Published: 20th March 2018
Don't want my poems to be taught in a flawed education system: Balachandran Chullikkadu
The poet from Kerala was appalled with how lightly corrections and basic spelling and grammar are dealt with in the education system
Malayalam poet Balachandran Chullikkadu on Monday came down heavily on Kerala's education system and ‘requested’ the syllabus committees of various universities and school boards to stop teaching his poems. He harshly criticised the boards that give high marks and degrees to students who don’t even know letters and grammar of the Malayalam language.
“The appointments are made based on political and financial factors. The talent or proficiency of teachers is not evaluated. Most of them see this only as a source of income and not passion. If that was the case, they would've been more careful about each kid and avoided mistakes. A researcher of my poem had once sent me a questionnaire. The sad thing was that it had a lot of spelling mistakes and the questions themselves seemed meaningless,” said Chullikkadu.
The current provocation, in the poet's own words, is “Recently I went to a university programme where I was going to recite a poem of mine which the students requested. A student of MA Sanskrit handed over a paper which had spelling mistakes no student in an MA class should make. It goes to show she was never corrected in all her years of education. What does it say about the teachers and education system?”
He asserts it is not the first time he has come across the severe flaws in the education system. However, his optimism and hopes seem to have finally waned. Chullikkadu also said teachers tend to say spelling mistakes can be ignored to an extent.
“Spellings change the meaning of a word. If we take ‘l’ out of the world 'public', it would mean something else entirely. How can one justify that spellings aren't important? I want the students to first learn letters and grammar in Malayalam before they get to poetry,” he said.
“I've let many universities use my poems in their books earlier hoping that someone who's interested in poetry might be benefited. However, all the efforts seem to be in vain now. The basic education system itself is flawed. I want no part in this,” he said.
(This was first published in The New Indian Express)