Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Schools in Kanpur

While we were in Kanpur for a few days last week, we were invited to visit a couple schools.  I was really excited to be able to visit a girls school.  In India they have government schools which are public and free and they also have private school which cost.  I am positive there are many other types of schools in India, but that is all I know about so far :)

We visited a boys government school and a girls private school(where the medium for the older students is English, so this means it is taught in English).  The principals of both schools sat down with us and gave us chai(hot tea) to drink and answered some of our questions about their schools.  We learned so much and are so thankful for their hospitality and openness.

Both of these schools are in a poorer area of the city and are predominantly Muslim.  The population of the boys school is an even poorer class of students than the girls school because it is free.  The girls school costs around 250 rupees a month.  This is roughly $4.80...yeah 4 dollars and 80 cents a MONTH! Many of the families in this area can not afford to pay that.

One thing I noticed in these schools was the level of respect for teachers and adults.  When the teacher enters the classroom the entire class stands and is not allowed to sit down until instructed to by the teacher.  Also, when a student wants to answer a question they must stand up and address the teacher.  They also have a big wooden stick at the front of the class in case of discipline problems.  This was all, MUCH different than when I substitute taught in low income areas of Austin.

We asked both of the principles what is the biggest challenge they face overseeing their schools.

For the boys school:

The principal said that it is hard to motivate his students.  Most of them will eventually work in the same profession as their fathers.  They see no need for education because they know what job they will do when they get older.  He says this tends to keep many of them in a cycle of poverty because they don't have very high expectations.  This, of course, is not the case for all his students and they actually have some students go on to University and even to the prestigious IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), but many are stuck in the cycle of poverty.

He also said their parents are not that involved in their children's education.

For the girls school:

The principles at this school face a different set of problems.  Because this is a private school and parents pay for their girls to go they are more involved and usually a bit more educated themselves.  The girls also want to learn and many of them have big dreams of becoming doctors, engineers, and lawyers.  However, the principles told us that many of these girls do not go on to college or careers because they get married and have children.

So those are some of the things we learned about schools in Kanpur.  It is really interesting how some of the problems are really similar to problems in American schools and some are totally different.

We didn't get any pictures at the boys school, but here are some pics from the girls school:

This is a handicraft class.  They learn to sew and do small handicrafts.  I wish I would have learned to sew in middle school.

A highschool class.  This girl was standing up to answer a question and she just kept standing while we took the picture.

A view of the school, it is 3 stories.

1 comment:

  1. I love it. I'm glad y'all are learning more about what the needs are in the area both for students and parents. :) That's awesome that they let you come in and observe.