THE TUNING UP

THE TUNING UP

One may think what is this topic?
Those with cars and sedans and bikes will look at this in a totally different angle. Simply put an overhauling of their vehicles which they use, before and after a long trip. The meaning is to keep it going in a smooth manner even if there are potholes and all the hurdles that can be an impediment on its route that harm their life.
Now this word has taken a different ‘avatar’ in the education corridors, especially at the tuition centers where some ‘specialized teachers’ are plenty who do this special treatment, tuning up the students. The most often spelt out words by parents, mothers to be in the top list, living totally in a pseudo intellectual world.
Sitting in the Management meetings, I could gather many words from their business talks. But this tuning up is a very special for me after my retirement and after starting a career in taking tuitions and teaching differently abled children.
The present century is highly competitive in nature, in the field of education. We have reached a level to offer any degree to a new born child! We have really tuned up! The good old days of reopening the schools after the summer months, say, in June have disappeared. It has almost become round-the-clock activity, no, a business. The B schools and E-education have mushroomed en masse’ and in between the entrance and exit tests ,the GRE,TOEFEL etc; to get away from this country and to add to it the ‘great counseling’. A real life Casino with jingling of coins or the hissing of note counting machines and nothing less than that!
Just like super specialty hospitals, now we have super specialty schools and colleges, right from LKG, or for that matter prenatal admission. These institutions are well tuned up to squeeze the purse and even all the movable and immovable properties of the parents.
Just coming to the topic.
The other day I happened to hear the ‘very serious ‘dialogue between two mothers who were waiting with their children at the gate for the school van. I know it is a bad habit to overhear such dialogues but was compelled as most of it will be comparing schools and teachers and the fees and facilities in the schools. A total pietra dura work.
One boy, who was not at all in this world! He was swirling the body and hands, and I could immediately trace out what this disease is! He was playing cricket! Without the bat! In the air he hits and he feels happy that the ball has disappeared beyond the boundaries! I had heard in my days about Gary Sobers hitting the ball out of the pavilion roof.
The mother was telling the other about his achievements. Very smart, and she called him by name Sachin! May be Santhana Gurukula Gopalakrishnan!He came close to her and she caressing his hair hinted that he needs only a tuning up in maths and rest he is a replica of Ramanujan. When I asked him where the centre of gravity in a triangle is, he blinked. Then her mother asked me a question. Are you taking tuition? When my answer was in affirmative, she asked again with the word, can you teach him, he needs only a tuning up.
Later I could trace the meaning of tuning up. Without fees or for a paltry sum what they dictate. On the first day I could make out the boy needed a complete overhaul. A real and tight Screwing up. Apart from Sachin and sixer and an I-pod, he has nothing in his brain! And of course a mobile phone! The parents backed out when asked for an advance payment.
The parents of tuning up will be willing to pay any amount to the school as fees, donation, capitation, extortion etc whatever the head of account, but are very reluctant and very calculative in the case of paying the tuition teachers. Their chronometer will tick the nano seconds!They will talk in ‘packages’ and hourly and a lot for that short span of 15 days before the exams, during which period the teacher has to run at break neck speed. For them their ward is a wizard! The parents of these tuning up will come and knock at the door of a tuition teacher at the eleventh hour when their school teacher has washed off his hands and they expect the tuition teacher to swing his magic wand and thrust the indigestible into his brain like thrusting Pizza with a Coke! Again counting the copper. When I asked the parents why they did not ask the teacher in the school, no answer. Their child will be out! The false prestige of having a ‘smart child’.
Parents are not ready to accept the real weight of the brain of their children. They are also in a wrong notion that only a very few schools are reputed, totally forgetting the alma mater they had studied. They are ready to shell out money and the institutions have understood this weakness and taking advantage of it. Actually they are spraying mud on the parents’ eyes. In reality, 1+1 is equal to 2 in all the schools, if learnt and taught properly. Unfortunately the service became a business and in the business, profit is the only aim and target. The institutions are playing at nine pins and the parents are mere kegelens in front of the institutions. For them 1+ 1 is many.
Again I was shocked to hear an announcement through the public address system from the dais in a hall where parents have gathered with their wards for admission. No Daddy or Mummy, Only DD is required to be paid. For the convenience of students, many counters are opened to collect the DD! It was just like the many food stalls sprouting up at Marina during festival days! The institutions have tuned up very well now days.
So tuning up is a catch word in the hands of big educational Institutions and organized tuition centers to attract the students and a blunt weapon in the hands of the parents to trap a tuition teacher. Be cautious with these sweet in tongue parents. Collect the full fee for the entire academic year and then start the classes. Never think of collecting at the end. It will be a dead end. Most of the parents will TURN YOU down. You are tuned.
Dated 10th April 2014

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