A few years ago, "homeschooling" was virtually unheard of in India. As the name suggests, it is an alternative to schooling at a school. Children are taught at home by their parents or tutors.
Recently Indian parents started to consider homeschooling as an option for their children.
Why this sudden change? Can we say that Indian parents are finally starting to give up on schools and are looking for alternatives? Not really.
The dramatic shift can be attributed to the rising crime rate against children in schools and their neighbourhoods.
The stigma attached to homeschooling has also weakened over time, thanks to many success stories from across the country, which has come into the public domain through online platforms like social media.
Many Indian parents who were apprehensive about homeschooling their children now see it as a viable option for their kids' education, especially following multiple reports of child abuse at schools across the country since 2013. Most of these cases involved children studying at high-profile private schools.
Homeschooling in India
In India, homeschooling has been a growing trend over the last few years because of the increasing privatisation of education. Some parents choose to educate their children at home because they don't like the government schools near their homes or feel that mainstream schools are not meeting the needs of their children.
The 2016-2017 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) by Pratham found that almost 80 per cent of children in rural India attend government schools, and 20 per cent participate in private ones. This is in stark contrast to urban India, where only 13 per cent attend government schools and 87 per cent go to private schools.
Homeschooling is a legitimate alternative for parents who want to educate their children. Still, it is a difficult choice that involves consulting with family members and friends and researching relevant laws and regulations. If you're considering homeschooling your child, here are some considerations:
When it comes to an educational system that doesn't require kids to be in school, states have different policies on homeschooling. The Indian Constitution gives citizens the right to practice any profession or carry on any occupation, trade, or business. But the Right To Education Act 2009 made education between six and 14 years compulsory for all children in India.
Benefits of Homeschooling
Parents who homeschool their children have complete control over what their kids learn, when they learn it, and how they know it.
There are many reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children. Some parents feel that the school environment is not safe or healthy for their children, while others believe that their children have needs that the traditional school setting cannot meet. Still, others do not feel that the school's academic standards are high enough or a good match for their child's abilities and desire to excel. Many families want more flexibility in their lives and schedules than traditional schooling, and homeschooling allows them to be in charge of their learning environment. Whatever the parent's reason for choosing to homeschool, this approach has significant benefits.
Some of the critical benefits that homeschooled kids enjoy are developing necessary thinking skills, which school education does not focus on. Secondly, they are taught to analyse situations and develop solutions based on logic and reasoning. They also tend to become tech-savvy as they use computers, iPads, and other resources as part of the learning process. Thirdly, they develop excellent communication skills as they get a chance to interact with people beyond their family members.
Homeschooling has its advantages, especially for those parents who want to give their children the best education.
What is the actual definition of "education"? Does it mean merely getting good grades and learning new facts? Or is it about becoming a better person or an informed citizen of your country?
Most people assume that children need to attend formal institutions to learn. However, many parents have begun to consider homeschooling an option in recent years. Homeschooling refers to educating one's children at home with the help of specialised curricula and teachers. Nowadays, this option is becoming increasingly popular with parents across India.
Rising Cost of Education
The rising cost of education has become a significant concern for many Indian households. The annual fees for some schools are generally relatively high – even higher than the average yearly salary earned by most families. Given this reality, homeschooling presents an affordable alternative for many Indian parents who want to provide a high-quality education for their kids without breaking the bank.
Parenting trends worldwide have undergone a remarkable change over the last few years. While some parents are still keen on sending their kids to school, others embrace this new homeschooling trend. This was earlier seen as a taboo in Indian society, with worries being expressed about whether it would be possible for parents to provide the same kind of education that schools offer. However, these apprehensions are now being replaced by a sense of curiosity and interest among parents.
Homeschooling is not a new concept in India, but until recently, it was considered an alternative only for exceptional cases. The movement has been gathering steam as more families go beyond conventional schooling options and find creative ways of teaching their children at home or in an informal setting.
The recent spread of this trend can be attributed to parents who want to give their children an environment free from the pressure of competition and examination-based learning. They believe that learning should be more individualised, which can help the child hone their skills better.