Saturday, July 8, 2017

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

8th July 2017

From the Principal’s Desk

As we live in times of breaking news on TV, unauthentic reports in newspapers, news bites from WhatsApp and Facebook, let us take a pause and reflect.
What Happened!
In Hyderabad, Police catch drug peddlers. Investigations reveal that young people from 13 years of age are their clients. They are either school going or college going students.

A Telugu newspaper prints names of 18 schools in the city saying that students from these schools are drug addicts.
 So craftily written that it appears like schools are crime zones!
( Police statement says students of schools and colleges, not any names. But Andhrajyoti – a telugu newspaper prints a list of schools without any scruples about its’ authenticity, or the impact of such yellow journalism.)

As a precautionary measure and advice, IG Police of the respective department sends an official letter to all schools in the city.
(The letter does not say that students of your school are caught- it only says, be alert)

And all hell breaks loose after that!

Reactions of people

·    Calls to schools pour in as if they are answerable to this crime.

·    Messages on whatsapp fly at the speed of light.

·    One school owner circulates a message to his parent community that his school is holy and his students need to be protected from 1000 drug addicts of these 18 impure schools! What levels people can stoop to sell themselves!

·    Within 2 hours, people want to know the action plans of schools. Even though people and schools got to know the news at the same time.

·    Letter to one particular school was circulated on whatsapp as if a state secret is revealed. Anything for news bites!

·    And a counselor begins self promotion mails that he can be the cure to all these ills.

 People had a field day for about 10 hours.         The day’s quota of dopamine is activated.
Well, the next day is another day! Hopefully with another scoop or they can retire into oblivion with sunshine messages or some forwards.

Whatever happened to rational thinking?  Common sense is certainly getting scarcer by the day.

Before the good wears the shoe, bad travels around the world and comes back !

Media  Schools and People
 Interestingly Hyderabad media, particularly the print media, is so ready to print negative news on private schools- prominently. I am yet to see them taking the same interest in talking about the community development schools take up. Or the innovation in educational programs which groom contributors to the society.

May be such news is not worth sharing or may be there are no takers for positive news.

Lakhs of students study in the private schools of Hyderabad. They bring laurels to the city and country. People who run these schools work day and night to make a difference. But these people are neither talked about nor validated.

Private schools and particularly ‘international schools’ are portrayed as if they are money making machines. Not a word about the world of learning they create to give the best to children.

Schools neither encourage drug sales or drug addicts nor stay oblivious to students’ erratic behavior. Moreover information flow in schools is so active that no news of this kind will get ignored. But people don't see the obvious.

Moreover, what children do after they leave the school, is the responsibility of parents and society.

Schools can only teach values and academics. But parents and society need to be watchful of what is happening out there. One cannot just lamely watch and talk only when the hell breaks loose.

New lessons

Interestingly, with each passing year, the cautions we have to take and the lessons we have to give are changing.

Besides safety, security and power of saying ‘NO’, rational and responsible thinking should also be a lesson worth learning.

How to sieve, filter and be sensible in assimilating news, and what news is worth sharing and what is worth ignoring is another attitude worth developing at all ages.
Sharing of ill information is like sharing our ignorance and adding to the existing chaos.

Reactions and responses of people in complex situations are true indicators of their mindsets and personalities.

There is a great need for matured, intelligent, rational members of society who add value and not let others devalue.

Silver Oaks and this news
Amidst the mindless frenzy, we at Silver Oaks have chosen to stay calm and sensible. We teach our students to be proactive, balanced and reflective. And that's what we did.

For 15 years we groomed children with character and competence. Nearly 3000 students passed out and 3000 more are now studying in the school.

One news report cannot damage our heritage nor can it dampen our spirits.

But what really lifted our spirits are the messages and calls from our parent community, alumni and well-wishers  saying ‘we are with you’ .

Summing it up, Silver Oaks stands tall and proud with silver shining in everything it does.