American parents are hitting the bottle to cope with the trauma of helping their kids do homework in these times of coronavirus, according to a study.
Experts says more research needs to be done on why online learning is so stressful for both kids and parents.
One teacher here in Bengaluru, who teaches her class by a video-sharing app called Zoom, is upset because her schoolkids come online in their pyjamas while sitting on the bed.
I am not sure whether distance learning is helping kids learn anything, but I can understand how upsetting homework can be for adults. I tried solving an algebraic equation once, in new math, and am sure even Shakuntala Devi, the mathematics wizard, would have seen stars.
It was alleged the education system was a relic of the British Raj and the colonial power imposed it on Indian kids basically to make them good accountants and help the Brits tally the loot they were taking out of India. The education system was also woefully lacking in research skills
I was taught mathematics by first learning The Tables, by drill and repetition, and it went something like this: 2 one za two, 12 nine za 108 (2 times one are 2; 12 times nine are 108), and then the Americans decided that kids need their math knowledge upgraded, just because Russia sent a satellite into space, before them.
The new math, drove many parents and teachers to evening classes to first learn it themselves, and finally drove them to despair.
It taught pupils to see numbers in a different way; for example, when you and I say the number 47, we see 47. But it was taught that 47 is 4 tens and 7 ones. You can imagine how a simple thing like addition then became rocket science.
The idea was to make the future generation better handle technology of the future. New math was dropped very soon when parents refused to help kids with their homework.
Recently, the Modi government, on the behest of its big brother, RSS, a Right-Wing organisation, decided to change the education system and curriculum, because it was rote based education and was making kids ill equipped to compete in the knowledge economy and the new employment opportunities.
It was alleged the education system was a relic of the British Raj and the colonial power imposed it on Indian kids basically to make them good accountants and help the Brits tally the loot they were taking out of India. The education system was also woefully lacking in research skills.
New education system
The new system does away with teaching in English, an alien language, and more emphasis is put on the mother tongue to make it easier for kids to learn in their native languages.
It tried to make Hindi, the head honcho language, but gave up after there was a hue and cry from various organisations and people, when the government tested the idea out.
English is no longer the language of the Brits, it has become a universal language; and for instance, pilots speak it with ground controllers when landing their planes safely in various countries across the globe.
I am sure there are scientific terms for Cytokine storm in Hindi and other Indian languages, on how your immune system goes berserk when Coronavirus invades the body, but I always double up when saying ‘tube light’ in Hindi, and just try translating, “Are you feeling down today”?
Teaching kids in their mother tongue will be difficult because India is a country of much diversity with a whole host of different languages and cultures. Incidentally, my mother tongue is Urdu and it is nowhere in the list, but there is Thai, Russian, Korean as electives.
Mandarin is scrapped from the list obviously because of border clashes, but earlier, it was very popular in Bengaluru, the IT hub of India.
Here’s hoping the new education system forbids Indian mothers doing their kids homework or their projects for them.
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi