COC discussion: Need for Alternate Education

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Chat Over Coffee (COC) is an intellectual platform where individuals voice their personal opinions in a strong yet innocuous tone. This wonderful venture of CSA aims to sensitize Christites on various social issues.

The topic of discussion for the last COC was ‘Need for Alternate Education’. As the initially lukewarm discussion gathered momentum, participants found themselves in the midst of an intense argument.

The discussion opened with a conversation on what the participants thought alternate education meant. It came down to a unanimous agreement that the term encompasses student-friendly education.

Later the discussion moved on ­­­to why alternate education is not being implemented widely. The views that were put forth shed light on the societal misconception that alternate schooling is meant for children with special needs.

This realization moved the conversation to other spheres, such as perfect life and how alternate schooling does not pose enough academic challenges to its students. Alternate education is often ‘anti-competitive’; thus, when encountered with the real world—a world driven by competition where success is assessed by marks alone—its students find it hard to adapt to it.

This raised questions about the practicality of alternate education. One of its characteristics is the low student-teacher ratio. When there are so many students and so few teachers, how can alternate education be more widely implemented? How can one teacher pay equal attention to so many students?

The session later discussed the special skills alternate education equips its students with. Participants expressed their views about the importance of nurturing and perfecting extra-curricular skills, how alternate education gives these ample importance, and the reasons why these are looked down upon in mainstream education.

The session gave way for an open-ended conclusion, as it is the COC spirit to ‘agree to disagree’. The participants accepted that although alternate education system is advantageous is many ways, it is not pragmatic to be applied on a large scale, making its standardization difficult.

–Raunaq N.S, I CEP

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