the wonderful world of veena.

15 October 2011

where will you educate your children?

Yesterday, this article ran on the New York Times website.

Education has long been a passion of mine, starting when I was in high school and extending into my life today.  I've spent most of my life learning, tutoring, teaching, or some combination of the three.  It's also something I think about nearly every day:

Where will I educate my children?

Will I send them to schools in India?  Will I enroll them in schools in the US?  Do I chuck both of those ideas and send them to school in Finland?  [hey, don't knock it, they've supposedly got the best education system in the world]

This is something that is readily on my mind.  Schools in India focus more on academics, forcing students to have good study habits, something I wish I possessed.  Schools in the US focus on being well-rounded, forcing students to be able to have good social interactions and to participate in a variety of activities.

In India, most of the good schools are single-sex schools, and I have vowed my entire life never to send my children to single-sex schools unless they explicitly asked to go.  In the US there are cities that have great public schools and cities where private schools are better - it's all a matter of where you live.

I like the structure of schools in India, but never having attended one and only seeing them from the outside, I feel that they are too rigid and in many ways expect too much of their students academically.  If you read through the article above, you would have read that there were some universities in India who were only accepting students who scored above 99% on their exams.  That's nearly impossible, and yet children in India will forego sleep, food, and many other things to get those results.  And if they don't get those results, they don't know what to do, because academics is all they know.

In the US, academics are important, but so much more of a child's education comes from outside the classroom - from playing on sports teams to acting in plays to being part of a community service group, each little bit adds up to a whole, well-rounded person.  Universities here certainly take grades into account, but they also look at how much was done outside of class.  I got accepted to Rhodes not because of any outstanding academic achievement but because of my commitment to the Community Service program at Baylor.

I think because of the opportunity I had to go to Baylor, I want nothing less than that for my children.  There are a few "alternate education" schools in Bangalore, but nothing that can rival the facilities of my high school, except for maybe the international schools.

Although I know it is way far off in the distance, I have spent a lot of time contemplating how I will fit my thoughts into the school systems in India.  My vague idea is to put my [hypothetical] children through international schools and then board them at Baylor their final 2 or 3 years of high school, if they want.  I know the idea of sending your children across the world is scary, but I also know they won't be alone over here.  And above all, I think that it would be a great experience for them.

Of course, thinking all of this, I also realize that there will likely be a lot of changes that occur in the schools both in India and in the US by the time I have children and they are ready for school.  But that doesn't mean that it's not something that is constantly on my mind.

I know that no matter what, I don't want my children to become part of a system that requires perfection from its students.  I want them to do well, certainly, but I also want them to enjoy the best parts of being in school - spending time with friends on weekends, attending school events, being part of theatrical productions, exploring their artistic side, volunteering their time, and getting to know the world around them.  I want to set them up to succeed.

How about you?
Woo pig.

No comments:

Post a Comment