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Friday, June 27, 2014

Good Morning Continues…


 “How I learnt learning.”

                Good Morning Continues…

                    continued from...How I learnt Learning...
“Good Morning” has yet another aspect. BAGS! We call them School bags. Bags-to-help carry books. But now, books aren’t the only load. There are plenty of other things school demands children to carry.
           Nine hours of school require lunch, breakfast and snacks, a water bottle to add to the burden. The art period requires- a portfolio, sheets, paints, bowls, brushes, and all the other assortment of things required. Exams call for exam pads (the continuous test pattern makes it worse). On submission days files laden with billions of sheets and paper are required. The rainy season calls for raincoats and umbrellas; the winter demands sweaters. Once in the classroom; they aren’t required at all and eventually dumped into the bag. And of course!!! The Books!!! How could we forget them? They are last on the list, yet make up most of the bags’ weight. The books, too are divided- diaries, notebooks, textbooks, reference books, workbooks, rough books, rapid reader books, library books and what not. Ultimately, an eight year old 20 kilogram child ends up lifting a 5 kilogram bag, or a few grams here and there. The higher the standard, more the cargo! Is it school a child is going to or a war?
       Is that much amount of material TRULY required? Is it effective? I had seen a number of my peers bent double with weight of the hefty bag, they all carried. I, myself, have had red marks on my shoulders. My back ached when I picked that load of a thing. On top of that there was a long march to the classroom; from the bus to entry, entry to stairs, and then five floors to climb. A lift was there- but only one, and that too not in use for everyone. No wonder the teachers carrying just a purse went in the lift and we, the students with almost 10 kilos on our back and hands, were supposed to walk up the stairs!!!!

       A student of grade six fell off her balcony of her house and died a painful death. The cause was said to be the bulky school bag she was lifting. She lost her balance due to the bulk and fell. It was the headlines of one of the English newspapers. There was a lot of discussion over this. THEY said, “You should carry only what is required.” Yes!!! We carry only what is required, but if there are a total of nine periods and all books have to be carried, there is no option at all. What can a child do if he is given remarks for not bringing a book and falls down a balcony if he carries all?
However, within a day or two it was forgotten by the world. But not forgotten by the girl’s family members- they grieve, curse and regret and that’s all.
           I again questioned myself. Is a school worth the child’s accident? Is a school bag worth my backaches and shoulder bruises? Is a school bag worth climbing so many steps and gaining nothing but pain? Then what is it worth of? Education! A child’s knowledge and intelligence isn’t affected by the weight of his school bag. Even if the child doesn’t carry bags and keeps them at a locker in school, does it matter at all?
                    Then why the school bag, or why the daily stress of school; to create headlines in a newspaper?? To create cold and hot packs, applying them on the night before school and carrying the same weight again? Just because all are doing so! Just with the thought that the girl was careless and that one should install grills on a balcony! Are we willing to compromise health and an extra ordinary child with an ordinary school bag? Should we?
       What is school? A daily dose of weight lifting and backaches or a temple of knowledge!
       Why can’t there be individual lockers at school? If one can waste money over annual days and sports days why can’t one spend over lockers- which will be better ultimately for the students? If there are lockers: books, materials and other stationery can be kept there.
       Why carry bags when they are going to be back with the same books and material? Why ask for art materials when hardly some of them are to be used? Why ask for reference books, notebooks which are hardly used? Why the other reference and workbooks for formality? Why all this when it is nothing but an additional load?
             Maximum chapters are left untouched. Only one -fourth of the notebooks are used. The rest is left blank. Reference books and exercise book, as I said earlier are mere formalities. Scrap books, graph-books and science journals are used only once or twice a year. At the end of the year they are just wasted- and a new one has to be bought every year.  Even textbooks are left incomplete with a number of chapters incomplete.
What about chapters 6, 7, 8, 10???
 A really thinking mind brought an idea called- notepad as an alternative to notebooks- assuming that notepads might decrease the weight. The idea is brilliant, but lack of execution is the culprit for the failure of this system.
      The notepad sheets, once torn out of the notepad, become quite a mess. They just pile up and clog drawers and make the bags look untidy. The sheets become rockets, cricket balls and all sorts of material for fun. The papers are seen lying in the corridors, classrooms and form a heap in all classrooms. These heaps, if brought together from all classes of all grades, from all schools following this system (the collection throughout the year) could easily engulf Mount Everest in a sea of paper.

           The scrap dealers benefit a lot from this entire waste of paper. You can easily find your notes {if you need to submit them} from the nearest shopkeeper who sells eggs, or a sandwich nook.
        There is yet a creative mind to think of a solution to notebooks and their weight. So sad, schools send out no creative children.
                                Byes, Cries and Buses…
After listening to the byes and cries of the children, I, with my younger brother, set out for school. It was the bus we used for travel. However, nearly once a week at an average, we would miss the bus. This is because of the sulking, that I discussed in the beginning of this series: “How I Learnt Learning”. The boredom that was seen in the eyes of each child was evidently the failure of a school to develop interest in learning. When a child is seen happier in the bus while coming back, and a frown while going to school is evidently the failure of the school!
               Some children, the younger ones usually expressed it by crying. They would cling to the shirt of their dad or the dupatta of their mom, while the bus attendant pulled the child into the bus. Waiting for the bus, with the bulky bag on our shoulders, the throbbing pain and waiting for the bus to come- not with the eagerness of reaching school but with the motive to sit and relax our shoulders for a while.
          As each stop passed by, one could see a mother putting a lunch box in her son’s bag. A girl would be seen running towards her building gate, as if in a sprint. A father would come on a scooter and park ahead the bus. A child would get off and run into the bus. A young boy would be running, and would slip into a puddle.  There was a sense of hurry and haste, in each child, each parent and each bus attendant.
What I couldn’t understand was the need to create a crowd in the bus! Why were children being pushed and collected like a shepherd collects herds?  Why can’t there be two buses more? It wouldn’t do much harm. When one pays for the bus service it is the school’s responsibility to provide good service. The children can’t be crowded in a bus….period….
        Here a little questioning was done by my mother. Do I want to send my children in a bus, where they are being treated nothing less than load carrying mules? Am I willing to do this because there are 1894 more mothers willing to do it?
            I too, decompressed. Is it necessary to go in a crowded bus, where carbon dioxide levels are higher than the oxygen levels? 

      Is it important to go in a crowded bus to earn knowledge? Do I want be one among them, a student like everyone else or something extra ordinary, that shines apart? I went for the latter one and here I am:
The only one probably, from that crowded bus, who writes a blog, who learns on his own- to format and customize his blog. And I am happy to be the one not among the crowd. Yet, I am one among all bloggers in this huge world, but I have a long life ahead of me, yet to stand apart…Make my own identity find myself. I have chosen to get off that crowded bus and search the road less travelled.
To be Continued...
From The Same Series...

                                                                                              Written By:  The one Who learned for 11                                                                                                               years and unlearned in just a few                                                                                                                 months.                                                                                                                          

 Thank You Shahaan for ur assistance with the drawings.

Good Morning is now over, but the day in school did go ahead. Hang on to read the rest of the school day. bcoz: How I Learnt Learning Continues...

©Shahen Pardiwala. All Rights Reserved.

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