Dr Pravin togadia
Strange word? There is no spelling mistake in my newly coined word. Edu ‘Caution’; it means Caution in Education! Exam results are out, CBSE and other boards, various universities and professional exams. Now the rush for admissions. Schools, colleges, professional courses, Medical, Engineering, American Universities and what not. Educational Institutions run by governmnets, private organisations, corporates, NGOs and others are full with forms and admission seekers. From free education to the courses that demand 7 digits fees – all are there. Capitation fees, donations in whatever name and all other added expenses are there.
In all this process, not only the quality of the education but also the surroundings, other students’ social backgrounds etc. are verified by parents/students. Similarly, parents’ socio-economic backgrounds are checked by the institutions in lengthy interviews/out-sourced detective services!
In my travel last month I came across a family with a bright boy and a girl aged 8 and 5 respectively. The grandparents were in the know of over 48,000 schools that VHP has been running all over Bharat. Some for tribal students, some residential, some for platform kids and some open for all Hindus. With either no or minimal fees Sangh and VHP have been giving this socio-educational service for years now, from Tripura to Assam, Dangs and from Mount Abu to Delhi. Many girls and boys who came in at the age of 5, 8 etc have shone bright in their CBSE and other board exams and now are well placed in all walks of life – some are doctors, some engineers, some heading corporates in Bharat and abroad. The grandparents of the little kids in the family that I referred here, knew the quality of the education in these schools and were also keen that the kids do get some proper guidance on Samskaars, Samskruti (Culture) and values of life. They suggested that the kids join one such bright institute. Parents of the little kids were curious. They never much thought of all this. They wanted the kids to be someone big in life, get a safe school that will reach them to this goal. They decided to try our schools after a long discussion with the principal of the school.
The point is that like in all fields of life – food, clothes, cars, cosmetics, books, entertainment (and even political netas!) now there is a wide choice available in academics – in terms of courses and institutions. I was amazed to see a Gurukul charging nothing and giving fantastic modern education along with the traditional values. I also recently came across a Gurukul charging over Rs 40,000 a year. I was about to express my surprise and my friend told me that there are Gurukuls charging over 2 Lakh per year too claiming to have air conditioned classrooms with own satellite up linking facility for faster internet. The best option for the parents and students is to check their own wallet, yes, but I recommend that please do check the credentials of the people who are running these institutions, examine what values they inculcate among the kids and also analyse the positive impact they would leave on the kids.
I absolutely do not imply that those who charge more have no values and those who charge less have Samskaars. Once the learning years pass from the human being’s life, they never come back the same way. When at the tender age of 10 when a little Pravin came to Ahmedabad from a very small village and a poor farmer’s family, alone and wondering to see many electric lights after alighting the bus, he was confused. Just armed with a dream of becoming a doctor so that the poor people do not die without treatment and a small tiffin box of sukhdi (a simple village sweet made of wheat in Sourashtra), Pravin would have got lost in the city if a kind RSS Prachaarak would not have shown him the correct path of life. Living in a tin shed in a small hutment colony, making food with own little hands at that age, I went on with my studies with the zeal and inspiration due to Sangh Samskaars. I met people who gave bonds for my medical education, who were not related to me by blood but it was a thick bond of values! Today what Dr Pravin Togadia is, a cancer surgeon because of this inspiration which got him do hard work and due to the poor mother’s eyes that spoke so much while she was raising other kids in the village.
Again, the point here is not me but what one gets in the early age in life matters in what a person the kid would be. Therefore, I used the word Edu’Caution’. All give Education, but Caution in selection decides the output. Flashy looks, sparking canteens, glossy prospective, dynamic websites, pampering visits…Educational institutions are supposed to give the best professional education as well as vision for life. Life – not just of the student but life of all around him / her, as no individual is an island. The success of his/ her educational excellence is not limited only to him / herself; it extends to the society around. Personal progress combined with uplifting the people along side is the key to a better human being. Such a person obviously takes all others around him along, does not brag about own accomplishments but compliments the team for the success and then the organisation, company, department , business that he / she is associated with also progresses.
Hence, brand of the university, school etc. matters and at the same time the credibility, credentials (real; NOT doled out in prospective / websites by the PR or marketing depts. Of the institutions!), experiences of the people studied there… all this matters. Therefore, good institutions dare to hold alumni meets in the presence of the current students as they know their strengths and they are open to work on their areas of improvements. They are not conceited or rigid like many convent schools or the likes. Where an individual is not allowed to be himself or herself and has to pretend of being like someone else, is not a good institution. No henna on palms even your sister gets married, no tikka on your forehead even your sister puts it on Bhai Duj and no this no that… Traditions are part of our ethos. Unification is one thing & regimentation that makes a person discard tradition is another thing. So while selecting the educational institution, it needs be seen whether your culture is respected there. Then only you will learn to appreciate other cultures.
Many people get calls to help in admissions of their relatives. The criteria are mainly medical, engineering etc. The appalling comment that I hate to hear is that – For this admission, we are ready to pay donation. I wonder whether the student will study medicine or worry about how to earn further to compensate such extra-‘educational’ payments!
That’s why: Caution! Career Care is the small group that some of have been running where the experts in various fields help kids analyse their aptitude, work on certain choices right from the childhood (some of us never got this opportunity but today it is available!), see the financial / social feasibility of pursuing the dream and then work either toward it or try options. This will reduce stress on parents. Financial, mental and social stress is almost killing young parents at the age of 30-35! Kids have graying hair due to stress about the rat race in jobs and business opportunities. Being competitive helps excel and use the full potential that one has but the institutions must be chosen after examining if they encourage healthy competition or get kids in bullying pushy egotism.
Value-based education should be the key. Therefore, let us all make people aware of Edu’Caution’.
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