hmph... Education!

Being a jobless(for now) brother at home doesn't guarantee you exclusive rights to the computer, the internet or the license to do anything you want. As a result, one fine morning I found myself nodding in acceptance to mum's order to teach my sister whatever she needed to learn for the next day's exams. This wasn't as difficult as it may seem, as she is only in the fifth standard.
We had breakfast together and proceeded upstairs to her room. I committed a particularly dangerous act by thinking of starting off the day with whatever she thought was difficult... Hindi. Little did I know that I was at the deep end of the pool. 

When I was in school, we started off Hindi in third standard, beginning with the alphabet.. then to simple words for pen, cat, cloud, etc. After that came simple sentences - Hindi equivalents of "What's your name?", "This is a boy..." ."Look at this family. How many people are there?" and moving on to grammar. It seems they have done away with the last two steps. In other words, after the alphabet and words, the books jump directly to something of the level of a Bachelor's degree in Hindi or something.

The teachers are least bothered. After a lot of coaxing and sly prompting, my sister revealed that her Hindi teacher wasnt really teaching them much. It seemed her teacher just explained the whole point of the lessons in one go and only took the trouble to point out the meaning of simple words that the students knew otherwise too. No explanation of grammar. None of why this is suffixed with "oonga" and not "tha". All this was revealed rather hesitantly, as she belongs to a quite well known school in the city and is, obviously, rather proud of her breed.

I was furious. It was because of those lazy teachers and the idiotic syllabus-setters and the even more moronic book-choosers that my eyes were popping out trying to explain stuff that I stopped studying years ago(and I really didnt like it, frankly!). I just know my way around in Hindi - basic stuff... and my knowledge beyond that is so poor that I want subtitles for Hindi movies :D Pathetic, yeah I know. Well atleast I'm okay in English. Thank God the international language isn't Zulu or something (no offence meant to anyone *whew*)... 

I have talked so little Hindi that I remember almost all the long sentences I have spoken in my life! One of them is particularly interesting.. it happened in the October of 2006 in Delhi, during the Aerospace Olympiad - Chandigarh trip:  Vice Principal and six of us standing near a chaayakkada(tea shop), where really nice smelling tea was being served piping hot... I found it too hot to taste, so I wanted one more glass to ..er.. is there a word for the process of "transferring the tea from one glass to the other (preferably held at a higher position than the cup into which the tea is to be transferred next), cyclically" ? If there is, please let me know for it was my lack of knowledge of the Hindi equivalent for it, that prompted my next (I think longest ever) continuous sentence:

"Bhaisaab, ye chaai buhat garam hai.. isko yehi(making the cooling action with my hand) karne ke liye, ek aur glass chahiye"
Well I spent around two or three minutes making up that sentence, and it paid off.. the good man handed me another glass without as much as a glance in my direction. Boy I felt so insanely proud of myself :)

I was, I think with that happening in mind that I must have ventured foolishly to teach my sister Hindi. The rest is rather obvious... halfway through a particularly torturous poem I told her to learn it herself.

Righto, coming back to the original point (dont ask me what now), none of the kids in her class know how to speak Hindi. They mug up meanings(in Hindi), mug up bizzare-sounding question-and-answers. Someone up in the book-selection and syllabus dept. of their school got it all horribly wrong. It doesn't end with Hindi though. She was trying to mug up "What is force? Force is something that can cause, or tend to cause; stop or tend to stop motion" last year, without understanding a bit of it. Being physics, I was enthusiastic to tell her in simple words what the heck it all meant. But you can't always blame the teachers. Why the hell would a fourth standard, nine year old kid need to learn the formal definition of force? The Indian education system is soooo f!!ked up. 

I'm just waiting to see in which year they are taught the Special Theory of Relativity or numerical calculations based on Integral Calculus... oh wait, I havent checked her present textbook yet.


Itinerant said...

Its funny how in any class/sem etc. 8mout of the 10 subjects are for mugging up but the other 2 are the ones that screw your happiness. you mug em up and you had it.

I see kids going to school in the morning carrying a bag that is double their weight. Doesnt make sense at all.


Black Sabbath said...

haha. . pattatha panikku onnum pokalle :P
and dude actually this is not the case with a single skool or something! ella skoolum angane okke aaanu!(my sis) heheh!
and syllabus okke. . namukku onnum cheyyan patoola!
"nadodumbo naduve odanam"!
and as the proverb says "The acorn never falls far from the tree"..ninte alle sister...!onnum pedikanda :D

Sriram said...

@itinerant: True.. her school bag is one third her weight

@vipin: actually this is not the case with a single skool or something! hmm.. our educational system is going to the dogs :|

Black Sabbath said...

ya ya ...thats rite...but then what can we dO? :|

Sidhusaaheb said...

Thank God I am out of school!


Sidhusaaheb said...

Reminds me of... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_bvT-DGcWw

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Woah, force definition in 5th grade! :O I think I had it 9th :-|

g-man said...

rofl, yea, even i barely know my way when it comes to hindi. we were taught in pretty much the same way dude. at least my class was :| well, even if they teach stuff correctly (grammatically) the accents of the teachers over here are...erm...well they make me go 'fuck fuck fuck fuck...ad infinitum'

oh, there are ppl in my class who learn math by heart :D

silverine said...

Hindi is totally screwed up in the South!!! I know cos I had a North Indian Hindi teacher and she bought her own books and taught us Hindi the real way. She was appalled at our syllabus and said that no one can learn Hindi this way. Today, in Blr, scores of parents are rushing to psycho education units of NIMHANs to get exemption for their kids from studying Hindi. It has become such a rush that now NIMHAN doesn't even give genuine cases exemption!! I have sat with cousin's kids and I have given up, as without grammar it is next to impossible to learn this language. Good post. Bought a lot of frustrations out!!

Sriram said...

@vipin: Search me :\

@sidhusaaheb: Ah the classic! Infact I had this song on my mind when I was finishing the post :D

@Karthik Sivaramakrishnan: yeah.. I had it in eighth!

@g-man: the accents of the teachers over here are...erm... Sickening, isnt it? How 'jab' becomes 'jeb' and 'mein' becomes 'maim'. "Maim hoom na!"

@silverine: I have sat with cousin's kids and I have given up, as without grammar it is next to impossible to learn this language. Really true!

iamtheicebox said...

dude..dnt we have the basic defintion of force in the 8th!!..n i always wanted to shout out what you told!!...thats precisely what we did in the 7th..mugging up question answers whose meaning we do not know of n regurgitating them in the answer papers!!

well nice going dude!! the day aint far when kids in the fourth integrate 3cos3x

Sriram said...

the day aint far when kids in the fourth integrate 3cos3x AAAAAAA! Dude, I forgot how to do that! Really!!!
Four months spent at home, and all I remember is c++, html, php and linux :|

iamtheicebox said...

the day aint far away when u forget 1+1 is 3.

not the height of intellectual challangedness( you know wht i mean rite:D)

Anonymous said...

wah! brother wah!


PS:satyamaaayum enikku veronnum parayaan illathonda...understand macha understand..

Sriram said...

@Icebox: Let's patent 1+1 man, it's boring in there :|

@nitin: ha.. wohkay macha!

Hari said...

Heh. The post reminds me of Rajamma Ma'am's classes (has she taught you? :P)

Well true that Hindi is totally screwed up with us mallus/tams/gults et al... Guess it's all the fallout of that odd anti-Hindi agitation in the mid sixties. But picture this, half the nation knows, nay, understands hindi. If you know Hindi, you can survive anywhere!

As you said, it's not about Hindi alone. The whole state education system in our state (or, for that matter, our country) is badly screwed. There's needs to be a sea change in policis! No other go! :D

Blogger Bug said...

its the wtf educatiion system!

Sriram said...

@hari: Yeah I do remember her :) Time for another "We dont need no education.." rebellion!

@KS: True!

Merlz said...

It's easy to criticize other schools. Check your own backyard first man. Like many of your schoolmates said, the system ain't uncommon. The truth is, most teachers have the mentality that since all kids go for tuitions, why should they waste their breath teaching them?
Ah...anyways...I never had a problem with Hindi. Is the first language I learnt to speak. I came down south only in the 4th standard and Hindi is started in schools at Bombay IN 4th standard. As a result, I had my cousin teaching me 3 years worth of Hindi textbookness in 1 week. Managed it somehow. Topped the Hindi class 97.8% of the time ever since then. Sheesh! How not modest am I! :D

Sriram said...

@merlz: ah that bit I remarked about the school-pride rings through your first sentence dear lady :) When did I criticise a particular school? I was referring to a particular teacher - my sister's Hindi teacher. The other persons I criticised were the people who set such stupid syllabi(recall "force") not just for her school, but for any school.
No offence meant to anyone!

Merlz said...

None taken! I was just making my point clear. :)

A school is as good as its teachers. But it's not right to judge a school by just a few teahers. Anyways...the system needs to change soon and how! Lets hope it starts by abolishing organic chemistry. :D

Ranganath Eunny said...

Hmmm...I must make it a point to visit your blog everyday!!! I am missing some real gems :-)

Like this post.

BTW the nearest word i could think of is 'phentna' meaning to whisk...still miles away.

Sriram said...

@merlz: HI FIVE!!! I too wanna give chemistry the FINGER!

@ranga: Thanks for your comments sir.. add a blogrolling list or something like that, which lets you know if anybody has updated. Or just subscribe to the feed!