Adyar Gopal Parivar
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SMALL FAMILIES AND EDUCATION by
Mohan Shenoy
There is a crisis growing in the lives of
parents and children because of small
families with only one or two children. In the
ancient times there was no birth control
methods available to limit the number of
children a couple can have.  Also there was
joint family system.  A man could depend
upon his sons to provide him food, shelter
and comfort. He could spend his old age in
the company of his children and
grand-children. This provided him respect and
honour.

In the past the only birth control method
available to the couples to limit the number of
children was abstinence.  Many couples in
fact practiced abstinence after 6 to 10
deliveries to not have any more children, but
this was usually rare.  

When there appeared birth control methods
after the 2nd WW, then began the period of
smaller families.  In the years from around
1960 to 1980, tubectomy for women and
vasectomy for men has been used to stop
pregnancy.  Birth Control pills became the
most widely practiced method after this and
now it is not uncommon to find small families.
Finding any couple with more than three
children is rare.

The parents spend their lives to bring up the
children and provide them education so that
when they move out they are able to earn
their livelihood and settle down in comfort in
their lives.  But many of the boys who reach
the age of 14 will stop listening to the advice
of their father.  If the father wants to discipline
his son and make him follow his advice, he
will succeed only if the mother supports him.
But when the child refuses to oblige and tries
to wage a strike then the mother out of
misplaced love for her son, allows the son to
have his say. She will let her son do what he
wants to do. Her love for her son does not let
her see her husband's point of view.  This will
place the son and the mother on one side and
the father on another. This goes against her
husband.  The father is helpless in such a
situation. Ultimately the father ends up losing
his son's and wife's sympathies. If it is a
matter of monetary allowance, then the father
ends up spending all his savings on his son.
But do the children help the parents in their
old age?  Some children do but many do not.  
Once the son gets married, he and his wife
will have so much expenditure that the
responsibility of looking after his parents
becomes too costly for him.  He can not set
aside any money to look after his parents.

This is a situation all of us have to think over.  
We have to bring back our family into a useful
unit for all, but especially for the
grandparents.  

Now the fathers are thinking deeply and
wondering if they should work so hard to
make more and more money to give their
sons an education but in turn get abused and
neglected by the sons in their old age.  

Should they continue with this costly
education by which they are going to end up
losing security of peace and tranquility in their
old age?
If that is the case it is necessary for us to
make specific plan not to fall into this endless
gorge.  We have to reclaim our lives and our
future.

The problem lies not in our sons but in the
system of education we have been following.
At present a child enters a school where the
parent will have to shell out large amount of
money right from the beginning.  For tuition,
for books, for uniform, and for transportation.  
When he completes 8 costly years in school
from standard 1 to 8, he has attained the age
of 14 and learnt how to read and write and all
the useful skills like naming the days of the
week, names of the months in a year, and
add and subtract and multiply and divide
numbers.  He can read books and
newspapers. He learns quite a bit of social
studies, civics, science, history etc. in the
classes 6, 7 and 8.

In the present system of schooling this child
will continue to go to school beyond the
standard 8. He will learn more of the same
thing, like languages, mathematics, social
studies, science. This additional learning is
not required if he is to pursue the profession
or business of his father in the following
pursuits; When the boy or girl has attained
the age of 14 they ready to get training in
these livelihoods of their parents or guardians:

1. Farmers who have small holdings and can
be immensely helped if their son will join them
in increasing the yield and expanding the crop
varieties.

2. Grocery shop, retail and wholesale.

3. Vegetable and fruit market shops.

4. Retail shops dealing in merchandise which
do not require much physical strain such as
those of gift items, cloth, and clothes, books,
bakery, fast food, jewelry, small restaurants,
small fittings and furniture etc.

5. Machine workshops, fabrication services,
painting, masonry, carpentry, arts and crafts,
spinning, weaving, and a host of other
vocations which do not need the education
that is imparted in the classes beyond
standard 8.

I have not listed all the trades and
occupations in which the father is successful,
but had no education beyond standard 8. He
learnt his skills and trade craft from his
parents or guardians initially. He was as
successful as to be able to feed his family and
send his children to school from his earnings.
He will be very pleased if his son of 14 years
of age would come and help him in his farm or
shop. He needs some one who could relieve
him for other engagements such as going to a
doctor, or going on a vacation or pilgrimage.

When a boy or girl of 14 years armed with the
education of 8th standard joins his father in
his business, the parents will teach the child
the intricacies of his farm, or shop, or craft.  
The father's farm becomes their school. This
school is open entire year.

There are no scheduled vacations.  Sunday is
a weekly holiday.  Saturday may or may not
be a half day. This school is closed on festival
and national holidays just like the shops and
establishments.  
Such a student can opt for an annual vacation
if he wishes from 2 to 4 weeks if it is
convenient to both him and his parents or
guardians.  There is ample amount of
freedom in these home-school or shop-school
for both the children and parents.  

Only those students who have such paternal
ambitions as pursuit of their fathers'
occupation should be encouraged to quit
school at this juncture of completion of
elementary school, and be satisfied with what
qualification they attain.  They will however
continue to read books and browse Internet to
learn more about their fathers' trade or
occupation and expand their knowledge
individually.

Presently the computers can help a lot to
acquire knowledge just like the standard text
books. The child will continue to read books
and learn the subjects. He might even appear
for examinations to test his skills and
knowledge. But he is not bound to pass these
examination or attain high marks. Usually the
business grows steadily and speedily once
the child joins. The child will feel secure in his
life because he has already begun earning
his livelihood. The child will also remain
engaged in useful activities and not drift into
hopelessness and insecurity. The sense of
hopelessness comes creeping on the child
when he is an ordinary student and finds it
difficult to pass the exams with good marks.

Most of the students in any school are
average students and are unable to get good
marks to enter high-schools or colleges that
lead them to very attractive professions, such
as a scientist, doctor, engineer, lawyer,
manager, etc. When a child has completed
his 8th standard and  has no option but to join
the classes 9 to 12, he might develop anxiety
as to whether he will succeed in
examinations. He might put in hard work,
make best efforts and struggle. He might find
himself passing the examinations with
average marks so that he will be in a situation
where there is no chance for him to get a
good job or become a scientist, doctor,
engineer, lawyer, manager, etc.,

The above remedy is not for the children of
parents who are in employment, and those
parents who are doctors, lawyers, engineers,
managers in corporate houses etc., These
children will have to pursue education beyond
the standard 8 and later acquire the required
education to select their occupation. They
can not leave school at the age of 14.
The parents and the pupil decide which
occupation or skills-specialization will be
suitable for their child and they will
concentrate upon that particular subject from
IX Class onwards.  
But any child can continue to attend classes
in any subject in order to confirm that he will
specialize in the subject of his choice.

by Mohan Shenoy 12th July 2005
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EDUCATION IN INDIA
EDUCATION IN INDIA
SMALL FAMILIES AND
EDUCATION
by Mohan Shenoy
REFORMS IN EDUCATION SYSTEM IN
INDIA                     
  

Indian government has passed the Right to
Education Act which guarantees education to
children between 6 and 14 years.

I consider that our youngsters are finding it
more and more difficult to get a job or start a
business or trade these days because of the
education they receive.  This makes me
propose a new education system which I call
Shiksha Soothra. abbreviated as
Shiksha-Su.  My Shiksha Su tries to place an
alternative system of education for the
consideration of the government and the
citizens of our great country India.

We have a very good Constitution and we
have a democratic set up.  We can change
the working of our education system in the
interest of progress and happiness of the
citizens.

In the present system of education a student
goes on to study languages, history,
geography, mathematics, social sciences,
chemistry, physics, biology and computer
applications all the way from the nursery
school, kindergarten school, primary school,
secondary school and then different
colleges.  The government tries to make
students go to school and study at least upto
the Xth standard.  When a student completes
the Xth standard he or she is at least 16
years of age.  Children are usually
individualistic from the age of 13 or 14 in that
they form an opinion of their own in many of
the day to day matters and many times they
are realistic and practical.  They imbibe the
thoughts they read, or hear, or watch on the
TV or read in the newspapers.  If they
develop good qualities like honesty,
truthfulness, and follow the advice of their
parents and teachers then they will soon
make up their decision regarding the career
they wish to take up.

But in our system of education we want them
to go on studying upto the Xth class, without
regard to the occupation they wish to take.  
This makes them impatient, and then less
and less interested in true knowledge. True
knowledge escapes them because they
memorise rather than understand the
subjects they learn in the classes. They
memorise these subjects to pass the
examinations held at the end of the year.  In
order to memorise particular topics which are
commonly encountered in the examinations,
they go for tuitions. Many students only
attend the tuitions and not classes. It
becomes more confusing when they have to
go to school but also go for tuition. They
have realized that they can get good marks
only if they take tuitions. This pursuit of high
marks in the examination makes them
memorise the answers to probable questions,
rather than learn the subjects in a practical
and focused way, or in a general and
creative method.

When they realize that what they get from
attending schools and tuitions is to only to
secure high marks and a top rank, then they
will focus their attention in the possible
questions and answers in the subjects.  They
will not have time to expand their horizon of
knowledge and study the subjects in a more
practical way or oriented towards their future
career.

For these students when it comes to
selecting the livelihood for themselves such
as a job or business, then they find that they
are not prepared to join work immediately.
What they have learnt is not suitable to carry
out the tasks of their job. They might need
training on the job or acquire new skills that
they never learnt in the school or college.  
They will have to acquire new and specific
subjects related to their job or business. This
they can accomplish only by studying for
some more years. One or two years might be
required before they can put in full work in
these job positions.

There are so many boys and girls coming out
of the schools and colleges either passing
their examination or failing it and trying to find
some place to work and settle down and not
able to do so because they are not
adequately prepared themselves.  Their
qualification is either too much or it does not
fit the available slots.  Even after the BA
degree, or the MBBS degree or the BE
degree one does not find a suitable position
to join. The parents are unable to chose a
career for their children once the student has
finished his college degree examination and
got a degree.  There are a large number of
factories, a very large number of government
jobs, and many banks, insurance companies,
and so on but only a small proportion of the
students who passed the college degrees
can be accommodated in these places.

This situation has arisen because we ignore
the availability of a large varieties of other
careers. We are not prepared ourselves in
advance for these careers.

Therefore the students must be given a
chance to begin their pursuit of a career quite
early in life, say at the age of 14. After the
VIIIth class and at the age of 14 years the
students must be made to select a school
which will turn them into a well learned and
well trained person to take up the job.  A
child who wants to become a doctor must
begin to read only those portions of the
syllabus in our present IXth to XII class that
relate to becoming a doctor.  A child who
wants to be an electrical engineer must begin
to study only those portions of the syllabus in
our present IXth to XII class that relate to
becoming an engineer.  A commerce career
will require only those portions of the IXth to
XII class syllabus that are connected to being
a bank employee etc.  A student who wishes
to become an agriculturist need not study
beyond VIIIth class.  He can declare that his
school days are over and that he has studied
as much as is needed for becoming a
farmer.  If a farmer's son the only son will
become a doctor then who will look after the
farm which the father nurtured with great
efforts and pain to keep producing food
grains vitally needed by the country?  If a
businessman's only son decides to go for a
government job then who will run the
business when the father is of retiring age?

The parents are responsible for bringing up
their children,  The mother is the first teacher
of her child.  The grandmother or another
female relative usually comes to the help
during delivery and for a few months
following the birth of the child and this person
will also cast an impression on the mind of
the baby.  All those who attend the baby will
also influence the learning process of the
child in its first year and thereafter.  The
intelligence, wisdom and the child-rearing
skills of the mother come into play all this
time and throughout the growth of the child
and the child learns from what happens
around her by seeing, hearing and feeling.

The child is a product of the father and the
mother combined and she is more or less a
copy of the two together.  The genes in the
chromosomes of the child are formed out of
the chromosomes in the father and the
mother.  Therefore the child is often a replica
of the personalities of the parents.

The mother influences more than the father
in the determination of the child's likes and
dislikes.  The mother gives shape to the
thoughts of the child as to her future as she
grows up.

As there is only one child these days in most
of the families, she becomes a very valuable
member and the future of the
nation.                  

This child will have to look after the parents
in their old age, and also inherit the house,
the car, the business, the farm, the factory,
the profession, and the name.  It will be
appropriate for the parents to bring up the
child in such a way that their ambitions about
the future of their child come true.

The child is usually dependent upon the
mother until she begins learning from another
teacher such as in the nursery.  But once the
child grows into a 14 year old she begins to
feel the pressures of her hormones.  These
pressures affect her studies.  There will be
various changes in her body and mind.  Apart
from hunger and sleep she begins to feel
sexual desires.  These feelings can divert the
attention away from her studies and learning.

Parents have to teach their children good
behaviour, truthfulness, kindness, honesty,
and frugality along with building integrity as
they grow up.  Parents should encourage
their children to read good books, engage in
sports, arts, music, drama, and any other
extracurricular activities which they can
support.  They should recognise the
tendency in their adolescent children to
spend money for wrong causes, and try to
keep the children away from such bad habits.

Parents are often handicapped due to their
weak economical or cultural and educational
backgrounds.  Also many parents can not
spare enough time to watch their children
because of pressure of their jobs, businesses
or other engagements.  It is during the years
of class 9 to 12 that the children drift into bad
habits and bad company.  The parents
should look out for any setback in the
progress in her studies.  The child's
education should progress in a way suitable
for her to take up the chosen career.

Mohan Shenoy 12th July 2005
Question from an aspirant

I am doing my final MBBS now and
I wanted some advice from you
regarding my future education. I
want to know if it is worth going
abroad for higher medical
education or is it better in India?  
Had you done your MD in India or
the US and did you have to give
any exams after going there. What
is the procedure to apply for MD in
the US. What exams do we need to
give n are there any scholarships.  
How much would be the
approximate expenses.  
I am interested in Medicine
Paediatrics and Ophthalmology.   
Whats the scope for them in the US
and which are the good
universities. Do you have any
information about the USMLE or
any books or material I can refer to.
Is there any website I can get info
from.
Do u have any acquaintances in
the US who can guide me
regarding this

I will try to answer your questions
(see below)
Q. Is it worth going abroad for
higher education or is it better in
India?
A. Higher education is good in both
USA and in India, and one is not
better than the other.

Q. Had you done your MD in India
or the US?
A. I had not done MD in India
before going to USA.  The MD in
USA is not a college degree, but
only a license as a practicing
doctor.  After passing a recognised
examination of either US or foreign  
university you can not practice in
any state of USA unless you
register with the Medical Board of
the state where you wish to
practice.  
If you get registered with any state
medical board then you get to be
called 'Aparna Mandvekar MD' and
not just Dr. Aparna Mandvekar'.  
Each state like California,
Pennsylvania, Texas etc., requires
the doctors practicing within its
borders to get registered with its
Medical Board and then add the
post-fix MD to his name and begin
practicing according to the rules
and regulations laid down by the
state Medical Board.

The Medical Boards of each state
in USA have their own procedure to
give registration or as they say the
license to practice medicine and
the letters MD as a post-fix.  Once
you get a registration in any one
state then other states may or may
not make you pass any tests or
interview you; New York State
medical board may give license to
practice if you already have the
license of California.  But the
California medical board may not
give you license even if you have
the New York state license, unless
you pass one or two tests and an
oral test conducted by the
California state medical board.

Raghu Bandin MD may or may not
have done post-graduate course
such as the American speciality
Board Examination of US or the MD
qualification of Indian Universities.  
You can not distinguish a GP from
a consultant by noting the post-fix
MD to the name of the doctor in
USA.  Because, both will have the
post-fix MD which only indicates
that the person is a registered
medical practitioner.

MD post-fix in USA is not a
post-graduate degree but only a
symbol stating that the person is a
registered medical practitioner.  If
you wish to state in your visiting
card that you are a consultant then
you state that you are 'a Diplomate
of the American Board of
Pathology' or 'a Diplomate of
American Board of Ophthalmology'
etc.  Some people simply add the
letters D.A.B.Path., or D.A.B.Opth.,
etc.  These Board diplomas are
obtained after certain years of
training in the position of houseman
or registrar and passing a series of
examination conducted by the
speciality board.

The MD qualification in India is a
post-graduate degree obtained
after a certain period of additional
study and examinations after the
basic MBBS degree.

Q. Did you have to give any
examination after going there?
A. I went to USA during the
Vietnam War in 1968.  At that time
USA had acute shortage of
doctors.  The US government set
up an agency called ECFMG and
conducted examinations in India
and other countries to select some
doctors for immigration to USA on a
temporary basis.  Any one who
passes a 2 hour ECFMG test at
that time could get a position to
work in any hospital in any state in
USA.  He can only work either as
an intern or a resident doctor and
not practice independently.
When I was still in the fourth year of
MBBS (1964) I took the ECFMG
test and passed it.  I got the
ECFMG certificate.  But I did not go
to USA until I passed the final
(1965) and then completed my
internship (1966) and got married
(1966 December), and then set up
general practice cum clinical lab in
Mangalore (Jan 1967).
Preethi was born on 26 September,
1967, exactly 10 months after I and
Lalitha got married (26-12-1966).  
So after I decided in Jan 1968 that I
will go to work in USA for a few
years, I wrote an application to only
one hospital. I applied for internship
in a hospital in Chicago
(Resurrection Hospital) which gave
the maximum salary as per a list
published in a book made available
in American Study centers located
in Mumbai and Chennai etc.  The
list gave details of thousands of
hospitals in all states offering
positions for foreign doctors in USA.
MY IMPRESSIONS ABOUT
MEDICAL PROFESSION IN U.S.A.
AS IN 2005


I got an appointment letter
immediately from the hospital of my
choice first by telegram and then by
post.  I simply had to go to the
American consulate in Chennai
(then Madras) and apply for a visa.  
The visa I got was a so called J1
visa which is exchange visitor visa.  
I applied for the visa in the morning
and the J1 visa was stamped on my
passport page in the evening.  I left
for Mumbai same day (July 5, 1968)
by air with Lalitha and baby Preethi
(aged 9 months) from Chennai and
directly by Air India to New York.  
Another plane took me to Chicago.  
I started working from next day.  
There were no other examinations
for the next five years when I went
through one year of internship and
four years of pathology residency.

Q. What is the procedure for
applying for MD in the USA?  What
exams do we need to give and are
there any scholarships?
A. Now there is a shortage of
doctors in rural areas of some
states in USA where they will take
foreign doctors knowing English
well and having knowledge of
medical services in USA.  But this is
only for those doctors who are
already in USA as some or other
kinds of immigrants.  So if you can
land in USA legally in some way or
other then you can apply for
internship of one year in any rural
hospital, and one or two years of
residency and then take the medical
board tests and get your MD.  You
do not have to go to any college for
this and there will be adequate
salary given to you when you work
as intern or resident.  You might be
asked to take one or more
examinations either USMLE II or III
or III only depending upon the
urgency for the hospital to appoint
you.
For a foreign medical graduate
(FMG) not already in USA the first
thing to do is to pass the USMLE
examination no. I and then II and
then III and then get an appointment
in any hospital for internship or
residency and go to USA with a
work visa H1b etc.  USMLE tests
are not held in India as far as I know.

They are held in Singapore and
Malayasia until the last time I heard
about them.
After you begin to work there you
can take the tests of the medical
boards and  pass the tests required
by the state medical board such of
California state for MD license and
you will be able to practice medicine
anywhere within the borders of that
state, as soon as you get the MD
license.  Of course you finish your
contract with the hospital for the
internship or residency before you
change the job or begin private
practice.
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Q. What is the procedure for applying for MD
in the USA?  What exams do we need to give
and are there any scholarships?
A. As I said there is no need to study in a
university once you pass the USMLE
examinations to gain internship or residency
posts in a hospital and therefore there is no
question of scholarship requirement since
you will be paid a good salary so that you
can live fairly well during these posts.
You do not need scholarship to get your MD
license.

Q. How much would be the approximate
expenses?
A. Expenses for education in USA is nil once
you pass the USMLE I, II, and III which you
take in Singapore or Malayasia.  To take
these examinations in these centers involves
the expenses of travel, accommodation and
food during the examinations.  That is all.  
There will be plenty of expenses for postage
for application etc.

Q. I am interested in Medicine, Paediatrics
and Ophthalmology.  What is the scope for
them in USA and which are the good
universities?
A. There is very good scope for Medicine,
Paediatrics and also for Ophthalmology in
USA.
By Mohan Shenoy
Adyar Gopal and Radha Bai
see in the magazines are good universities.  
Top medical universities are Yale and
Harvard.  

Any university is good because every
university has to maintain a standard under
the government rules.  And the standards are
very high and the license of the university is
cancelled if the standard is not maintained.
But for a doctor no university education is
needed.  The FMG has to pass the USMLE
tests and undergo 2 or 3 years of training in
a hospital to get the MD license and enter
practice.

Q. Do you have any information about
USMLE and any books or material I can refer
to or any website I get info from?
A. You can get all the information you need
about these matters from websites such as
http://www.usmle.org
This website would probably have all the
material and information you need about
USMLE. More websites are listed within this
website to
help you.
I hope you got answers to your questions but
I know this is not enough.
You can ask me for any clarification by
writing an email to shenoylab@hotmail.com.
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