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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Laughing all day

With reference to what has been happening in connection with St. Xavier's School, Durgapur, as has been flashed on so many TV channels in West Bengal all day today since the fracas this morning (a first for the school, and I'm sure they are all very proud of it!), I must put on record that I have been laughing all day. They had it coming: I told them so back in 2000, and then quit because they wouldn't listen, they all thought they were much cleverer and more worldly-wise than I am! It's always good to feel vindicated, though it sometimes takes ages... in this context, I should ask all my readers to read, or re-read, what I wrote here quite some time ago. Somebody objected to my using the word 'cesspool' then (see the comments). I hope, if that person has been following the news, s/he is now convinced that I was justified!


Sumitha Kurien said...

After reading this post, I was very curious to find out why the "rival school" was in news...and I was quite shocked when I got to know the reason! I'm sure the school would make it to the Guiness Book albeit for a very wrong reason.

And as usual I am left wondering about the human nature of interfering in everything under the sun as far as others are concerned. Just because somebody's a school principal, he cannot become so high handed as to suspend so many kids for no fault of theirs! This is like the joke where the foolish man searched for a lost ring under the lamp post, though he knew that he had lost it on the other side of the road that was unlit.

I do hope for the childrens' sake that a rational decision is taken and that the suspensions are withdrawn.


Asima said...

Oh my God! This is absolutely hilarious! I could read the news item only a few minutes ago and cannot stop laughing after that. I wont go into the details of finding out who is at fault and all that but to all the seven hundred kids who got suspended- Enjoy your break!

Aakash said...

Dear Sir,

At the cost of sounding nasty towards the 'victims' (the students and the principal, I mean), I guess they had it coming.

Why is it that most parents (why parents, even we) are stupid (pardon my use of the word) enough to thrust their children into doing what 'everybody' is doing?

Out of context, to quote one of Kaminey's protagonists, we are always on the lookout for the 'chota' short cut.

My father doesn't read blogs. But still, I'll use this space to say sorry to him. He wanted me to intern at garage for a month during my summer holidays. I refused, thinking it would be such a waste of time and that the work was not for me. Now, I regret it. I feel I wouldn't have been a lesser human being if I had taken it up. Sometimes the 'education' we seek closes our minds to a lot of other things. And I'd say thank you to him for not forcing me into it, but letting me make my decision.

I'm not sure, how much sense I've made Sir, but this is what I had to say about the incidents.

With regards,


P.S. To the other readers of the blog, I'd suggest Noshir Antia's (one of India's first plastic surgeons) autobiography. He changed his school because his teacher partial towards another student. That was as early as Class 2. I cannot put it up for copyright issues. But I'm sure He would have loved all of you to read it.

Subhasis Graham Mukherjee said...

Looks like those who didn't put their feet in two boats are going to see an obscene increase in business (this term is now cool for even the noblest of professions like education and health care)

there's a clear and obvious 'conflict of interest' case in teachers of educational institutions giving private tuition to students enrolled in a program with them. Unfortunately, like all situations everywhere where lots of money is involved - the pathetic effort to rectify is farcical and a big joke. Wouldn't anyone feel like a retard if they had to blow the whistle after more than 50% are into it?

for most of those who read the news, the first reaction must have been LOL .. Suvro's was LAD.
Then a bit of thinking and debating ended in a frustrating - Whatever! finally, the issue of teachers not being held accountable for this and parents revolting (what's next? Parents Union?) makes one feel retarded ...


Sumitha Kurien said...

Tuitions are a fad rather than an absolute necessity, for many students in Durgapur...I learnt this during my school going years, when I was perceived as some kind of alien among my peers, for refusing to go for tuitions.

Having said that, I also know many children who are forced to attend tuition classes due to circumstances; and for such kids, being suspended by the school authorities for no fault of theirs would be baffling (to their young minds) to say the least.

Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvro da,

This is tragic but I feel something like this was waiting to happen. However I am not sure whether anything would change for the better after this whole episode. The psychotic drive towards private tuitions in Durgapur was unbearable to me and I literally ran away from that place in class eleven. At that time suddenly, I felt I could not relate to any of my friends there. I am grateful that my parents understood me. I have never been successful in adjusting in a private tuition scenario because I always thought those are run like factories.

However, in this particular issue I don't understand what is the point of punishing the students. If someone who deserved to get punished were the teachers and the parents. I wonder how many students of that age take their own decisions anyway..!

Education system in India is not at all student friendly. When the HR Minister decides that getting into IIT would require higher marks in Board exams, the entire nation seem to discuss the fate of the coaching schools but not whether the quality of students would be better or worse or whether poor students would be able to get into IIT or not etc.

I wonder why we have so much of primitive problems still existing.


Amit parag said...

Leaving apart the fact that hopping to tuition(though I think that many students follow this trend just because others do it,to quote Joker,"Madness is like gravity-all it needs is a little push" ) has become kind of fashion,I cannot find much reason to put the blame solely on parents , or on teachers, or on students.There are always some inept teachers at any school so the student needs extra guidance.The parents some times force their meek wards to go to as many as 10 tuition (I know a batch mate who had ten tuitions).And even sometimes students get themselves tuition at some particular schoolteacher's to score good marks in school examinations( again, in my batch there was a boy who used to score below 60 in biology ,suddenly had his marks skyrocketed to 98 after he began taking tuition at biology mam's).
And there are teachers who teach calculus to boys onwards from class 7.This is not a hyperbole but a fact.In fact the teacher concerned lives near St. Xavier's school.

An i agree with Tanmoy da about the IIT and the Board new twist,though it does mean the opening of a few more coaching classes which provide exclusive coaching for CBSE.
But the blame should not be put only on coaching classes.For one fact ,they do not hand us the JEE question paper but nearly powder our brains to dust.

Neel said...

I sometimes wonder where the passion in teaching has gone. There were teachers once upon a time. Now there are persons who conduct classes. Once upon a time, classes were held so that the child may think. Now it is that he may not. Cannot but help think of Pink Floyd's "Wall".

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I don't know who you are, Neel, but many thanks for commenting. I ask you to think about the plight, the daily suffering, of someone who tries heart and soul to be a true teacher in this day and age.

Neel said...

Murder in essence is a simple task of annihilation of an entity. But what about an idea ? What about the little children who come to school with minds eager to learn ? Why should it be that in the name of teaching, photocopy of the teachers' shortcomings get reproduced through generations ? The moment I touch my old Wren & Martin, I really wonder whether I should follow that or be a mere bystander to the rigmarole of English literature that is nothing more than using Control C and Control V shortcuts from the textbook to some obscure parts of a damaged brain. When a poet writes a poem, the poem does no more belong to him. It is for the world to view and interpret. And that's where beauty lies . A teacher sparks that thought in a child - to look with wonder at the world and appreciate the thoughts that had come before his existence.
I understand the pain that a teacher has to bear.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I could say lots of things regarding all that is bad about private tuitions as they are conducted in this country, but everybody please note: the issue here was not private tuitions per se but the absolutely indefensible malpractice of schoolteachers offering private tuition to those whom they are supposed to teach in school. If they teach well in school, nobody would need to attend their tuitions anyway, and if they cannot teach, isn't it very obvious why they go to those so-called tuitions?

Saikat Mohan said...

Suvro-da, We would all like to read how your "coaching" was different from "private tuitions" that the current bunch of "teachers" at Xavier's provide. To the untrained eye, you are guilty of the same "misdeeds" as the present day teachers at Xavier's are. The students you taught in the morning were the same ones who came to you in the evening to learn for a fee (and who your detractors call as "lackeys" or "sycophants"). You should clear the air.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

To those who had asked what would follow after that melee at the school, I had predicted that nothing substantial would change; they would do their best to hush up the whole thing as if it had never happened, and then carried on with business as usual. That, it seems, is precisely what has happened...