Mumbai girl Malvika Joshi is an unusual case of a really clever student who was spurned by the top institutions of her own country for not receiving formal or structured ‘education’ but whose merit was recognised by a foreign college; one widely regarded as being among the top universities in the world. Malvika was home schooled from class VIII onwards but has now won herself an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge Massachusetts) scholarship.
Her mother Supriya decided to withdraw Malvika from school when she was in class VII. “We are a middle-class family. Malvika was doing well in school but somehow I felt that my children need to be happy. Happiness is more important than conventional knowledge,” felt Supriya. While Malvika explored many different subjects, she paid more attention to programming because this is where her interests as well as talent lay. As a result, she did not take her class X or XII as other Indian students of her age do.
She managed to get admission into the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI) M Sc. Course because of how knowledgeable she was in her subject. Malvika has won three medals at the International Olympiad of Informatics (the programming Olympics); two silver and one bronze. Since MIT accepts medal winners of the various Olympiads (computer, maths, physics) she was accepted into that premier institution.
She is brilliant but she is not a product of the ‘system’. Not having gone through the grind of class ten and twelve board exams, she doesn’t have the requisite formal credentials and school certificates to apply for admissions to colleges of higher learning in India.
We do hear of gifted children in other countries skipping grades, completing school and enrolling for higher learning earlier than their contemporaries. This is almost never the case in India. The same red tape that we have to contend with in other spheres of life has to be dealt with in the Indian education system as well. Rigid rules and requirements are in place that thwart talent and fail to reward merit.
It is true that brilliant Indians often do not have the prospects and opportunities at home that they would hope to find abroad. They cannot expect the same sort of rewards because much time and energy is expended merely in battling the system. Surely the ‘system’ should help and not hinder?
Do you have something interesting you would like to share? Write to us at [email protected]