How parents defeat their children


My last blog was about how parents can spoil the future of their children.   I’m continuing the same theme today too because I met another teacher today who had a very interesting episode to narrate.

A student of his had failed in an exam in class eleven by just five marks.  He tried his best to add some marks here and there as the Board of Exams recommends in order to make the student pass somehow.  He simply couldn’t add any mark anywhere because he had already been too generous.  He gave me an example of an answer of the student in question.

The question was to write a report on the Environment Week celebration in a school.  The student’s answer was:

The envaronmant weak was inogorated by Pandit.  Pandit spoked a shaloka on  envaronmant.  On the sekand day Pandit spoked a shaloka.  It continued for five days.  On the sexth day Pandit spoked a shaloka on evaronmant.

The teacher had given 3 marks out of 10 for that answer.  One mark for Format, One for Content, and Half each for Fluency and Accuracy.  The teacher was following the rules given by the Board.  With all those marks the student couldn’t get anywhere beyond 28 out of 100.  So the teacher left it at that.

The parent went to the school with a complaint.  According to the Delhi Govt’s ruling, claimed the parent, a student can be given 10 marks in grace in different subjects, not more than 5 in each subject, provided the student has secured a minimum of 25 percent in the subject concerned.  Are you confused with the 25% and the maximum of 5 grace marks?  Well, don’t be.  The education system in Delhi is not any better than the political system. 

The parent got his son promoted wielding the Delhi govt’s ruling which he presented in the school.  The teacher failed. 

The teacher said: “I only wanted this boy to take his studies a little more seriously.  I would have promoted him with a re-test but making the point clear that the boy had to do a lot of hard work if he has to really succeed…  His father spoilt it all.”

The father must have gone home and said to the boy that he had got him promoted with the help of the govt.  The govt [read politics] is always there to help.

Does politics help?

Or does Politics destroy?

The answer depends on what you want your son/daughter to become.


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10 Responses to How parents defeat their children

  1. I’ve heard similar stories from teachers in education all over – particularly in North America were I am. The system I teach in does not allow for teachers to award a mark of zero. In fact – if a student were to show up the last day of class with every single one of their assignments, you would have to mark all of them before the deadline, and can’t take marks off for late-ness.

    • matheikal says:

      That’s interesting coming from another area of the world. Just as your comment came in I ended a phone conversation with another teacher friend. He told me how he is forced to tolerate massive cheating in exams. He tried allowing students to copy from textbooks, but they preferred to copy from newspapers as the latter would help them score more marks!

  2. Aditi says:

    This blog made for a very interesting reading. Politics destroys, undoubtedly. My sister is a West Bengal Govt school teacher, she shared very simlar experience. Even before the RTE Act made pass and fail irrelevant till class VII, WB Board of Secondary Education prescribed pass at 20% and as long as a student failed in up to 2 subjects (meaning scored even less than 20% ) the student must be promoted to the next class.

    So the tag of ‘educated’ up to Class VII / X whatever is also just an electoral freebie on demand!!!

  3. matheikal says:

    Aditi, I often wonder whether we are in the process of creating a few future generations of ignorant people. Even that may have a political motive, you know. The competion will become easier for the few who do take studies seriously in spite of all the generosity in the system.

  4. Anup says:

    reading ‘substitute teachers’ comment, you may be tempted to think the school system in US is as screwed up as that in India. Although what she states is true – from schools to universities the grading system is often very liberal and there is an absurd emphasis on maintaining the self confidence of the student – the system does work better than you would imagine. My kid goes to a public school system and the quaterly reports we get I think are very objective and spot on in highlighting her weak areas. And there is no ranking or pass/fail system. at the end of the year the student only gets a rating from standardized tests. If the student want to enter a university, the SAT scores will tell if he/she is fit for higher studies. It is not perfect by any means.

    The teaching philosophy is different here but the teachers do try to implement it sincerely. The difference I see in India, is that we seem to be moving to a US style system, but as with all things we Indians are always looking to game the system first. That I see is a fundemental problem with us.Corruption I sometimes feel it is just the basic nature of us Indians. In a democracy the people get the politicians & goverment they ask for.

    • matheikal says:

      Thanks, Anup, for your valuable input.
      First of all, I don’t think ‘substitute teacher’s’ comment implied anything like the whole US education system is “screwed up.” She merely stated that no student can be marked zero and that there’s a lot of load placed on the teachers by insisting that even the last minute submission of a whole series of assignments at the last minute should be accepted with deference to the student. Contrast the object of the defrence: earlier it used to be the teacher and now it’s the student. This overemphasis placed on the student may cause a lot of harm in the long run and I agree with the American teacher.

      I also agree wholeheartedly with you that corruption is a way of life in India. These days I’m evaluating the English answer scripts of a particular Board in India. There’s a question to write an article related to corruption. Every student invariably has mentioned that corruption has affected every walk of life in India. Indians seek short-cuts everywhere.

      I have a friend who works as an engineer in Ireland. He admires the transparency in the political system there though he admits that there’s a lot of laziness among the Irish. But there’s no corruption like in India, he says.

      Corruption is our way, the Indian way, I think of getting on in life. There’s more Indian money in the Swiss banks than in the Indian banks!

  5. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    This may not have been the fiirst time the father got his ward “passed” to the next class. It is all in the tradition!

    Raghuram Ekambaram

  6. benny says:

    why don’t you forecast the future of such erudite brats.

    • matheikal says:

      Interestingly, Benny, many of such students turn out to be more ‘successful’ than the hard workers! One reason is that they learn the crooked paths of success easily. Secondly, their parents support them in the crooked short-cuts to success.

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