Vani’s Musings

School – Then and Now

Posted on: January 3, 2007

I remember the time we went to school. It was such an uncomplicated affair.
Curriculum was most important, and the extra curricular activities were limited. There was impetus on games, each of us were on one team or the other.

We had regular tests and exams, but none of them ever, the life-threatening variety. We carried a minimum amount of books to school. Our bags were never heavy. I remember carrying a peacock feather for luck, a scented eraser along with my usual one and toffees to eat during break time.

We never knew about project work. Information technology was something our elder siblings and cousins were studying, and occasionally one would hear of a friend’s brother or cousin flying to the USA for studies in this field. Those were the times when that person would strut around school with his / her nose in the air and others would look at that person with an air of respect and awe.

I see today that life has changed, and there is inordinate amount of pressure on children to cope up with the fast paced teaching system.

I saw my little cousin G today, struggling early in the morning to complete her mound of holiday homework, which has to be submitted today at school, failing which, she will be punished. G, for all her struggles, is still studying Senior KG.

I immediately went back to the sketchy memory of what I did during the same age. We were still taught Upper Case and Lower Case Letters, and homework was unheard of.

When I see G’s books, I can take a look into the future. Probably G will be taught Calculus in Standard V, and Theory of Relativity in Standard VII. Is this pace really a necessity or are we making our children chew more than what they can swallow?


19 Responses to "School – Then and Now"

Nice post. The Then & Now post ends up with a Q like this.
Let G copes up with the tough targets & I strongly feel the new gen kids are more equipped. Its all about the gene mutations too, the think faster than us .. Its all about the demand & the supply chain makes it complete.I think it will be in balance.

Just think, when I was learning arithmetic in 8th, one of my juniors doing trignometry. The central syllabus, CBSE were so new to me those days. That was actual difficult thing,.. they belong to our gen but had touch targets. One thing generally was so true, they were more sharper than me.. I almost heard about IIT when I had just finsihed my 2nd PU.. I just knew CET as the only entrance exam to give…! My dad was a career guide , he thought the same, lets not pressurise the kids etc., but I feel we should provide them the wings & fill in the strenght to fly. Once they get used to it, they do it easily.

My 2 cents, truely personal opinions!
Great post Vani.. keep it going.

hardika abhinandenegalu hearty congratulatons. no doubt today’s children IQ is much more but there is no doubt they are under lot of pressure particularly at +II stage which will shape their future and decide thei caree options firmly. 90% is not a great score in todays context.; other day I was seeing some award list of our employees I was amazed at a student getting 99.1% in his B.Tech in IIT in E&E and where his .9 has gones wonderfulno doubt.
Stress on above average children is very high high expecatations thrusting parents wishes on them like you must be doctor or software engineer like this. majorityf of the parents will not identify the true talent or interest of the child. If they dont score scloding them comparing them with their cousins/siblings or neighbours this all will create lot of stress on the tende aged child and they are confused. all students are not alike parents should understand this. If everyone becomes doctor engineer etc. who will become nusrses, ward boy, supervisor , mestri and workers.??
thats all for present
wish you great success in your venture vani

Veena- Have faced the same exp with CBSE People. Coming from State Syllabus, College was per se, tough. When I joined PU, I found that more than half of my classmates were from CBSE and things and concepts that were being introduced to us at PU I Year had already been taught to them in Class X. They used to be more enthusiastic about answering questions, and teachers followed their pace while teaching. I found it very tough to cope with this.

Yes, as you say, exposure matters. Today world is getting more and more competitive and if our children lag behind, they will be the ones to lose.

Praneshachar avare, welcome. Nimma comment nodi khushi aaythu. Hiriyara protsaaha ashirvaada always welcome.
Neevu heLidanthe stress maadabardu, but at the same time, we have to flow with the tide. Parents have a duty to identify their children’s strengths and weakness and guide them accordingly.

You have ended the post very well. The battle for space clearly begins early for Indian children. One that teaches them a lot but helps them learn little. No doubt, things have improved.

Primary classes are often the building ground where students are first told that they cannot fail. Parents are no longer happy with just good marks. The cry for “more” is an increasing one, with comparisons with a bright sibling or a neighbourhood boy only making matters worse.

Parents are very ambitious and want their children to learn too much too soon. They must be reasonable.

If a classification is called for, I may be labelled ‘anti-educational’. I am not averse to enlightenment, but I feel convinced that the entire organisation, system, outlook and aims of education are hopelessly wrong from beginning to end; from primary first year to Ph.D., it is just a continuation of an original mistake. In the field of education, the educator and the educatee seemed to be arrayed in opposite camps, each planning how best to overwhelm the other.

Great vani,
In fact am in a dilemma wether to admit my son to Central or state sylabus. If you have an experiences on the stress/over competition, an article elucidating the same would actually help me clear my mind,


Nanna 2 paise :

Actually CBSE or state syllabus or whatever it is,
What matters most is the exposure, not what we learn from text books. As Veena said and as I experienced during the same period, we were unaware of IIT/AIIMS entrance exams and spent that time preparing only for CET. Had we got exposed to such bigger opportunities before, what would’ve happened? When I think about it, it becomes un-important that at what time I read calculus or at what time I get introduced to trigonometry. Hard work will pave, whenever I put it in.

These were my views.

I have mentioned a personal experience on how difficult I found to cope up with the CBSE Students in my PU Class.
Many times I complained to my parents about this, many times I felt I should change the stream itself, and it is only the confidence my parents had in me that helped me go ahead.

I used to take tutions to a couple of children studying CBSE, and have observed this. Though the syllabus appears huge, there are a number of solved examples, and it is very easy for the child to grasp the concept. I have only seen primary level text books so my knowledge is limited to this.

Guess as children grow up, they get used to this. Personally, I would wish to say this, CBSE students do have an edge over others.

Nice post Vani, It was almost a similar experience what you had in your first PU, worst one for me since i had come from a rural background and my communication skills were average then, The college lecturers should be cautious during this mix of categories.
The college classrooms to be arranged in a such a way , never to mix state and CBSE stream especially in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry classes, Syllabus of Algebra and trignometry , the experiments and problems of Chemistry and physics in State syllabus of PU will have been already covered in CBSE and ICSE in calss X which is a big mismatch, the local/rural students are bound to develop an inferiority complex competing with CBSE children.

I remember those golden days of freedom in childhood with no pressures of attending tutions, swimming classes, extra curriculars, sports ,crafts, painting classes , music class, dance class and what not πŸ™‚ Parents should realise why their children have to chase parents incomplete dreams, children should be given freedom to chase their own dreams, Of course till they have grown up to understand their dreams parents have to perform their duty of friend philosopher and guide.


I think we are seeing this from different perspectives.
As you say, exposure matters a lot, but at the same time,
I think it must be the educator ‘s responsibility to gauge whether the pupil’s mind is mature enough to understand such
abstract concepts.

After all, the most beautiful building will topple if the foundation
is not solid.


Thanks white vani, usha, srik.

You have helped me make up my mind to take a chance with the central (advanced) syllabus.

Another very important point out there is an availability of a mentor, a guide who can enrich your possible options at right times. Even today so called councillers just sweet talk the latest trend ignoring the individual, society needs.


Great post Vani.. so much of thoughts are coming out. You are already famous, like our director prem who first directed movie is a hit & there goes.
Thanks for appreciating/understanding my point of view, I was little scared about what if my idea gets bounced back again with gyan.
Usha, nimma kathe nanage artha aagatte, I studied in a very normal english medium school but still I had so much fear to go on stage, even to collect my prizes, internally my legs would shiver if I see a mass of audiance!!
Honestly the corporate traingings, the activities gave me all the confidence I have today. I wish what If I was exposed to tougher targets! May be my life would have been more easier when I grew up. Its all the choice, you want have an easy life in childhood or after you complete that.
I don’t like parents who put their kids to all kind of classes & don’t allow them to enjoy the childhood, hmmmmmmm… atleast my parents did do it, until I volunteered so much.
I had to do one day upavaas to join to my computer class, this was in 1994 ! πŸ™‚

I’d definitely vote for the CBSE syllabus anyday..I studied in state syllabus and my sister in CBSE..So I do know what ‘m talking about πŸ˜‰ The reason for me preferring CBSE is that they have a very structured and uncluttered teaching method… They give grades based on the child’s performance in each term, which ensures that there is no undue pressure on the kid during only the final exams..They also give hands-on projects as part of the holiday homeworks..And if the kids try doing these on their own, it’s a fun filled learning experience……. πŸ™‚

The most important part in all this though, is the choice of school don’t you think??? My sis loved her time in school…Basically coz they were allowed to play to their heart’s content upto the 2nd std πŸ˜‰ N the lovely teachers were an added bonus….

N so I feel that it’s more important to choose a right school alongwith the sylabbus πŸ™‚

I was in state syllabus school with very average teaching staff etc., but I still loved the school, my teachers.. My dad admitted me an year earlier because I was crying to go to school when my anna went to school.

I still remember, my taata died(mom’s dad) & I had my hindi test, this was when I was in 4th std, I went to school despite my mom asking me to join her.. I was so hard I can’t believe me :-)…Diya…pls forgive me.. πŸ™‚

ICSE gu CBSE gu en difference. ?? I think exams & stricts portions ella irbeku.. nanna prakaaara.. sumne ellargu onde tara grades kotre, we loose interest (atleast I).
Office nallu appraisal ratings ge definitions/clarity irbeku otherwise we get so odd. If everybody get a same grade, then whats the fun ??
Get 24 & 25 out of 25 is definitely a different feeling…
Trimisters & exams every quarter & forget the old portions is also no big idea.. Its a way to lazyiness πŸ™‚

Vani.. what do you conclude on your Q/A ???

Veena it’s ok πŸ™‚ N ICSE gu CBSE gu iro major difference andre avara standard of language used…ICSE nalli English standard is simply superb…I always sit and read their textbooks πŸ˜‰ Also ICSE syllabus is slightly tougher, in the sense that they teach various concepts earlier than in CBSE…Most ICSE students though, struggle with the languages πŸ™‚

Veena: Cannot conlude my Q/A with a definite answer. I feel strongly that elders need to gauge their children’s strengths and weaknesses prior to admitting them to any course, be it kindergarten or Professional Course.

Another issue is that the child’s complaints must be well received and not brushed off citing laziness or something else. We would get a lot of insight into what goes on inside the classroom by patiently and attentively listening to our children.

Good post… I do worry that children are being “fed” more than they can swallow in school… Whats wrong with the state syllabus? I studied it… so did one of my friends who went to IIT and is a tenured professor at IISc…

state or CBSE yes may be there is advantage in CBSE to some extent as they go structured way and their maths books I have gone though superb. but ensure kannada is taught even in CBSE?ICSE kannada language can be taken this you ensure otherwise kannadada kathe devare gathi mundinga pilige adarallu illi irva
elitejana yella makkalige kannada kalisade idre bahala kashta kashta
there are lot of people studying state syllabus but still make it big ultimately it is students committment and hardwork matters
I studied in state syllabus and upto 7th Kannada medium we have not heard of the CBSE at that time at all but now there are KV and CBSE schools in my place also. but I am seeing lot of private CBSE schools it is much to be desired
Mohan all the best for your son seat booi madira illa thumba kashta madilla ande vicharisi

Vijay, there is always an exception!! More prefrence to people who are in that common man layer πŸ™‚

people like us antha correct maadbidi, above commentalli.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: