Abha Chaudhari and Tanya Wadekar
JagoWorld hosted a free presentation and discussion by Mrs. Pathak, Fulbright Fellow, and Delhi Government Teacher, as part of the Learn From Series for students, parents and community members.
Living in the U.S.A., it is hard to imagine what life is like in a completely foreign country. Thankfully, Mrs. Pathak gave us an insightful look into the lives of Indian students just like ourselves, and how their daily school lives went. She told us about the government schools of Delhi, the capital city of India. Mrs. Anju herself is a high school math teacher and a teacher mentor for her school. Through an eye-opening presentation put together by Mrs. Pathak, members of the Young Voices speech and leadership club learned some interesting facts about India in a small setup. Some things we learned were the number of states in India, the national animal, bird, flower, sports, and aquatic animal. Furthermore that India is the second largest English speaking country, and that it is the second most populous country in the world.
Speaking of English, in America, second languages are taught starting 6th grade. We were surprised to learn that beginning kindergarten students of Delhi Government Schools learn both Hindi and English. Although, in secondary school, they can also choose to do another language such as Sanskrit, French, and German, along with English and Hindi. Also, during her presentation, she showed us pictures of Delhi’s school facilities before and after the government got them fixed. The schools before all the repairs were dirty and old, but after the government had invested money in them, they looked modern and new. Now, they are working on educating a selection of teachers, Mrs. Anju Pathak included, to become teacher mentors. Because of her experience as a mentor, she was selected to become a Fulbright fellow. She came to learn teaching methods and practices of US school system and take those methods back to India.
Mrs. Pathak’s presentation was a highlight of the program. She showed members a video she took of one of her students from the Delhi Government School District. Her student spoke the entire video in English and showed us her school facilities and what subjects and such she learns. Mrs. Anju Pathak also told us about the families of the children that go to these schools. Just like the girl in the video, most of the families have low incomes and have to survive off of hourly wages. Some of these families are sending their kids to private schools even though they cannot afford them because the public schools are not on par with the private schools. The Delhi Government School district is trying to improve their school facilities, their teaching methods, and their parent-teacher communications to solve this problem.
Besides, another point Mrs. Pathak made was about the ways the Delhi Government School District are trying to improve their Schools. Parent-teacher conferences are quite common in the US schools. In India, the concept is quite rare as parents whose children go to the Delhi Government Schools have to work. So timings for parent-teacher conferences do not work for them, and missing work means money lost. To confront this, the Delhi Government Schools decide to hold a city-wide conference day, so every family knew when it was happening. Announcements were even put over the radio to make sure the info reached every corner of Delhi. One may think these conferences would make a difference, but Mrs. Pathak told us that when she said the mother of one her students how well their daughter was doing. The mother told Mrs. Pathak that she would tell her daughter to study instead of doing household chores. If the conferences even made a difference in even one girl’s life, they were completely worth the time and effort.
In conclusion, Mrs. Anju Pathak showed us the astonishing differences between the government school systems in India as opposed to the school systems in the US.
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