The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This story starts with a mom and a kid. It begins as a family story. Mom lost her loving husband couple months ago, so did the kid – a caring father. It all happened in 7 days, in front of their eyes. The Shock from which they couldn’t recover.

Few weeks later..

Out of the blue, one fine morning – mom told the kid, she wants to go to English classes. She wanted to read, write and speak English. Kid couldn’t understand what’s happening with her. She enrolled and started going to the classes as well. Few took by surprise, few thought she is crazy. She is none other than my mother, 51 years old.

I initially thought, she wanted to keep herself busy but as weeks passed I understood this is something she wanted to do since I started my schooling. She is super passionate, never missing the class and practicing her learning all through the day. I can see learning English got mixed in her blood, skin, brain, breath and everything like Baasha Bhai (Super Star Rajinikanth’s cult classic don/gangster movie character), at this age. Everyone around us started talking about her dedication and passion in English at the age of 51.

Early this week at dawn (around 6am), I was driving home dropping my wife to catch her office van, hearing Jubal in the morning in Seattle’s famous FM station. Jubal shared a question (which I don’t remember, as I was in fused state early morning) and asked for top 5 reasons. One of his co-host guessed, high school dropout. Suddenly my mom came to my mind, she studied till tenth grade but she don’t know to read English. I started digging deep, in spite of English being her second language till tenth she is not able to read, write or speak English. Whose fault? Definitely not the student’s but our pathetic education system’s fault.

Yesterday, I was talking to my mom – she brought up about her English learning, spelled letters of a word and asked me how to pronounce? I said enclave. She stopped and corrected me that it needs to be pronounced as “aNG,klav”. She asked me its definition and to the embarrassment, I don’t know. She gave the correct definition and spelled other word, its entrepreneur – thank god at least I know that. She asked same words to my cousins who are doing engineering, they don’t know both words. It doesn’t stop, to make it worse my cousins couldn’t even read the word entrepreneur. This is when I decided our education system is not flawed but completely broken.

I believe current education model was product of Industrial Revolution, that’s why a batch of students go into a classroom, listen to lecture and move to next grade whether they are prepared or not. Are we products of a factory wielding? As a result, we have 10th grade student who can’t read, write or speak second language.

No two brains are same. Every person is unique. Have we ever saw 2 identical persons? Then how is it expected in education with a one-size-fits-all model? We must not doubt students capability, they are very much capable that’s why they cope up with this mechanism until they can make a choice to dropout of schools.

At 51 years, my mom is showing extreme interest in learning a new language. Under the circumstance, It will be tough for her to continue learning with the same interest if her curiosity is not kindled or thrown under this industrial age education system. So I’m planning to research intuitive game based apps to keep her engaged and feed her curiosity to learn a new language. At least she is not memorizing for the sake of getting state first, admission in top schools or land a job and my responsibility is to not let her go in the same path as her schooling.

Schools and education must help kids learn life at their own pace – marks and jobs will follow automatically. Let me help my mom learn life with technology integrated re-imagined education. Hope you will join my journey in helping our community.

Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.

– Rabindranath Tagore

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