Home > Education, India 2012 > Schools, Exams, and Gurus

Schools, Exams, and Gurus

I’ve been wanting to gather my thoughts about education in India, and now that I’m actually in transit, I have time to do it.

  • Indian education has traditionally been very exam driven: progressing through the system depends on passing standardized exams at specific points. I think of the European system that way generally, and I assume the Indian system has its roots in the British. I wonder how Indian education has changed in the years since Independence.
  • I’m told that Indians sometimes introduce themselves, after giving their name, by telling their level of education. In some cases this means the level at which they failed: “I’m Tina, and I’m a Level 10 fail.” (I don’t think I’ve got the phrasing right, but I got the concept from Ajay Bhatt).
  • There is a major national effort to supplement the national exams with a school-based, more holistic assessment system called “Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation.” It sounds more like the American system, but of course the transition is challenging. I’ll be learning more about it at The Teacher Foundation, our host institution in Bangalore.
  • In Rajkot, I’ll get to visit some interesting, nontraditional schools. One is located on a farm in the middle of a mango orchard. Another, which may not be a school but more of a Hindu mission, is called Ramkrishna Math. It’s part of an ashram (a term I need to find out more about).
  • In India, the concept of “teacher” doesn’t go back very far. The more traditional concept is of learning together, a more egalitarian, nonstandardized approached. The “guru” is part of that – another term I need to investigate.

I’m writing this at an airport cafe in Frankfurt. Some of my colleagues in the program should be turning up soon. We met once at the symposium in February. Wonder how easily we’ll recognize each other!


Categories: Education, India 2012
  1. July 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I’m so excited that you are now off on your journey! I look forward to learning along with you; I too would like to know more about gurus.

  2. Deborah Marion
    July 2, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Oh Tina,
    we’re following your posts with the greatest interest!

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