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    Are our children prison inmates?

    “All children must wear I-cards at all times.”
    “If you lose your I-card, you will have to pay a fine.”
    Experienced this?
    School uniforms in India have been a thorny issue since forever. Sometimes they are too western and unsuitable for the weather – a tie and blazer in the hot summers!
    Pinafrocks to cover the growing girls bosom and long skirts to maintain dignity. Or salwar kameez and dupatta because why should we adopt the western dress?
    And as if all this is not enough there is the added need to specify the shoes they must wear bags they must carry.
    To make matters worse there is also an I-card that is issued. And in many bigger schools, there are RFID trackers to keep a tab on where the child is throughout the day.
    Now, while these are meant to be security measures and I am sure they keep things in check, this entire system reminds me of prisons and inmates. Like the inmates the children are expected to be dressed in a particular manner, to wear their tags and ids at all times, and they are always kept track of.
    What has our schooling come down to? And then we wonder why our children are not curious or not happy. Can they really be? Is it possible to be free when since childhood you have been told that your physical safety is at risk?
    The schools alone cannot solve this problem. And they are not evil in issuing I-cards but can’t we have schools where children know each other? Where teachers and adults care for each child irrespective of which class they are from?
    I-cards are symbolic of a malady much deeper. They are not the problem. They simply signify the way our society is built is to keep distrusting each other.
    India has a serious trust deficit and there is no way we can fulfill it till each one of us begins to trust each other a little more at a time.
    Many parents come to our school also and ask if we have I-cards for 3-year-olds. But we h/ave deliberately created a culture at GGIS, where we make it a point to know each other. An I-card does not absolve any of us from our duty towards a child in need. So far it is working wonderfully well, where children or adults don’t see any students as “others” for all belong to our school. We may need it in the future but at this stage and size, we really don’t see the need for it.
    So what do you feel about I-cards or tracking systems being used in schools? Are they a boon or a bane of the modern world?
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