Schooling in India

On Anirud’s first day at his new school, we were a lot nervous of so many factors. Everything was new to him. New surroundings, new teachers, new culture (in terms of school) etc. In UK, he was used to being dropped at the school gate by one of us, but here he will have to travel in a school van and we had million questions on our mind like

– Will he know which class to go to on his own?
– Would he ask around for help?
– Would people be able to understand him?
– Would he find the new environment daunting?
– Would he be frightened if he happens to see any teachers with a scale on their hand? (Few days before we departed UK he asked me if the teachers in India beat pupils with woodden scale and I assured him that he won’t be touched!)

My wife and my dad took an auto and went up to the school to ensure that everything was alright and it was. We don’t know what happened after he boarded the school van in the morning, but he came back home very happily.

Unlike in UK where he was not given any written home work, he was given a page to write in English and Hindi apart from few sums in Maths. The home work, as such will not take much time to do. In all, it should only take about 30~45 minutes of a child’s time, but then Anirud doesn’t know Hindi. Although the teaching of second language officially starts only in Class 1, in his school they have started teaching Hindi from UKG onwards. Although they haven’t got very far, the other children in his class have had the advantage of learning the language for a year while he has to start afresh. While we are confident of his abilities to learn the language, we were worried that the school and importantly Anirud himself should be patient enough until he gets up to speed.

Contrary to what we thought, his class teacher and Hindi teacher have asked us not to rush him into anything. They have said that they want to give enough time for him to settle down and also that it is perfectly ok for him to take few months before he gets strengthened in the basics of the language. We are sending him for Hindi tuition as well and hopefully that should get him to the right level in few months or so.

Although we don’t get to visit the school each day as we used to do in UK, communication channel between the school and the parents are really excellent. Every single day, there is a note from the teacher regarding something or the other through the school diary. Now that he has been attending this new school for more than two weeks, we are quite pleased with the level of homework that is being given, the mode of Parent-Teacher communication, the volume of books he has to carry (just about 4 notebooks) etc. I should say that the schools in India and their staff have come a long way since my days at school.

Other than Hindi and the environment itself, there hasn’t been a drastic change for him w.r.t. the school. It looks like the other children in the class feel that he is talking with an ‘American’ accent and at times, even his teacher couldn’t follow what he says. In my opinion, these are really teething issues and I am sure he will get over these very soon.

At the same time, he is also thrilled that he is being taught Yoga and Taekwondo at school. The concept of having various sections for the same class, travelling in a school bus, having interestingly named sessions like SUPW (Socially Useful Productive Work), new set of friends etc are some of the things that makes school life interesting for him.

Last night I asked him as how much he likes his new school for which he said, “Infinity %”. Let me say a quiet prayer that it should continue to stay that way forever.