April 11, 2009

School arithmetic

In a small village in Assam two weeks ago, we stopped for tea. Got chatting with a young man who turned out to be a mathematics teacher at a local school. "Private school", he said.

Later, we visited the place. There is a government school next door. These two are the only available primary and secondary schools in the village, and in fact for some distance around.

The government school has about 400 students and one teacher. Tuition is free.

The private school has about 160 students and 6 teachers. Tuition is Rs 70 a month in kindergarten, and rises by Rs 10 a month for each higher class.

Of the 560 students in both these schools, 400 cannot afford the fees at the private school. Those are the kids who go to the government school.

When we returned to Bombay, we had to write a cheque for tuition for my son, now in the 5th standard. It was about Rs 28,000 for the year, or nearly Rs 2500 a month.

A school I happen to know well in the south of the city raised its fees last year. 5th standard kids in that school now pay about Rs 70,000 a year, or nearly Rs 6000 a month.

Finally, I had dinner a few nights ago with two college chums. One has his daughter in an old and respected Bombay school that has recently been taken over by an industrial house. He tells me that because of a change in the curriculum that's come with this takeover, they have proposed a fee increase, to Rs 350,000 a year, or nearly Rs 30,000 a month.

It's been an education, these two weeks.


Anonymous said...

...and these posh schools don't teach proper Maths, Science and English. On top of it one needs to send the kids to private tuitions.
Going to these posh schools is a waste of time. Kids learn all sorts of bad things and peer pressure is too much.

Sometimes I think it is better off for students to go to private tuitions only. These days one can appear in SSLC and HSC board exams as private candidates. To improve their social skills they can join Bharat Scouts, NSS, NCC etc.

Anonymous said...

One of relatives passed out of Villupuram Municipal School and has joined NIT, Surathkal last year. I asked him to join NCC at college without fail to improve his leadership and other social skills.

School fees is as follows :
1. 5th to SSLC - Rs. 200/year
2. HSC(2 years) - Rs. 400/year
3. Private tuition fees for HSC subjects - Rs. 3000 all in all( He went to my good old Maths teacher, all of 80 years, who also teaches Physics and Chemistry).
Absolutely no peer pressure at school.

Cheap isn't it...Jai Ho Villupuram

Motto...name and brand of the school doesn't matter.

What matters is a good teacher, an obedient student and parents who are willing to sacrifice their fetish for TV / kitty parties for the sake of kids.

It's still easy and cheap if done the traditional way

Anonymous said...

When I was in school my dear grandfather bought me just 2 sets of shirt and half pants every year...good old linen ones. Used to withstand everything - climbing of trees and walls, rolling in the mud, skidding on the sand and the stresses and strains of wicketkeeping. Don't know if these activities are possible in schools these days....and don't know if linen is still around.

Anonymous said...

Bring back the good old linen.....My manifesto for 2009 elections.


Anonymous said...

My schools manifesto for May 2009 elections enuniciated nice and clean in


I honestly think these 2 fine ladies should debate with Manmohan Singh.

Jose said...

Big business. Add that with the non-refundable 'deposit' each teacher pays to get in.

editor said...

These are real issues. Post-liberalisation things have really gone bad.

Even in playschools, they demand donation. No poor man can now imagine his son or daughter to become a doctor or engineer unlike past.

Every examination form (competitive exam) costs in thousands. It's fast becoming a country just for the Moneyed and the Upper Middle Class.

Anonymous said...

I'd blame the modern parents. They are so paranoid ( not just concerned) about their kids future. They think if you pay money then it somehow automatically ensures good career. Peer pressure, parental pressure, societal pressure, it's like a rice cooker...as a result many kids fail to perform to the level of their natural ability, some take to smoking, drugs etc and waste their lives.

All the time kids in rural India, like in Villupuram are making a big push. If you looks at Tamilnadu addmissions data, Chennai has been losing its share of college places steadily for the last 10 years. Reasons 1. Too much distraction - TV, parties etc
2. Pressure cooker type of situation. 3.No physical activity 4. Commute to school takes up all the time. 5. Fear of failure is drilled into their minds as early as 3rd standard for God's sake.

There was this argument that rural children are no match to city breds. This may have been valid during my times but not any more. Today internet is the great leveller. Mine and my proud nephew's success bullshits this argument.

Anonymous said...

my school here in usa costs me $85,000 for 9 months. but nice thing is once i graduate i get $250,000 per year job so like that life goes on.

Ed said...

Same everywhere in the world. You've got to pay for good education. if you leave it to the State the classrooms are overcrowded and the schools underfunded...

Uday Prakash said...

Its' a very down to earth factual report. Same is in my village and a large area in M.P & Chhatteesgarh border, which day by day is turning it to a hot belt of Maoists and Naxals. One can easily imagine about the gravity of situation...a country where more than 42 crores people live by under one $ per day, how can they buy education for their kids? If not the state, who else is going to take up this responsibility for them? State is not an agency to extract, sell and exploit natural wealth in form of ores, gases, coals, sands, water, woods etc. If it's making money by the exploitation of natural wealth of a particular area, it must also take care of at least education and health of the people belonging to that area.
This is my opinion.