08 April 2012

Off the beaten track: Secure homes and social schools

One of the very few columns which are of interest to me in `THE HINDU’ is `OPEN PAGE’, as many of the articles in the column are thought provoking and are based on mundane day to day happenings. 1 April edition of the column contained a very interesting article written in a lively and humorous manner and accompanied by an interesting cartoon as shown  below:
In the 1950s, '60s, '70s etc.  it was common for most housewives to take care of their husbands and in-laws, manage their households and contribute to conducive environments for children to grow. They were also strict with children. 
While wives took care of their households, husbands were responsible as `bread winners' for the family and were free to concentrate on their professions and come up. When my parents got  married, my father was a young graduate equipped with  B Sc and B T degrees. He worked in Government High Schools and Government Higher Secondary Schools in Vellore District, Tamilnadu.
L to R: My father and his friend with their newly acquired degrees
After marriage, my father got promoted as headmaster. Though his career meant more responsibilities, he was able to work toward his B A, M Ed and M A degrees . My father and Mr Deivasigamani Chettiar did their M A course together. Mr Chettiar, also a headmaster, was my father's best friend.
When we were young, discipline and values were not only instilled in our homes but also in schools and colleges.
When I was studying in high school, I remember how our State Department of Education implemented useful schemes such as Madras English Language Teaching Campaign (fondly known as "MELT" Campaign) to train English language teachers in ELT skills for use in classrooms. These programmes were usually held outside school timings. Headmasters like my father and Mr Chettiar were selected to work as teacher trainers. 

From L to R: My father is seated 4th  and Mr Chettiar, 1st.
In those days, schools were an integral part of communities and they functioned as social organisations. Though teachers were strict, they were caring.


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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.