Tag Archives: parents

Young parents put child’s education before retirement, health

With education becoming increasingly expensive, young parents are readjusting their lifestyles to ensure their child’s education. A whopping 97% of Bangalore’s young parents say they’re saving primarily for their children’s education.

This was a major finding of research on savings and investment practices by young parents in India by Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) for Aviva Life Insurance. While 32% parents across the country are avoiding shopping, only 6% of parents in Bangalore are avoiding unnecessary shopping.

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Also, 77% in the city opined that cost of education will be sky-high in the future, 62% think they should start savings immediately, and half the population of young parents fears they won’t be able to afford higher education for their children.

The economic slowdown has again played a great role in savings. More young parents are planning for their children and taking up child plan insurance schemes and looking for flexible premiums so that when the market bounces back and their incomes soar, they can pay higher premia. Read More >>

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Filed under Education India

Have you asked a question today?

Your Education is our World

Consider the questions that most adults ask children: What is your name? Which class are you studying in? What do you want to be when you grow up?

The answers are usually not important, because we ask these questions more to build a rapport with the child than to learn about her. What should one do if the answers are important? If our questions are stereotyped, can our answers be interesting? If children do not ask questions, can they find answers to the myriad things that demand answers?
As parents and teachers, we expect children to know the answers. Shouldn’t we then help them to ask the right questions?

“The skill of being able to ask the ‘right questions’ is far more important than giving the right answers,” says Kamala Mukunda, veteran teacher and author of the recently launched book What Did You Ask at School Today?  The book was launched at Reliance Timeout by Dr Shekar Sheshadri, Professor, at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, NIMHANS.

How the book was born

What Did You Ask at School Today? is a thought-provoking book on child learning published by Harper Collins Publishers India. After completing her Ph.D. in educational psychology from Syracuse University, Kamala Mukunda taught undergraduates for four years before returning to India. Ever since, she has been teaching at Centre For Learning, a non-formal school in the outskirts of Bangalore. As she pored over research papers on child psychology, and the psychology of learning, she started summarising each research document in short articles, sans the jargon. The book has its genesis in these well-written and well-received articles.

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Should studying in the mother tongue be made mandatory for students

Your Education is Our World

The medium of instruction in schools is a highly contentious issue and draws strong reaction in just about every state of India. Politicians, literary personalities and other people in the State often demand that education of a child be in the child’s mother tongue. Parents and even older children demand that the medium of instruction be English.

The battle on which language a child should be taught, especially in the primary school, in their formative years, is not restricted to India alone. A quick research will tell you it is a topic of heated debate among parents, politicians, policy makers, thinkers in many other countries of the world too.

In most cases the discussion is, the mother tongue verses English. Undoubtedly, English is the 2rd most spoken language in the world and many parents feel that if their children study in the vernacular, they are at a disadvantage at various competitive examinations, when traveling abroad for further studies and when they desire to participate at a wider global level.

Regional thinkers and promoters of vernacular languages feel that a child is deprived of their collective consciousness and cultural roots if they are taught in an alien language, like English. Who is right? Should one language be chosen over the other, should students be given a choice, have students who have been taught in English instead of their mother tongue gone further in life as opposed to their counterparts who studied in the vernacular? These are just some of the questions that need to be mulled over.

Either way, if we look at these questions carefully you will notice that they actually take us away from major issues that should actually be the focus of discussion.

With or without the ‘medium of instruction’ wrangle, it is a horrifying fact that the literacy rate in India is an abysmal 66%. One of the points in the common minimum program (CMP)of the UPA government during its 1st tenure was to  invest at least 6% of the country’s GDP in Education, (many poorer counties spend a much larger part of their GDP on education than India). India spends more on its defense forces than on the future of this country, which is education. Not only did the government fail to increase its budget on education in keeping with the CMP in the 1st tenure of the government, there seems to be no move to ensure it materializes in the second tenure of the government either.

Today of course the education minister of India is able to create a furor, which lasts for months, about making exams for X standard students optional, but what about the millions of children still in the villages of India, who don’t have teachers, who don’t have schools, whose potential continues to be wasted.

How, for example, does it matter if the medium of instruction is ones mother tongue but the content in the textbooks is still about the Second World War and Greek history, and is in no way linked to ones state and regional culture? What is the use of the education if it does not impart life skills? Does not teach about civic participation, health and hygiene? These are very real issues that are often ignored.

State and regional politicians and thinkers often experience fear that young people will be uprooted from their local culture and customs if they are taught in an alien language, but how empowering is this local language and culture?, is it helping create  a more equitable society or does it perpetuate a status quo that has been around for millennia? These and some other questions need to be debated.

Things on the education front can change only when the government invests more into education. Giving every child in this country an equal opportunity to access education. Giving each child and parent the freedom of choice about what medium to study in. While politician’s say students should study in their mother tongue, what is the state of government run schools? Can they be turned around to deliver quality education?, then of course parents would be more than happy to send their children to government schools and root themselves in their culture.

What does a rule like ‘mandatory studying in the mother tongue’ mean to a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, or any other state in India for that matter. Students come here from all over the country. The IT city has a huge BPO and KPO industry that services the US and Europe, how will young people join this highly lucrative industry if they not adequately proficient in English?

What are your thoughts on this?………. email us and let us know……….. we will be glad to start a discussion on this issue on our blog.

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Parents come together to fight education mafia in Mumbai

Your Education is Our World

Parents upset at schools charging high fees but not delivering on quality have joined hands to fight the system collectively. A rainbow coalition of parents and parent organisations are getting together to form the All India Federation of Parents’ Associations so that they can collectively battle irregularities in the system. The federation is in the process of getting itself registered with Mumbai’s charity commissioner.

“While commercialisation of education is rampant throughout the country, there is a growing criminalisation of the education system. We want to stop it before it spreads like cancer,” says Dr Avisha Kulkarni, the sole parent on the state government fee regulatory committee, who will be the general secretary of the federation. Incidentally, Kulkarni is involved in a legal battle against the management of her daughter’s school over fees.

To read full article click here

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Educate yourself to boost kids’ academic success

Your Education is Our World

Want your kids to perform well academically? Well, then make sure that you are educated enough, suggests a new study.

“If you want your kids to do well in school, then the amount of education you get yourself is important. This may mean that parents need to go back to school,” said Pamela Davis-Kean, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).

“A growing number of large-scale, long-term studies now show that increasing parental education beyond high school is strongly linked to increasing language ability in children.

“Even after controlling for parental income, marital status and a host of other factors, we find that the impact of parental education remains significant,” Davis-Kean added.

For the study researchers examined the long-term effects of parental education on children’s success in school and work, beginning when children are eight years old and extending until they are age 48.

They also examined how language skills and school readiness of three-year-olds are positively affected when mothers return to school.

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How to talk about the birds and bees without offending

Your Education is Our World

Discussing sex and sexuality, HIV/AIDS and responsible sexual behaviour with adolescents is a topic that makes most teachers and parents squeamish and also has community elders fuming. How should one get over the prudishness and disapproval and also make the topic interesting and interactive for the students?

Though adolescence education is a part of the school curriculum, it faces a major hindrance in the form of objections from some community elders and parents who feel it will promote licentiousness among the children, said experts.

Incorporating the “cultural sensitivities” of people into adolescence education is necessary, but at the same time it is a topic that should be discussed by educators who are liked and trusted by the students so that they can feel free to share their doubts and queries on the subject, said experts at a seminar organised by three UN bodies — UNFPA, Unicef and Unesco — here Friday.

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Help Your Child Get Organized For School!

Your Education is Our World

Disorganization is the greatest complaint made by teachers and ranks as a very close second complaint from parents (rivaling fights and arguments over homework).  Every teacher can tell stories about bright and intelligent students who are failing classes because they lack the organizational skills to keep track of their assignments.  School counselors and psychologists talk about the huge caseloads of students that are referred to them for suspected learning disabilities, only to discover that a large percentage of these students simply lack organizational skills.  It is a growing epidemic.

There are two root causes of disorganization: too much “stuff” and no routine or system for managing the things students really need.

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