Thursday, 30 July 2009

Brains of India

Something I have noticed here is that school is taken very, very seriously, even for three year olds. I'm not mocking this - education is more than vital, it's a fundamental right. But I'm just surprised at how early they get the kids going here. I can't claim to know much about India's educational system or job market, but what is apparent is that positions here are very, very competitive and whilst the recession may not have hit India as hard as many other countries, unemployment here is still a big problem. Deepa's husband speaks six languages for goodness sake - six - and he cannot find a job after being made redundant from his IT firm. He has been searching for six months now and is prepared to take absolutely anything. The point I'm making is that education - and a good education - is more important than ever here. Everywhere we go we see centres for children claiming to help hone childrens memories and turn them into little geniuses. School is attended six days a week and even extremely young children are given a ton of homework. I'm always shocked at the weight of the huge school bags I see tiny tots struggling under on their way home from school. What's more, India is about to hit the billion population mark and there aren't enough jobs to go round, that's for sure.

So I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised when the first question often asked of Maya is Where are you studying? Or Which standard (class) are you studying in? Maya is flummoxed by this question and more often than not ignores it. All she cares about as far as school goes is she gets given chocolates there so it really must be a good place to go. But yesterday all the parents at Maya's school (this is what everyone calls it but in English terms it's really just a nursery) were given a huge bag of books that we're required to cover over the weekend. Flicking through the books I was really surprised to see that as of next week, amongst other things she'll be doing some quite tricky maths and writing. She's only just three!! Maybe this is what she'd be doing at nursery back in the UK - but I think not. I wonder what she'll make of it all. She's a bookworm already but as for taking to maths exercises - well, the proof will be in the pudding but I dearly hope she inherits her father's genes when it comes to arithmetic rather than her mother's otherwise the poor girl is destined to be forever a mathematical dunce.

1 comment:

  1. I think they do make the kids do some early numbers and letters work here - certainly, one of my friends who has very small children in nursery says so. I guess at least that means if you have an Einstein or some other form of child prodigy, you will discover it early ....!