Thursday, 16 July 2009

Learn in the USA

I was quite amused to read recent media reports that Barack Obama plans to revamp the American education system to compete with India.

This took me back to my high school days and my friends who would sit at the back in class and solve SAT and TOEFEL papers. An American education was what many dreamt of. Visions of a whole new world, a whole new way of studying with no learning by rote, subjects such as micro biology and liberal arts, lovely campuses romanced by Erich Segal in his books spurred many. I was interested too but found applying to scholarships to be an expensive affair. I don't think that I was sure of what I wanted to do in any case.

So the closest one has come to experiencing an American education is through novels and films. I studied under the British System till the fourth standard in International School. I found it very tough to adjust to the ICSE system initially with its focus of exams and 'by hearting' (memorising) and compliance. A far cry from the creativity and free thinking which I was used to till then. An example would be 'write a story about a suspicious looking man' to 'write ten sentences on your pet'. Duh!

My perception was that the American system would reflect these liberal values too.

Is Obama speaking of basic, elementary education? Or is he speaking of the post grad system?

So have we come a full circle now? Is the land of the free looking wistfully at societies which are not fully unshackled?

Or has Dr Singh left a big impression on everyone!

Do write in if you know more on what Obama said... and definitely if you have experienced both the Indian and American education systems.


Balvinder Singh said...

I read your comment at Pinku's blog 'brevity is the secret to harmony'. How true. Nice blog. keep it up.

The knife said...

Hey Balvinder thanks so much for dropping in and leaving a comment. I don't know if you have read the Yes Minister/ P M series but Humphrey Appleby had a pet phrase - 'being economical with the truth'