“A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed

One too like thee: tame-less and swift and proud.”

— Ode to the West Wind, Percy Bysshe Shelley

Do you have a 5-6 yr oldie going to Montessori? If yes, then you must be very frustrated by the process of admission in class 1. Sometimes I feel, parents want kids to do a lot more than American government wants Pakistani Government to do. Dreams of so called ‘Big School’ are promised to children; about new friend, new big campus, new bag, new uniform, no tuition, little homework;’you are a big boy now; you will go to big school; babies go to Montessori’. While we all know  what Big school is about. Bigger, heavier bag, strict and disciplined environment; all new classmate including seniors to bully.

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Recently forms of famous Parsi community school are issued. The date of issue of form was 30 Nov at 8.00am, but may be they forget to mention that date for waiting in cue is 29 Nov. My husband went for form,for my boy, the night before. He expected to be amongst the first ones in cue. What turn out was the cue extends 250 men and 50 women at 10pm. Surprised! when he ask the first guy in cue about when he came, he claims to be waiting from afternoon.

The cue was formed on the footpath that lines the wall of school at Abdullah Haroon road, this footpath will serve as bed to these  passionates whole night. Freezing November night; open blue sky, star twinkling; silvery moonlight; chilling winter breeze; shivering cold footpath underneath with vehicles and cue of parent to accompany this romantic night. The crowd includes parents themselves and also servants and drivers of parents. Few are tired after a hard working day, few are almost having party with tea, peanuts, chips and other snacks.

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As the sun rises, the quite and calm  crowd again becomes energetic and hyperactive.”What if we don’t get the form?”, speaks a worried father.”Yes, that’s possible, last year, people had broken the gate of school so the official stopped issuing the form”, speaks another credulous father.” After waiting whole night, if not us, than who gets the form?. We need to be patient, nothing will happen and even if something wrong happens, we can’t stop it”, says a witty father. The gate are opened, parents are issued token for form. My husband who joined the cue at around 10.00pm get form at 12.00am after 14 hours. A friend, who joined the cue at 4.00am get the token of the school to get the form on following day, while others joining further late – a box of patience to get through same process next day or perhaps night.The forms of missionary schools are also difficult to get.

Apparently, child appearing for test of class 1 is taught the syllabus of 1 class in just few months which is pathetic. After school hours, children often attend expensive ‘preparation tuition’ offered by very strict teachers who will not hesitate to hit but they guarantee admission. Few go to conversation classes also. Afterwards, these poor roses do tuition and school homework. Our tameless and proud children are being chained and bowed with such pressure left with no time to play. Such stress most likely develops aggression, arrogance and hatred towards tuition, homework and eventually learning.

Whose to be blamed? schools? – for setting high criterion. Parents? – who tempt school by giving them opportunity to select cream out of students. Or let us once again blame the education system. That’s easy! Parents in whole South Asian region are putting such stress in different stages of student life. Education standards are non uniform which demands tough struggle for quality education. Too much pressure will end up in disobedience and eventually rebellion. Consequence of rebellion is often seen in form of complete shut down from studies. Parent need to take emotions of students also in concern. A lot of talking, understanding, showing love and concern and repeated appreciation may help students cope this stress. Assurance that failure doesn’t end life but just an opportunity can boost their confidence and save them from being dis hearted. Stretching the finger more and more will break the finger, Every child has its own special capabilities and talent which need to be groomed.