“I want to go to IIT and become a computer engineer ,” said 13-year-old Shivangi Das from Somerville school. Three of her friends sitting beside her shake their heads vigorously in agreement. It might be early days for IIT dreams, but these eighth-graders disagree. “We have known about engineering colleges since class 5. We need to start preparing now to achieve our goals,” she added.
A far cry from the ‘we-don’t-need-no-education’ rebels, students in Noida are smart and almost eerily focused. Staggering Delhi University cut-offs have increased competition and its evil partner, pressure. Many students are looking to hedge their risks. “Even though I want to be an English lecturer when I grow up, studying science in class 12 is a smart choice since that way I will have more options,” said Ragini, a class 9 student at DPS, Noida.
Blackboards are not enough anymore. Students look forward to smart classrooms, where concepts and theories come to life in 3-D. “I love it when the teacher uses the smart board in class. It looks really cool, like one is watching a movie!” says Binish Abbas, a class 7 student at the newly opened branch of G. D Goenka school in Noida.
Many of the demands, though, remain the same. Juggling tuitions and school hours is still a tight-rope walk and perhaps that is why, students want schools to step in with extra coaching classes to help train for various entrance examinations.
Students also want personal attention. Classrooms are increasingly becoming smaller and children no longer feel lost in the crowd. “I used to study in Bangalore, where the class had 72 kids. The teacher didn’t even know your name. Here, I am in a class with less than 30 students and everyone feels special,” said Shreya Kaul, a class 12 student at Lotus Valley International.