This is my review of eight years of education in a school that I called out on Twitter recently, to convey how urgently we need a transformation of the education imparted in Indian schools, at the grassroots.
Everything I grew up observing about this institution is listed below. What I wish to convey is that such school infrastructures should be abolished.
• The ones that promote false discretion based on “merit” and a “background” check of family privileges. Students were demarcated into varied, “graded” classrooms right from the time of admission into the school based on this horrible notion of “merit”.
• Those that internalise the teaching of gendered norms and gender socialising in primary school education, by preventing gender mixing.
This is also done by propagating toxic masculine norms, such as normalising the physical abuse and violence against male students by male teachers.
• Where in the girls’ “counselling sessions”, young girls are taught the minute learnings of rape culture by female teachers.
These teachers tell them how to present themselves and talk about the extent to which one should restrict their bodies so as to not be responsible for being sexually assaulted by men.
Young girls are taught to internalise being ashamed of their bodies in these sessions, including treating menstruation as a stigma.
Skirt lengths and “laughing loudly” are seen as signs of being “dirty” women. Thus, “shame” against their so-called feminine expression is propagated.
• Where the staff is exclusively dominated by the privileged upper castes, casteist attitudes are institutionalised and propagated by diverting most of its institutional resources towards the students from privileged backgrounds.
This is done through filtering students on the basis of the hideous notions of “merit”.
• Accounting for just familial privileges to decide merit, such that the ones who are assigned to the last sections are mostly from the marginalised sections of the society.
They are at the receiving end of discretionary, institutional discrimination and degrading treatment by the staff and the administration.
• Where violence against students is normalised and creativity as well as curiosity are curtailed for the sake of teaching unhealthy competition via rote-learning.
• Where homophobia, misogyny, body shaming and caste-based discrimination are unabated within the student community, not to mention the fact that these have been internalised by the staff and the admin of the school as well.