Through her columns and books, Neha Hiranandani has been creating awareness about the dos and don’ts of shaping young minds. “Let our children break away from the herd and pursue their passions and not just the ‘highest scoring’ subject,” she wrote in a 2016 column. She based this argument on a staggering statistic: as many as 95% of high school students receive private tutoring in Indian metros.
Neha Hiranandani understands the problems in the When you give children enough time and choice in learning, they reward you with their attention and enthusiasm. But in India a lot of emphasis is placed on excelling in exams, which means students are forced to focus on a few subjects. They are also burdened with attending not just school lessons but hours of tuition classes in the evenings and weekends. Some commentators have called attention to how learning has become a source of pain rather than pleasure for children. Among them is the author Neha Jhalani Hiranandani.
education landscape well. While studying English literature and international relations at Wellesley, and education policy at Harvard after that, she gained knowledge on development issues and gender equity. She later began her career at UNICEF, where she worked with government and civil society to positively influence education policy for Indian schools. Back in India, the writer spoke at length to students who corroborated how exhausting and demotivating their schedule was. It is urgent to address this, she has noted, backing up her fears with another important indicator — the high rate of suicide among young people linked to failure in examination.
Not just the weight of tutoring, students also lack learning materials that ignite their imagination. That fire needs to come from beyond the classroom and curriculum. It is why the author has not simply stopped with commenting on the issue but has written two books that will help parents and children bond over learning. The first, Girl Power: Indian Women Who Broke the Rules, showcased stories of women achievers so young girls and boys could learn about more women role models from India.
“With 2 daughters of my own, I’ve never doubted girl power but these stories really exemplify women rising. Fantastic new book to inspire the next generation. They’ll hear the stories of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Indra Nooyi but also the important untold stories of women like Manju Devi,” industrialist Anand Mahindra had tweeted in praise, naming the book among his top must-read books.
Her next book, iParent: Embracing parenting in the digital age, recognised that the current generation of parents is raising children in the digital age. Children are learning and growing using the internet as a guide at every step of the way. This has both benefits and pitfalls. As such, parents need to exchange notes and collect wisdom about their children’s constant companion that they can turn to. With the second book, like her first, Neha Hiranandani’s hope is to create opportunities for stress-free education and upbringing.
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