April 21, 2009

Schools, schools everywhere, but...

Been hunting for schools for my daughter who finished Class 10. We started ideally, applying at Valley School, Bangalore, and Rishi Valley, Madanapalle (AP), both Krishnamurti schools, which would give her the continuity in the kind of ambience she grew up in. She made it to Valley School, but for some reason didn't want to go there. She is wait-listed at Rishi Valley, the school she is keen to go to, and to which all of us too would like to move, given a chance.

Of course, we applied for schools in Hyderabad. I could fill an encyclopedia with what I've been seeing.

In Hyderabad, there is an epidemic that makes everyone wants to join schools with names like Narayana, Chaitanya, Ramayya and Guru, which are inhuman training workshops for entrance to engineering/IIT. Classes are from 6 am to 6 pm, there is a rigorous testing system, parents are called and scolded if the child does not do well, and there are many more horror stories that people don't talk about. And what is surprising is that there's no dent in the numbers applying to these factories despite the recession.

Then we have the expensive, 'international' schools that cost the sky. Air-conditioned classrooms, AC buses, et al. On principle, NO.

Then there is the new craze...the International Baccalaureate(IB) course. The curriculum is fantastic and I would love for my daughter to do this course, but again, the course is very expensive since it seems to cater to people who want to study abroad after the 12th.

Some good schools are CBSC, but we want ISC; some are too far away; most have just concrete and no place to play; one school has a heritage building and fantastic grounds, but they say the 11 th and 12th students are into pubbing and parties, and that sounds scary.

The schools we prefer, are the ones that have been around for many many years; generations of children have passed out of these schools; they have established systems and can't go too wrong. But there is one hitch: all these schools have uniforms...even for students of 11th and 12th, which I find ridiculous. Having never worn a uniform ever, the daughter is going to have a tough time getting used to wearing one...but I guess it is a lesson in fitting into another world, I guess.

And then there are good schools that are either all-girls or all-boys...what's with them?

Realisation, all over again, at how lucky our children have been, to have gone to the sane school they have been going to. This is really like stepping into the big bad (uniformed) world outside.

Still praying for Rishi Valley...

April 10, 2009

Is this Bengaluru?

On my recent trip to Bengaluru, we got off and on our train from this station. It has a small-town charm, and I loved it. It also has small golf buggy-type vehicles to transport the old and handicapped.

An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...