The poem posted below is a chilling account of how pressure to perform at schools is killing students. That also speaks volume about how schools are responsible for suicide of students, who do not follow the beaten track. Schools produce asses, not conscious individuals. It’s correct to say that they murder creativity, wipe out all good possibilities. The schools worldwide are playing havoc with lives of students thinking differently.
We only know pass and fail, we cannot see beyond grades and the life of student gets stuck between first and third division. That’s the only achievement of studying at school. We decide the stature and class of a student right at school in a most barbaric manner. The sensitive minds get trapped in inhuman categories, which chase them throughout their lives. Were the schools brought in existence to attain such ends?
Some years back schools in India refused to give admission to their own students in higher classes, taking into account their poor performance in previous classes. Poor parents and students were left with no other chances but to get admission in other schools, which was quite a humiliating experience. Thanks to intervention of Court, the trend to refuse admission got curbed. The example is enough to suggest that education system in India is controlled by retarded minds, which have little respect for the dignity of students. They also do not know that students are our future and it’s an unpardonable offence to make students victim of terrible guilt complexes, which remain with them for rest of their lives.
He hated to hold the pencil and chalk, with his arm stiff and his feet flat on the floor, Stiff.
With the teacher watching and watching. The teacher came and spoke to him.
She told him to wear a tie like all the other boys. He said he didn’t like them.
She said it didn’t matter. After that they drew.
And he drew all yellow and it was the way he felt about morning. And it was beautiful.
The teacher came and smiled at him.
“What’s this?” she said. “Why don’t you draw something like Ken’s drawing? Isn’t it lovely?”
After that his mother bought him a tie. And he started drawing airplanes and rocket ships like everyone else.
And he threw the old picture away.
He lay alone looking at the sky, it was big and blue and all of everything.
But he wasn’t anymore. He was square inside and brown
And his hands were stiff. And he was like everyone else.
And the things inside him that needed saying didn’t anymore.
It had stopped pushing. It was crushed. Stiff. Like everything else.
(The poem written by a 14 year old boy, who committed suicide two weeks later after presenting the poem to his English teacher)
Full poem can be read here: Poem
(A news report that I got published in The Hindustan Times On November 15,2000)
At the gate things are normal. When one crosses the gate ,one finds oneself in a different world,the world of mentally retarded children who are confined to the four walls of school building.The government school for mentally retarded children situated in Ashok Nagar Allahabad has 39 children.The school is run under the aegis of Sate Handicapped Welfare Department.
However,the school is in shambles.The inmates of the school ,most of whom are in tattered clothes,are living in unhygienic condition. The lavatories are not regularly cleaned.This is despite the fact that 13 officials are deployed in the area to look after these children.Ghanshyam Mishra,officer in-charge of the school,complains grant of Rs 500 per head is not enough to meet the requirements. “How can you expect us to make them available food,medicines, and clothes in such meagre amount ?,” he asked.
He said letters to increase the grant by Rs 250 per child have been sent to the Handicapped Welfare Department but nothing has been done so far.”The Government has failed to come up with concrete measures for the children’s rehabilitation,” he adds.
Those children whose IQ level ranges between 20-70 are dropped here by the police after completing necessary formalities. The children mostly caught at the railway stations and other areas are first sent to the observation homes for 14 days and later to this school if they show symptoms of mental retardness.What troubles is the fact that the school lacks systematic method of categorizing them.Thus,proper medical treatment is hardly possible.With the change of time,their retardness level also increases and later they become incapable of doing simple work.
However,a doctor from Tej Bahadur Sapru Hospital (Beli Hospital) makes routine visit to this school.But this cannot yield desired results because those children need specific medical treatment.The roof of the school building has developed cracks and during the rainy season,it starts leaking. These children need to be shifted to some safer place,but till now no arrangements have been made. When one looks into the eyes of these children ,one realizes that they want to say something but their mental state restricts them.
Manish,who hails from Varanasi ,wants to return to his home,but his family members are no longer keen to take him back.The world outside attracts them but they cannot venture out.”We take them out on picnic once in a week,” said Mr.Mishra.The park meant for them is in dilapidated state.A television set,which remains non functional for most of the time,is what exists in the name of entertainment.The school has two teachers,but owing to lack of reading and writing material the teachers fail to impart quality education.
Children’s Day comes and goes but no one thinks about them or does anything for this miserable lot.