SERVE 4students

The Izzat Factor


Elsewhere in this Website we have identified the coloration of our Indian responses to stimuli as arising out of our izzat, and that it clashed with the British system of education we had borrowed from Macaulay’s time. That system involves exams, secrecy, pass and fail, and all the other features we are used to. But because we are who we are, our most important value is the preservation of that izzat, such that all other considerations take second place - acceptance of upset, acknowledgment of inadequacy, and even honesty. We resort to ‘unfair means’, or, if not, we explore escape systems of which the most definitive is of course suicide.

SERVE designed and modified the team system to offset this reality. If the class is in teams, then the individual is only a team member, and is not personally likely to be categorized as a failure. An essay like this cannot detail the minutiae of this in application to our classrooms, but that is the basic principle. Other factors were considered. In our working schools, numbers are invariably large. This team system is comfortable with 60 youngsters per class, and can be stretched even more. And the word Exams being a stimulant of so many negative emotional reactions, the (ever popular) concept of using a Quiz system was harnessed to fill that need.

Our youngsters commit suicide not because they don't know the school subjects, not even because they don't get flattering marks, but because in the tally they do worse than so many others. The result of that is, mummy's tears, dad's anger, family (read caste) abuse, " school mates "rejection, school staff disgust, and local scorn. Fear of this is the spur. The entire system in India is built on this fear. Suicide is clearly a simple and increasingly popular choice. Read Sahana Pal's story .

When sketched, the SERVE system was applied in Delhi government primary schools by the then director of SCERT there. The results boggled even us, who had taught it to them. Clearly, to a country embarrassed by a world image of inappropriate education methodologies, this was a major answer and touted truthfully as such by those advertising it. The statistics bore out their claim both to academic improvement and childhood enrichment. And that is what SERVE is propagating today. .

Why is it not nation-wide? The history of any social improvement, from umbrellas to flight to democracy to religion to language to agriculture to food habits to marriage to well anything , bears witness to the blind resistance of people to change, whatever the evidence may promise and demonstrate. The change will come, but human nature, Indian as much as any other, being what it is, it will be slow. But come it will ! .