Apr 5, 2011

The 'Principal' factor - Part 2

A while ago, I had written a post commenting on our education system and talking about some incidents that happened at a college in Mumbai, about a principal who had no principles.

(The Post - http://haemlet.blogspot.com/2010/12/principal-factor.html)

Time has passed, but nothing has improved at that college. In fact things have gotten worse. The principal is now even more of a dictator, and his only aim seems to be to establish his power. The way I see it, his masochistic attitude is gaining momentum due to the fear that parents and students are harboring. They are willing to bow down and accept his weird terms and demands, feed his ego and give him the satisfaction of getting everything he wants the way he wants it.

What has he done now you ask?

Well, even in this tough competitive age, tell me, how many students in a class can possibly fail, all together? 10? 15? Can you imagine 65 students in a class of 80, all failing? That is exactly what has happened.

The reason? It is given to be 'incomplete projects'. They have achieved less than the required marks in a practical subject and as a result they will not be allowed to appear for the theory exams and have in all technicality 'failed'.

This may be a stunt to show students that they need to be serious about their studies and give them a jolt. But my point is, what is the use of a stunt that doesn't just mess with a student's future, but can lead to a lot of mental stress also? Imagine what a student may do on hearing the news of his/her failure? Is it not putting the life of the student in jeopardy too? Is it not harassment? At a time when everyone is talking about reducing pressure and stress on students, here is one 'Marshall' who is championing the opposite cause and in fact piling the stress on the parents too.

When asked to complain to the Mumbai University, or approach some council, or the media, firstly, the students or parents did not know who to approach. The university website is the most unfriendly site I have ever visited. It just leads you nowhere. How does one get in touch with the right authorities? For that matter, who ARE the right authorities to approach in such a scenario?

Secondly, the parents are afraid to take any step. The kids have two more years left in that college and they are not sure if doing something, if protesting will actually give a solution, or will just make things worse. They are not willing to risk the future of their kids. Because from what has been seen in the past, the principal believes he is the ultimate authority, and can go to all lengths, from blackmail to pressure and more to get the students and parents to do what he says. This time, he has made them sign a letter, that has the parents admit that it is their kid's fault and that the kid has not completed the project. In other words, parents are forced to admit that their own child is incompetent? And for what? To massage the principal's ego? What use does this exercise have?

And I found out that, despite signing the letter, despite giving in to the princi, more than 70% of the students in that class were not allowed to appear for the exams this April. They will have to appear in October and that in itself has a lot of complications. Some even have reason to believe that the marking system is faulty and they are sure they have passed but are not given fair and just grades. I cannot believe that this is happening in a democracy and no one, no one is doing anything to curb it.

And even if I give the princi all benefit of doubt, if I agree that the students were not up to the mark, did not have enough attendance or whatever the reason given. Still, if more than 85% of your class is failing, isn't it a reflection on your teaching methods then? Wouldn't this in fact be a shameful thing for your college, your teaching system and your education? And instead of scaring the students into getting suppressed, and bow down to your rules and will, shouldn't you offer guidance and help and give them a way to improve and score better?

I mean, if you really want the students to work harder, make the marking system more difficult, but make it fair. Teach them the right way to do things. Be strict, but also be someone they respect and can learn from. That will get your college a better passing average than all this. That will also save a lot of lives and futures and give your college a strong alumni.

But if people understood this, the world would be a better place right?

Disclaimer: The views in this post are entirely mine. No student or parent is related to this. I have refrained from naming the college or any person to respect the privacy of those involved. But I do hope, someone comes forward.

No comments: