Globally, Indian parents spend maximum time personally, helping out their children academically. According to Varkey Foundation’s Global Parents’ Survey, 62% Indian parents spend seven or more hours a week helping their children with their education. It is commendable that parents are devoting so much time on revision, home assignments and projects, but where does this devotion stem from? Is it out of concern about the quality of education which our children get in schools? Or is it out of peer pressure to ensure their excellence in performance, even if it is a matter of project and homework? We also need to evaluate what kind of result our so-called help is bearing for our children. Are they even learning anything? Or is it just about top grades?
It is this increasing competition among parents themselves, that pushes many of them to take command of their children’s studies at home.
Parents eagerly exchange information on syllabus completion, teaching quality and of course the scholastic achievements of their kids. They then proceed to burden their kids, with accomplishments of other children. It’s all about accomplishments and grades for us. We don’t care about what the children are learning, if they are ahead of other kids. Numerous parents help out with assignments and homework, simply because they don’t want their wards to score low. We are so afraid of failures even in petty assignments and homework, that we refuse that our children learn from their own mistakes, and end up doing more harm than good.
Where our education system is concerned, we are fine with it, as long as it gives our kids top grades. The same survey says that 72 % Indian parents think that the standard of education has improved in India in last ten years. But most parents start finding faults in the system if their child’s grades begin to falter.
Parents in South Korea (43%) and Japan (60%), two countries which excel in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings, are among the least confident in the quality of their child’s teaching. They have a rational approach towards education, which prompts them to ask valid questions, which us Indian parents fail to ask.
The Quantity of time spent says nothing about the quality.
In countries like Japan, South Korea and Finland, which have high PISA scores, most parents barely have to devote time to help out on school work. It isn’t because they are negligent or lazy, but because their education system ensures that children learn at school.
What is the point of spending nearly six hours on schooling, six days a week, if you have to spend time learning the same stuff at home again?
Most Indian parents bury their heads in textbooks and endless assignments and projects, without questioning the need for it. After all the commute and study time spent at a school and home, why does it not bother us, that our children barely have any time left for recreation?
If we are helping our child to excel in rote learning or getting five stars in every school project, then we ourselves are to be blamed if they come out of school with top marks but poor learning.
Home assignments are not given so that parents could wage a war of creativity on each other, even at elementary school level. Schools give projects and homework so that a child can continue learning even at home. Though it becomes utterly unnecessary when you have a learning-based education system. Thus if helping with school work only means doing assignments for the children, or breath down their necks till they are able to memories the entire syllabus, then our efforts are as good as pushing against a wall.
Picture credit: digitallearning.eletsonline
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.