A country’s education system can be robust if its schools and students have a rounded perspective of not just books, but also of people,society and events around them. But true to perception, the Quality Education Survey 2011 (QES) by Wipro Applying Thought in Schools and Educational Initiatives found several weak spots.
But there are areas that are encouraging enough, finds the survey, which is being detailed in a four-part series in Mint, the second of which is carried today. Though some civic responsibilities are yet to catch on with the adults of tomorrow, they have become aware of gender equality and strongly feel that pollution should be controlled.
Good News: Nearly one in two students believes in gender equality
Good News: Four out of every five students are conscious of socio-cultural events
Bad News: Nearly three in four students don’t mind littering
Acceptance Of Diversity
Good News: Nearly half of the students favour religious tolerance
Sensitivity Towards Differently Abled
Bad News: The majority of students are insensitive towards differently-abled children
Good News: Three out of five students will support a person who promotes development
Good News: Environmental awareness is improving among students, with over 40% suggesting a reduction in hazardous waste such as poisonous batteries and bulbs
A need for parents’ involvement
Interactions with students, parents and educationists from several cities reveal that they are concerned that students are becoming less sensitive. However, there is an interlinking thought that fragmentation of the family system and being overloaded with homework are forcing students to become self-dependent. In such a situation, they have more friends on Facebook than in the real world.
But the silver lining is that parents have realized they have to chip in to better the situation.
Ayush Shah, student,Class 8, Tagore International, Delhi
My friends and I are sensitive towards physically-challenged students. But there is a mindset among many students that they are not like us; that’s why they stay away from such students. Plus, many students throw garbage on the streets because of two reasons—either they’re careless or learn from others doing the same.
Santanu Mishra, educationist and co-founder, Smile Foundation
Children are not insensitive per se. There is too much competition and parents’ expectations to live up to. This never allows them to think freely, and contributes in making young children insensitive. Here, both schools and parents need to put in efforts on creating well-rounded children.
Jimcy Raphael, parent, Bangalore
Students now have access to all kinds of resources that we never enjoyed during our childhood. That’s why they don’t value things and become insensitive. Here, parents and schools are to be blamed equally. In schools, the teachers are not passionate about the students’ learning outcome. There is absolutely no effort from teachers.
Vivek Kumar, parent, Delhi
The focus of education should shift from the blackboard to interaction. Children are becoming less sensitive as they are too dependent on themselves… They play games more on the computer than outside; they have more Facebook friends than real ones. More than schools, here parents need to step in.
Wipro Applying Thought in Schools is a social initiative of Wipro’s working on school education reform. Educational Initiatives (EI) is one of South Asia’s leading educational research organizations that works for improving student learning in schools.
Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan/Mint
Also Read | The first part of the series