A little about me
Hi, I’m a Russian girl living in India. If you are reading my blog for the 1st time, you may wonder how I happened to live here.
That was a romantic story that started long back when I met my future Indian husband in Internet, namely in www.orkut.com. Nowadays that site doesn’t exist anymore and all its users gradually shifted to Facebook. Nevertheless due to old Orkut my acquaintance with an online Indian friend resulted in creation of another international family.
Particularities of Indian school education
Now our family lives in Navi Mumbai and we have a small son who joined school in April this year. Notice I don’t say “kindergarten” as here, in India, children go directly to school from very early age like 2-3 years old. And they do start seriously learning alphabet, counting and writing. In my son’s school they even do not play any games any longer.
They also do singing, dancing, drawing and crafts. Indians and Indian schools as I noticed pay much attention to such arts like drawing, singing and dancing. Indeed a lot of Indians can sing, dance and draw well.
Discipline, competition and learning of facts instead of freedom, encouraging and creativity
In general Indian school education is based on learning all the facts and theories by heart without teaching a student to really understand and speculate about things. I do not say about every teacher and every school. Probably there are exceptions but they are just exceptions. According to my 4-year old son they just repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat and he complains that it’s really boring. I can also see the children of my neighbours, how they are, what they study and how.
Me, as a mother, I’ve been teaching my son from about 1 year old to be independent, to analyze and understand things, to speculate why this or that, to make his own choice and decisions. And I see my son is different from the other children here, and it makes me happy.
Most schools motivate children to study via competition. They encourage them to compete with each other from early age. As I can see from my son this may be the most frustrating for 4 year olds. A couple of times my son got upset because he didn’t get the prize from the teacher for making or doing smth at the lesson.
I saw myself during the sports day at the school and also during the celebration of the New Year in our society that they congratulate only the winners and don’t pay any attention to the others even when they are very small like 2-5 year old. No encouraging.
Discipline is greatly appreciated in Indian schools and disciplinary methods and strict attitude is sometimes implemented even for pre-schoolers aged from 2 to 6 years old. Literally this leads to treating the smallest children as adults. As far as I learnt from other parents this attitude is not everywhere but some parents do prefer strong discipline for their small children.
Such type of attitude towards education is a result of a high level of competition on the labor market of such a densely populated country like India with its 1 billion people!
1st form in India starts from 5-6 years old
Indian 1st standard which corresponds to European and Russian 1st form starts at the age of 5 compared to Russian 7! And a full course of secondary school lasts for 12 years while in Russia it is 11.
Each new study year in India starts not in September like in Russia and Europe. It starts either from April or from June depending on the region. And this difference is based on the climate difference.
School Vacation in India lasts only for 1-2 months
For example, in Kerala and in an Indian city Thane each new year starts from June while in Mumbai – from April. Vacation takes place in May or April-May as those are the hottest months of the year especially May. As you can see full vacation period lasts only for 1 or 2 months unlike 3 months in Russia and Europe. It’s because of a great number of festivals in India during which children also get extra vocation.
There are biggest festival vacations like Diwali vocation, Christmas+New Year, Ganesh, Onam, Vishnu (in Kerala), Navratri+Desera and some others (in every state there may be some 1-2 local significant festivals). For them children get about 1-2 weeks vocation. In addition 1 day vocation is given for quite a long list of other national and religious festivals.
Primary education in India
In the school where Aden, my son, studies, the subjects are taught solely in English. And this is like that in many schools here as English is a must for a highly paid job in future.
There are also schools teaching in local languages such as Marathi here in Mumbai, or Malayalam in Kerala. But for those children who study in a local language it may be more difficult to enter a college later on.
Sometimes at schools they arrange special days like “A clean day” when the children are to be dressed as soap or a toothpaste. And sometimes they arrange Festival days like “Garba day” when children celebrate a current Indian festival, dance, read poems from the stage, etc. Our school also has fancy dress competition days from time to time.
School uniform in India
Daily all the students are obliged to wear school uniform. Uniform differs from school to school. At Aden’s school they also allow to wear party clothes to a student in the day when he or she has his/her birthday. Here are a few examples of Indian school uniforms.
In Indian schools they estimate the results of tests and exams in percents. To be considered a good student one must have at least more than 80% in every subject. Many students especially those of private schools often show even better results close to 100% as being a brilliant student is prestigious and honorable in India. Moreover competition among the students in this high density of population like in India is extremely high. So everybody tries their best.