Endnote On The Series Skinned Knees and ABCs: A Critique of The Schooling System

Endnote on the 15 part 20-Minute Live Conversations led by Debarshi Roy and Anushka Ashok. 

We love our schools. And we hold our grudges. Irrespective of whether we were front-benchers, back-benchers, toppers or those that barely scraped past, it’s almost impossible to not have had a moment of frustration. “When the schooling system started, its primary objective was to provide manpower to the factories. Over time, schools have themselves become like factories producing educated manpower through an assembly line kind of a model, passing from year to year and emerging at the end as a finished product’ – This and many more such commentaries that are deeply thoughtful and reflective of our schooling system were discussed in this 15-Part series led by Debarshi Roy (Author of Skinned Knees and ABCs, critique and influencer of schooling system) and Anushka Ashok (Behavioral Scientist & EdTech Specialist). 

While this series, which was organised as a chapter-wise discussion of the book Skinned Knees and ABCs, has ended, we will soon hear a lot more from him on his upcoming book ‘Empathy Driven School Systems’ and the empathy battery he has developed to assess schools. Here are a few highlights from the series. 

Schools As Complex Systems

Schools are highly complex systems and hence cannot be expected to be perfect or reach an equilibrium. The reason why, even Finland, which is credited with the most evolved education systems, has one of the highest student suicide rates.

The Fallacy Of Superlatives

The same school produces the drug lords and the Nobel laureates. Schools that take credit for the Nobel laureate should then also take responsibility for the drug lord. But that’s not the case typically.

Control & Conformity In Schools

When the schooling system started, its primary objective was to provide manpower to the factories. Over time, schools have themselves become like factories producing educated manpower through an assembly line kind of a model, passing from year to year and emerging at the end as a finished product.

How Can We Create Safe Schools

A school is a place where the most vulnerable section of our society – kids – come and spend time under the control and supervision of adults with considerable power and influence. Violence and violations are therefore commonplace in schools. While there are laws, they have limitations, mostly because they are applicable post-facto. The damage is done. More psychologically & emotionally than physically. Schools need to therefore invest heavily in creating a psychologically safe space – where students feel free to say and act without the fear of ridicule or punishment.

This complete series is accessible here.

Download Mentza to create and participate in such conversations that help us learn & grow together. 
Anurag Vaish | Founder Mentza

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