be about education and values. Today, it’s more about extracurricular activities, exposure and brands. Schools itself have become brands, children wear branded shoes in uniforms, which I think is in contrast with the basic principle of education i.e. simplicity. Students should and must lead a simple life. The opulence that kids these days are exposed to at a very young age or I should say since the time they open their eyes in this world make them insensitive and materialistic. That is what I’ve noticed today. Kids are turning more and more materialistic.”

Me: I think you’re right uncle. I remember some time back, a video of some students of a big school went viral. In that video, students as small as 13-14 years were abusing and even hitting one of their school mates and were talking of each other’s class, social class. The other day, my neighbour also shared with me an instance where her son’s class mate talked back to his teacher. And this isn’t a single instance. Most of the kids, specially of these so called ‘branded schools’ think that a teacher is only an employee who’s paid from the amount of fees that they give to the school.”

Mr. Sharma: “You are talking of the mentality of students and parents of the private schools. In government schools, especially the ones in villages what happens is since the guardians are not well educated and cultured, though being ‘cultured’ doesn’t make a great amount of difference, they would literally argue and fight with the teachers over the misbehaviour of children without themselves taking any responsibility saying teachers are paid for this job. Your aunty can narrate so many such instances since she has over two decades of work experience in government schools as teacher and for past couple of years as headmistress.”

Me: “Oh I love aunty and I know her students would love her too. Who wouldn’t want a guru as charming, patient, knowledgeable and understanding as her?”

Mr. Sharma: “Yeah she has many fans. Even I am one of them. But by and large,I don’t think there’s any ‘guru-shishya’ relationship left anymore. These are the times of ‘Godfathers’ and ‘e-Gurus’. Schools today are more of personality-grooming institutions than educational institutions and education itself is mere information and not knowledge. In such case if we talk of values it will be like talking ofGod, people talk of him, fight over him but do not follow him.”

Me: ‘Very rightly said, Uncle. You know…(My phone rings and I take a leave of Mr. Sharma.)

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