Meet Shobha and Yashpal Bhaskar, parents deeply anxious about their child's future. After a lot of thought, research and running around, they've got their six-year-old son Himanshu admitted to an upscale public school, affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in Delhi. The school won their vote because it had an enviable record of students scoring above 90 per cent in the board exams and a good number making it to reputed engineering and medical colleges. "We want our son to get selected for a professional degree course. Eventually, we would like him to get a good job when he finishes his education," says Yashpal.
The Bhaskars typify the vast majority of middle-class Indian parents with a clear cost-benefit equation worked out for their children's schooling. The concept of "education" defined with reference to wisdom, values and overall development of character has begun sounding archaic and finds few takers, with the entire thrust of our schooling system shifting from education to "selection". And in this shift, the curriculum, which forms the bedrock of a sound education system, has been reduced to a mere means to secure a "good job".