An alternative approach to education, homeschooling is fast becoming popular worldwide. India is also becoming curious about how this way of learning outside defined school education parameters can help the all-around development of their children. It is pertinent to note that in homeschooling, guardians or parents are responsible for the education of their wards compared to institutions in traditional education set-up. Parents have all the freedom to decide what and how to teach their children and may not necessarily follow a set curriculum of any education board. If they feel that the approach taken by a school is not in alignment with a child’s needs, they may choose not to enrol their children in schools. In the past few years, homeschooling in India is getting a lot of traction among open-minded parents who want the best for their children and do not want them to learn or gain knowledge as per a set curriculum.
Homeschooling in India
For the unversed, homeschooling is not the latest trend or idea. It has been in existence for many years now and is gradually becoming more prevalent. Although there are no statistics for the number of homeschooled children in the country, cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, etc., have the largest homeschooling communities. It is prudent to mention that the concept of homeschooling in India was initially introduced to help and guide specially-abled children who could not do without parental support. Gradually, with growing concerns about stringent education system, child abuse, bullying, inefficient teaching practices, following a set pattern of education, and lack of encouragement to children who wished to build a career outside of academics, homeschooling gradually gained strength in India.
Unregulated by Government Authorities
Homeschooling is gaining a lot of importance in India, particularly in metropolitan areas, Mumbai, Pune, and Bangalore. Although the concept is gaining a lot of attention in India, presently it is not regulated by any government authority. Thus, homeschoolers are not registered with authorities or government agencies. Usually, homeschoolers follow the curriculum of their state or CBSEC curriculum. Homeschooled children can appear for board exams conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling, NIOS or International General Certificate of Secondary Education, IGCSE. The latter is a globally recognized qualification for secondary students.
Legal Framework for Homeschooling
Parents homeschooling their children are left confused with the coming up of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. This law focuses on teacher qualifications, infrastructure, and government recognition. It is necessary for all schools to comply with these three principles. The homeschooling parents are confused because RTE doesn’t consider homeschooling in the definition of school. As a result, homeschooling fails to get due recognition from the government.
There is a growing consensus among homeschoolers that the Right to Education infringes on their freedom to choose education mode. There has been a demand for amendment in the act to bring homeschooling within the ambit of law and consider it as an approved mode of education. As per the government spokesperson, RTE Act is formulated to ensure every Indian child receives compulsory and free education in school, but if a parent decides not to send his child to school, there is going to be no interference from the government. This compulsion is placed on the state and not on the parents. Parents are free to decide if they want to teach their children at home instead of sending them to a school.
Homeschooling- A Concept Gaining Traction
The past couple of years with the entire world reeling under the impact of ongoing pandemic also made parents look up to homeschooling as a promising concept to ensure all-round development. Children of the country were forced to study from home and after a few initial glitches, the system found an even ground. This period also witnessed a growth in edtech companies that catered to the curricula of various state boards. Even when things were normal, children and their parents relied on these online platforms to understand complicated concepts in an easy to understand manner. With the easy availability of innovative digital learning methods, it became easier for the children to complete their syllabus, understand concepts, and study at their own pace.
Why is homeschooling considered by Indian parents?
More and more Indian parents are curious about homeschooling in India. There are many reasons behind this shift in their thinking. The major reason behind this change is the increasing rigidity in the formal education sector, which is becoming very unaccommodating. On the contrary, homeschooling has the scope and space to nurture every child’s potential and pave the way for all-round development. At 21K School, India’s first online only school, the focus is not just to give a child a conducive environment to excel in studies but also to give enough time and encouragement to explore many possibilities in life and be more.
Parents are able to customise their child’s academic learning and hone their skills in multiple areas. The child is able to give greater attention to details which helps in strengthening conceptual foundations and better understanding. Homeschooling also allows a child’s needs to be taken into consideration. Children are given full freedom to grow at their own pace without rushing through the course. Moreover, the freedom and flexibility to find one’s own interest areas and work on it makes the entire journey enjoyable. Since homeschooling is free from a formalized educational approach, the child is not seen as lagging behind. There is ample time to cope up with complex topics and learn at his own pace.
Having decided to homeschool for their child, the parents can take subsequent steps to complete the admission process for homeschooling. It is important to ensure that the school is affiliated with any of the open learning boards. The student must have the freedom to pursue learning in their personal space. Once these decisions are taken, the child can proceed with his education and simultaneously focus on developing and honing their skills in other fields.
The amazing benefits of homeschooling is making this concept widely accepted by parents in India. Presently, it is popular in several metropolitan cities, but expected to permeate tier II cities in a very short time.