Mashood - Tyndale Biscoe School
Saddam Hussain - Cresent Public School
Jasafa Showkat - Green Valley Educational Institute
Arsh Aijaz - Mallinson Girls School
This edition of Let’s Talk features students from higher secondary classes whose daily routines are hectic. They keep on shuttling between their schools and tuitions. Do they lose themselves in the process? This is the question they debate with Benish Ali Bhat.
Benish: Let me start with Mashood. How do you manage to shuttle between tuitions and school all the time?
Mashood: It is stressful sometimes but with time you kind of get used to it. It takes time to understand and sort out your priorities, whether you need to focus on schools or on tuitions. With time you realise that you have to let go of some things in the process.
Benish: Do you easily let go of those things?
Mashood: Well it’s hard at first but then you have to understand that things that mattered at one time are not that important now.
Benish: Can you tell us what things you let go off?
Mashood: Well I used to play a lot of football. Till tenth football was the main focus of my life.
Benish: Doesn’t all work and no play make Jack a dull boy?
Mashood: No, you can play but you do not have to be serious about it.
Benish: Okay, Saddam your take?
Saddam: Mashood is right. You need to prioritise things in your life and list things according to their importance. My sister’s baby made me realise my responsibilities as a maternal uncle. That taught me that life changes and as it changes course you need to change your direction too. When studies are important you have to leave other things.
Benish: Let’s move on to the girls now. You come from good and reputed school, so don’t you think that schools should be promoting good quality education so that there is no need to go for tuitions?
Jasafa: Yes, I go to a good school but I still feel that I can learn more and need to get education from another source as well. It’s not with me only but like in my entire batch there are only two to three students who haven’t opted for tuitions. For someone like me who aspires to be a doctor, when I see the school curriculum it feels that it isn’t enough.
Benish: Arsh, how many hours do you spend in a day at your schools and tuitions?
Arsh: We come to tuitions right after school till almost 7pm.
Benish: So that means from 9 in the morning to 7 in the evening you are busy.
Arsh: Yes, that’s right. And we do not get the actual time for self-study in between all this.
Benish: Do you think that you are overburdened?
Arsh: Yes, but with time you get used to it. It becomes a routine of your life and doesn’t make much sense after that.
Benish: Talking of self-study now. Mashood how important is it and do you get the time?
Mashood: It’s actually the most important aspect of studies but I don’t get much time for it. What happens in 11th and 12th standard is that you have to go to school and then to tuitions so you do get the required time for studying yourself. Also there needs to be a balance. You should keep some topics for self-study only. What happens with many students is that, they study one thing in school and that gets repeated in tuitions and then they revise the same thing at home. The repetition irritates them and they stop studying entirely.
Benish: Is this system of education beneficial or just ends up over-stressing you?
Saddam: It is a necessary evil. In Kashmir schools don’t work well at all for most of the students and you have to accept this fact. So whatever is lacking in the school system is fulfilled by the tuition centres. I believe the best thing for higher secondary students is to attend a government school and choose a good tuition centre along with that. A government school doesn’t bind you to attend school every single day. So you will get time for self-studying.
Benish: Are we learning anything by overstressing or just cramming up things?
Arsh: Yes we cram everything but later realise that it doesn’t serve any purpose. The career goals that we have need thorough studies. We need to learn and understand the basic concepts.
Jasafa: What I realised after 11th was that I wasted the whole year cramming up things that I learned at schools and tuitions. I never had the time to really understand and reflect on what I was learning. And that can never help. I agree with Saddam that we should join a government school to get proper time to study.
Benish: In Kashmir there is a career path laid down for you, either be a doctor or an engineer. Have you tried to deviate from this path?
Saddam: Yes every child should have a choice and it should be well defined. I will quote an example of my sister who qualified the entrance but then ended up in management. Such is the confusion that we face.
Benish: Did you ever want to be anything other than a doctor?
Arsh: Other than that I wanted to be a journalist. Since childhood I had that dream but the way we have been raised in our homes- by the time we grow up there are just two choices- doctor and engineer. That’s our mind set and I also felt this is the best choice.
Benish: In all this ‘bhaagdaud’ do you find time for yourself?
Mashood: For some things you find time and for others you don’t. You have to choose between things and maintain that studies are more important. You have to compromise on things for a stable career.
Jasafa: In the vacations when I had only tuitions and no school I got time to discover myself which felt great. But now after joining back in school there is hardly anytime left for me and I completely forget myself.
Benish: Okay honest answers from everybody. Are you overburdened and is the system right?
Arsh: I guess we are an overburdened generation and there is a serious need to upgrade our educational system.
Saddam: No we are not overburdened; we just need to straighten our priorities. Talking of the system, Finland has the best educational system in the world, India is nowhere near and Kashmir is not even in the same galaxy.
Mashood: I second Saddam, we are not overburdened. We just need to decide what’s important.
Jasafa: Yes we are overburdened and I have no idea how to help it. Just wish that coming generations shouldn’t have to face it.
Benish: Thank you guys for joining.
Education system needs an overhaul
Tuitions are benefitting more in term of learning
Joining government school with a good tuition can lessen the burden
Students hardly find time for themselves