Technically, I am not a student of Loyola School, Jamshedpur any more. I have somehow managed to pass +2 from Loyola School, Jamshedpur. I have not cracked IIT examination. And I am not among the toppers of my school.
Well, I am not even among the second best performers. And so I guess I am not the best person to talk about education, schools, teachers, academics , competitive examinations and success. These are areas in which I have slipped out of frame, many would say. And I don’t mind.
During the last one month, I have heard so many things about how I have not performed well in +2 and competitive examinations that I feel like being in a daze. Such a large number of people barking at me at the same time cannot be wrong.
Okay, so I did not do well during the last 2-3-4 years. I bow my head before everyone’s judgment. So I am supposed to be in a sour mood. Well, I am in a sour mood after going through so many condescending remarks and patronizing looks.
And when I am in a sour mood I do want to bite a few people. And I intend to do just that. Let me come out of this daze first.
During the last one month, or 15 days to be exact, at least 10 persons have told me that Loyola is not the school it used to be earlier. And that in no case it is the best school of the city anymore.
They say this even when you have not asked them for their opinion.
And most of them announce this to me citing headlines from city newspapers.
They tell me how DAV, Bistupur students have sparkled in the IIT examinations and how they have even left Rajendra Vidyalaya far behind as far as academic performance is concerned.
Most of them were even willing to cite data and statistics to support their theory.
Well, the truth is their data , statistics and theory were all in order.
Yes, it is true. Loyola does not send maximum no. of people to the IITs in the city.
It never did. Rajendra Vidyalaya was far ahead of Loyola School till a few years back in this area.
Now DAV, Bistupur seems to have displaced Rajendra Vidyalaya from that exalted position.
But this hardly tells you anything about the quality of education that students get in Loyola, or DAV or Rajendra Vidyalaya or any other school.
I have an egalitarian view of education and educational performance.
I have known and met several boys and girls, who go to Hindi medium schools, municipal schools and government schools and who are simply brilliant in mathematics, physics and English.
They never allow their lack of resources or circumstances to affect their performance despite difficulties.
So I do believe that schools have limited role in how fast a child solves mathematics or how fast he runs on a race track.
It is not a school’s job to train you for a 6-hour IITJEE or AIEEE show.
Schools are there to give you a set of experiences which help in building character and personality and instilling ethical values in a person.
In the process, they also help you in sharpening your intelligence and emotional quotients.
All these too are essential parts of education.
But there is more.
Schools also teach you how to share your lunch-box with your best friend.
They also teach you how to avoid a bully in your class and life.
They also teach you how to celebrate friendship with your best buddies and how to miss them when they are not around. They also teach relationships, though there is no marking for that.
It is a pity that people do not judge a school on these counts and go only by the statistics that are usually more suitable to be cited by coaching classes that put up big hoardings at the street corners.
And I am happy that Loyola has never been a part of that bandwagon.
It never joined the IIT-success race despite the fact that it is the only school in the city whose student topped the IITJEE list (in 1998).
I told you I am not the best person to judge schools or education. Despite that I will give you my own five reasons why Loyola School is the best school of Jamshedpur.
Judge for yourself whether these reasons appeal to you or not.
1. You can speak Hindi, Bengali, Oriya or Tamil on school premises without any fear of punishment: In Loyola School, your child can speak in any language, including English, at his will and without any fear of punishment.
In the junior schools the child may fumble and may mix words and sentences from different languages while speaking to his teacher. And the teacher would continue speaking to him in her immaculate English.
The child improves with time and without any fear.
The school uses direct as well as inductive methods of language teaching in the most effective manner.
And the good thing is that children are never language-conscious, especially English-conscious. They learn speaking English in a natural way.
2. Happiness quotient: If happy children on the campus are the yardstick for measuring how a school is faring, then Loyola wins hands down.
This is mainly because of the sense of ownership that each one has for the school.
If your house looks clean, you feel happy.
A kindergarten student is as proficient at monkeying around as a twelfth grader (or the other way round if you might prefer).
This speaks volumes about how one never needs to adjust with age at Loyola.
3. Freedom: Freedom pervades all corners of Loyola School. Children don’t feel imprisoned in their classes and do not view their teachers as adversaries.
There are few rules to be followed.
And the heavens do not fall if a child flouts them once in a while.
Personally, I feel the teachers are friendlier in the senior school. You can joke around with them and share a few secrets with them. They don’t mind.
They don’t take their job as teachers too seriously. So they strike a chord with us.
And I don’t want to be unfair to them. Yes, they do teach once in a while.
The school follows a ‘No Detention Policy’. Well, not exactly.
How I wish I was able to add this as one of the qualities of Loyola.
Unfortunately, the school lacks in this area.
It does detain a few children even in junior classes.
Maybe the school management would consider doing away with this detention policy in the coming days.
I feel the school requires this decision urgently.
And what makes our freedom strikingly different is that nobody mentions it.
Nor do we talk about assuming responsibilities with age. It goes without a saying for every student.
4. Legacy: A lot of us choose institutions after looking through their past records. Legacy is not a very reliable yardstick, but if one were to go by it then Loyola has a rich one.
Students do make a part of any institution’s legacy.
More than them, there are smaller aspects that have larger contributions. My time at Loyola taught me something very important. Preserving legacy is also important.
As a matter of fact, some pass-outs do complain about how the teachers and their style of teaching have changed.
I don’t deny it because I too feel it. While it is important to bring in freshness, it is equally important to retain the essence of what is already there.
And I am most afraid of a totalitarian culture percolating into the classrooms.
But on the brighter side, a great majority of us have always worked towards retaining what has been left behind by students over the years.
Year after year, clubs, like JYOTI, organize yearly events that are part of their portfolio.
The batch which started organizing JYOTI’s flagship event ‘Rhapsody’ are surprised by the exuberance of the current members at organizing the fest.
What does this imply?
By endeavoring to preserve, our students have threaded themselves together.
Even a person who has passed out can identify with a junior because of a common club, common position and common memory.
This makes Loyoleans different.
And it has a very good alumni network.
Even when you leave the school, you continue to be a part of the Loyola fraternity.
Think for a moment!
For every R Madhavan and Tanushree Dutta, there is one Astad Deboo from Loyola.
For every student that made it to the IITs there is one Abhinav Kumar.
And for every successful student, there is one Bailey Bodhanwala.
The list of luminaries that went to this school is a long one.
5. Sacred Heart Convent School : Well, nothing much. Only the proximity!
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