Entitlement – Does it Begin With Schools?

Last week’s piece on “entitlement” evoked quite a response. Since Facebook allows more interactive communication, a very interesting thread developed around this.
Sharada, from the US, immediately wrote “be generous with your time with them; demonstrate empathy and charity; keep your own head on your shoulders; live in a neighborhood that does not scream money … and hope for the best” and followed this up with “if kids have free access to your time and attention (as opposed to materialistic things) THAT is what they should feel entitled to…or am I being naive?”
Anil, who too lives in the US, then penned down his “A Dozen Rules For Successful (Sociological) Parenting”. The first rule was “Buy a house in the best feasible school district (public schools) you can afford (and when your child is of school-going age, send him/her to a public school).” I immediately wrote back saying that this was irrelevant in India, especially in Mumbai.
For those who may not know, in the US and in many parts of the Western world, children are entitled to free school education in the specific district that they live in. This right comes from the fact that all residents of that particular district pay taxes towards the public school in that district. Typically then, a public school will have a variety of students cutting across all social classes, which partly of course is dependent on the composition of the school district’s residents. Most people send their children to public schools and often people choose their homes based on the reputation of the schools in specific areas. Private schools also exist, but are horrendously expensive. Of course, the richer you are, the greater the chance that your children would go to a private school.
In our country, the equivalent of a US public school would perhaps be a Government- aided private school. Unlike in the US, being a resident of the area where the school is located does not automatically guarantee admission into that school. Nevertheless, the majority of students are usually from the surrounding area. For e.g. Don Bosco and other similar schools in Matunga, are Government aided, quite affordable for the middle and upper classes and by and large service children from Matunga and the surrounding central suburbs.
Anil, answering my “irrelevant” note, wrote back in the context of public schools, “While this may seem irrelevant, the principle is not – what it means is – give your child the best education (best -academically, socially, culturally) you can afford – stretch your money, sacrifice some other things if you need to, for a while.” and Sharada chimed in with “even if there aren’t good public (govt. funded) school districts in Mumbai…. send your kids to a school that you think best fits your ideology and still meets their needs – not necessarily the priciest school …. also, when you don’t live in a pricey neighborhood, there’s less peer pressure on you and on the kids.”
If you’ve haven’t already figured out where this is all going, then here it is. Does sending your children to a middle-class, Government-aided school like Don Bosco, St. Joseph’s, J B Vachha, etc allow your kids to be more grounded in reality, given that the students come from a significant spectrum of society, as against sending them to expensive, private schools, where given the intense peer pressure to conform, they all learn to be “entitled” that much earlier in life? Or in a similar vein…should your children travel to school in school buses or be chauffeur-driven in style?

Tags: ,

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email is never shared.Required fields are marked *