Moving out of high school to a higher secondary or from higher secondary to college is an exciting period for a student. It is also an important time as it marks the beginnings of independence and responsibility besides learning new skills and furthering one’s education. Students have several expectations and aspirations when they join higher secondary schools and colleges. NT KURIOCITY speaks with students from various streams and classes to find out what these expectations and aspirations are and if they get fulfilled
MARIA FERNANDES|NT KURIOCITY
As the new academic year begins students moving to standard 11 and first year of college are faced with exciting possibilities. For them it is a new chapter; new classmates, teachers, opportunities and beginnings. “Throughout my standard 10, I was eagerly waiting to complete my schooling and go to higher secondary school. For me it meant independence and freedom from strict rules and regulations,” says 16-year-old Gail D’Silva. “I just want to grow up and pursue my dreams of being a fashion designer. So completing school and moving to higher secondary is a step closer to my dream,” says Geetika Ghadge. For most students higher secondary and college is synonymous with freedom; a place and time where they can be themselves without too much supervision. “In school, we had our teachers watching us very closely and we were treated as children but higher secondary, I heard, is different. I have just started standard 11 but I already see that we do not have such close supervision and are no longer treated like babies,” says Rakesh Pillai. Shantanu Dessai, a TYBCom student adds, “College is more relaxed and we are mostly treated like adults. However, there are still some teachers who forget we are young adults and treat us as though we are back in school. There is freedom but the responsibilities are much more. In addition each student is responsible for his/her own notes. Unlike school, we have to manage on our own.”
Freedom for students means different things. Bunking classes and going for movies or to the mall or just hanging out with friends is on top of the list for most. “Sometimes the classes are extremely boring and at other times, the teacher is boring, so instead of sitting in class and falling asleep, I prefer to stay out or sit with my friends in the canteen,” says Nikhil Shah, an SYBBA student. Pratiksha Kamat, a TYBCom student believes it does not make sense to sit for a lecture that is not important and can be studied at home. “The advantage of being in college is that we can decide the lectures we want to sit for. If it is a late lecture and something I can study on my own, I prefer leaving. However one also has to keep in mind the minimum attendance which according to me, needs to be changed,” she adds. Most students are of the opinion that the minimum 70 per cent attendance should be reduced. “Lowering the minimum attendance can give a student freedom to utilise his time more productively by working part time or learning new languages. There is so much a student can do simultaneously if he is given more freedom,” says Saish Parab a BCA student.
“Changes are definitely being made to make our lives better in terms of both academics as well as life skills but I feel there are many grey areas that need to be tackled,” says Nadine D’Mello, a TYBSc student. She is of the opinion that the regular class tests should be done away with and instead there should be practical assignments to teach practical implementation of the subjects they study. “I agree,” adds Heena Khan a FYBTech student, “We should be encouraged to think than just reproduce what we mug up for the tests or exams. What use is bookish knowledge if we cannot apply the same to our lives?” Practicals, many students believe can be helpful in both Humanities as well as Science streams besides engineering colleges.
Recreation is another aspect students feel that should be looked into. “We all have academic pressure and stress in our lives even though it may not seem so. Taking one’s mind off it through outdoor games or other such recreation is needed. Often colleges do not have proper facilities for outdoor games and if this is taken care of, I think productivity will definitely increase,” states engineering student, Leander Pinto. Some students are of the opinion that even dance, music or drama can be a part of the syllabus. Shreyasha Naik, an MBA student adds, “Since we are on the threshold of professional life more emphasis on co-curricular activities especially ones that will help us in the future should be included.”
More field visits and internships are also what the discerning student today is looking for. “Field trips broaden the mind, increase observation skills and students get to see ground reality. I think these trips should be incorporated into the curriculum of all courses,” says Nathan D’mello. Shrishti Naik agrees wholeheartedly and adds, “It is not just a learning experience that is hard to forget but is also a break from the classroom routine. Students need that break which can be very refreshing.”
Choosing subjects irrespective of the course they are pursuing is an important area that students believe should be made more flexible. This option is common in universities and colleges abroad but is not easily available in India.” I had a friend in standard 11 who was interested in languages and wanted to study two languages instead of one and drop History which was never a subject that she liked. To do this I remember her mum had to do a lot of running about and get permissions from the required authorities. Also since the timetable was made with just one language in mind, she often had to miss out on either one of the language classes. According to me, students should be given more choices in terms of subjects they want to study,” says Michelle Fernandes, an FYBA student.
Having an interdisciplinary approach is the new trend. Employment opportunities are better when one’s academic background is versatile. Saurabh Nabar who has just completed his MBA in Australia says: “The best part of studying abroad is the flexibility you get when choosing subjects. The education system there encourages students to customise their study programmes to suit their individual interests. This leads to students taking a keener interest in their subject of choice and better productivity.”
Student’s aspirations are many and teachers and principals along with educationists are working towards making education a holistic experience. It is only time that will tell how far and successfully it turns out.