On Tuitions and Global Warming-Karachi Getting the Straight A Treatment

You don’t need an introduction to the tuition wave in Karachi. It’s in your classroom, it’s in your face, it’s on your dining tables and lets not beat around the bush – it could be you. It isn’t healthy which is why I’m describing it like some sort of deadly sci-fi epidemic. In the KGS(karachi grammar school) alone, we’ve got seven sections of approximately 26 children each. Out of these 182 children, you know and I know that around 60 percent are down with tuition syndrome /compulsive tuition taking disorder/tuition fever. That’s 109 children per class, from KGS alone.

This scares me sometimes.

When the majority of the class are tuition-takers, it’s hard for teachers to gauge exactly how well students are performing without extra help. In other words, it’s hard for a teacher to tell whether teaching methods being put to practice in class are successful. a teacher will find it hard to improve on lessons. Students who aren’t taking extra help may also begin feel stupid and run out of hope sooner than they ought to since the rest of the class seems to be way ahead without even trying. But we can get around problems like that, and we have been. We’re lucky to have some teachers who’ll go to great lenghts to counter such problems, and to help us with work. A lot of the time these school teachers do give us a lot more help than the school timetable allows, (and not all of us are fast learners) which is why, some way or the other people are able to bridge the “I’m not taking tuitions, what about you?” gap. Help is given to those who need it in school .

Unfortunately, not taking that help, or simply discarding the option as ‘not good enough’ seems to be a popular choice. The alternative – tuitions. 

When speaking of tuiton centers or tutors (it’s almost like a lifestyle thing now) studying is shoved into a remote corner. More important are words like: ‘hang out,’ ‘AFTER tuitions,’ and the worst of the lot 

‘GUARANTEES A’s’  

Makes you wonder, gone are the days when people studied out of curiosity. and whats an ‘A’ these days? It’s a farce. It’s the norm. A ‘B’ is an ‘F’ and the rest is history. This is abnormal. A B should certainly not be an F. What is sad, is that anything that anyone does in school these days is a means to a specific end that is the same for almost everyone: college apps and credits. Film society members will not love film, they’ll love CREDITS. Philosophy society members won’t be thinkers they’ll be thinkers on CREDITS. This makes no sense what so ever, sticking your finger into every societies pie really won’t help. No one cares if your one of those annoying people who wants to force his/her way into e v e r y t h i n g whether you like it or not. For credits. CREDITS? Do you really think?  

Also, it’s a pity that to find yourself a comfortable position in this ridiculous social cycle, you’d probably have to take tuitions. There’s no way in hell too many people are going to find time for you otherwise. Tuitions is where you meet people, make friends, fight with people, make enemies, eat, sleep and – . Little time is left in which to muck around. Mucking around being an integral part of life especially when you’re between the ages of 11 and 40. Everything is done with concrete purpose, its almost robotic, and daft. So with insane time restraints you have 13 year old’s finding solace in the label on their top and the brand name on their shoes which really isn’t on. You also have illegal 13 year old drivers trying to soup up their cars, this is pre-mature and hazardous. And if you don’t, you will. 

Tutors aren’t the bad guys.They’re not villains over here. There will always be people to whom tuitions are entirely justified and who require the extra help despite paying attention in class. And fair enough, as long as they’re making the effort.

What’s wrong is phrases like “I’m not coming to school, I have to study.”

Can you blame people for thinking that the world’s coming to an end?

Or maybe Pakistan should replace Marks and Spencers cheese from its import bill, and replace it with b r a i n s . Perhaps school libraries should start keeping the idiots guide to using your brain, or working on your own (or this could go on). But wait-who the hell goes to the school library anyway? That’s sad as well. Reading is synonymous with having nothing better to do.

Which according to me, is rubbish. Also, most of the time, socially accepted books include: anything by John Grisham, Sydney Sheldon or the Da Vinci code and all of Dan Brown’s other (crap?) books. Everything else manages to get into neat but infantile categories like “weird,” “intellectual” and “RANDOM.”

But why is this all worrying. It’s none of my business what you want to do in class or at home, or what you want to read or listen to. The sad part is, even while many people are happy remaining blissfully ignorant of the pressure they’re tuition oriented lifestyle puts on other people, it’s not only study related. I know loads more people than my fingers (and toes) can count who drive for miles and miles to they’re tutors covering ridiculous distances at the stupidest times, each in separate cars. whats that doing to the air? What’s it doing to the traffic situation. At rush hour people getting home from work  are now joined by a whole load of teenagers getting to and back from tuitions. Traffic congestion is a major cause of air pollution. Is the 7 p.m. crowd really necessary. Or can some of those cars be removed from the scene if only their owners paid attention in school? 

There was this incident that really put me off before the O level exams:

It isn’t common to see people on the road at 5 am. That’s the time nature gets a break from human beings. When the streets sigh with relief because they aren’t carpeted by a hundred cars for 10 people, and when the air smells smoke free (for a bit). Not anymore. THAT 5 am a few people on the road we’re surprised to see another few people on the road at an hour like that. A closer look told them that the others, like themselves, were on their way to some tuition class. Tuition X-tra/tuition X treme /added tuition time. A few minutes later and an entire convoy of tuition goers was on the road at 5 15 am, depriving this over-overworked city from its much needed rest. Eating up the silence with their engines, and giving the precious few trees something extra to chew on (or clean up). Is it fair for the early morning (and late night) tuition posse to ruin it for everyone else. animals also? Is 109 grammarian toyota corollas on the road from 3 -4; 5 -6; and 7 -9 p.m not enough for a single day?

There’s another little problem with a routine like this. That’s the question of “where do we eat?”

Teenagers taking more than three tuitions end up eating out loads more than other and this isn’t in a ‘privelaged eating out’ way its in an ‘unhealthy’ one. Where’s the trash getting to? It’s going out the window isn’t it? Don’t tell me that one hundred and nine kids put empty wrappers, cups and ketchup packets in their pockets to take to a trash can. Unfortunately, that’s plain unbelievable. I’m scared we’ll reach a point where a person can follow empty happy meal boxes to the nearest tuition center.

In essence, whats going on here? >> 

(a) “Trash the planet and get straight A’s?”

OR

(b) “Sleep in school, do well later?”

OR maybe, 

(c) “Screw it up for them – you have a tutor?”

“None of the above” is definitely an option. Now you choose.

Farhad Mirza FY 

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  1. #1 by Akbar S. Ahmed X-S on November 6, 2006 - 5:33 pm

    FINALLY someone’s writing about this. I agree with you strongly, and your fantastic expression makes the article even better. I’d like to get involved with the society; who should I talk to?

  2. #2 by Akash on November 23, 2006 - 11:18 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. And the sad part is that, because of tutions people who dont deserve a C if it was the last thing on earth get A’s while those who are brilliant but dont go for tuitions often miss out. I guess its all become about the tips and tricks of attempting your exams which i suppose tuitions teach you. Anyways, what can be done, life is unfair, even if we wish it wasnt.

  3. #3 by PR on June 18, 2008 - 7:32 pm

    I liked what you mentioned about libraries. But leave alone good books, we hardly have any libraries in the city, and not every school is privileged with a well-stocked library. Be thankful if you do.

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