Posted by: greatfoundation | January 3, 2010

Higher education: Is it fair to see a child’s dream break?

Many children in the Cantonment Board schools (CBS) believe that they will become an Engineer, Doctor, Policeman/woman, Teacher, etc. Little knowing that more than 75% won’t even have money to sponsor their higher education, forget about the fair ground to compete in the education field with Public school (PS) children.

How ironical that the little sparkling eyes that behold a million dreams to conquer the world have their dreams shattered cause they either face monetary problems or are deemed incompetent by our education system.

Lack of basic fundamentals:

Most of the children in these schools cannot speak English leave apart writing correct English. In addition to this, around 50% of them have never seen a computer leave aside operating a computer or having knowledge about Internet. Not only this majority of these children have a very weak grounding in their subjects. They learn most of the subjects by rote and vomit the subject matter in the examination hall. Once the examination is over almost none of them remember what they have studied. Despite getting a high percentage in their Tenth, when these children join college they are faced with a whole new world of difficulties. Usually colleges offering higher education teach in the English medium unlike a few vernacular colleges.

The children are faced with two problems:

1. Adjusting to the college environment

2. Comprehending the new subject matter being taught & understanding the subject in the English language

1. The first challenge faced is on an equal ground by Public school children as well as the Cantonment Board school children. The change for both of them is on the same level (From a closeted life to an open world where one does not have teachers to guide them at every step). But the degree of change for the Cantonment Board school children is slightly higher unlike their counterpart (Public school mates) as for the first time in life they come in contact with Public school children competing for positions and opportunities on a level ground. Unlike the school days when they are protected in their small  cocoon, now they are exposed to harsh realities.

One reality they are faced with is:

They start feeling the pinch in monetary terms on account of the resources that they have access to and what the Public school children have access to (For example, Public school children have money to attend tuitions, buy text / reference/tutorial books- which are generally expensive, purchase the required equipment for their courses, etc). This starts comparison in the mind of these innocent minds.

The Public school children have money to wear good clothes, sport new bags, stationery, etc. Generally it is found that the Public school children either ignore the Cantonment Board school children or tease them for belonging to vernacular backgrounds. These children are termed as “Vernacs” and looked down upon by their peers. This makes the process of adjustment very hard for these children.

This is just one aspect that these children are exposed to in the colleges.

2. Another challenge faced by them is understanding the subject matter being taught. Since the children have chosen a specific stream (Science/Commerce/Arts). These children have to comprehend the subject matter which is taught in English. The problem is not that these children can’t understand the subject or are less intelligent in comparison to other kids. The problem lies in the subject being taught in English which is quite an alien language to the Cantonment board children. Their grasp of the language is very poor and this results in poor comprehension of the subject matter.

Therefore, a CBS child who has scored very well 80 or 90 percent in the tenth suffers miserably on account of non- comprehension of the subject. With no guidance and help these children often fail and receive a big setback.

Many of the children turn out to be drop outs in the 11th std itself and very few go onto the 12th std. A large number of them see a drastic drop in their percentages leaving them unfit for higher specialised courses that require one to obtain a high cut offs.

With great difficulty these children are able to sustain after battling their way through the hardships of their career.

Thus, a child who had numerous dreams in his/her eyes when he/she set upon the jouney to become an Engineer, Doctor, Teacher, Policeman/woman, etc are shattered into pieces….

I question you all readers…..

Is it fair to see a child’s dream break?

“This post is based on a survey conducted by GREAT Foundation of the Cantonment Board school children across Pune and their performance in college. GREAT in partnership with a Mumbai based Trust has started funding the children of the 3 adopted schools and has also extended other forms of help. So that these children’s dreams are not shattered”



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jaslene Bawa, GreatFoundation. GreatFoundation said: Is it fair to see a child’s dreambreak? […]

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