Homeschoolers Finding Success in India

A homeschooler from the largest city in India has been accepted into MIT after failing to qualify for all colleges in her own country.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology admitted only 7.9% of freshmen applications in the fall of 2016; however, 17-year-old Mumbai native Malvika Joshi earned her way into the prestigious Cambridge school based on skills she displayed at an international computer programming competition.

Joshi is just one of many homeschoolers finding success in India after leaving the formal Indian education system that places a high emphasis on grades.

“Homeschooling is not really for the people who are in this competition and marks system,” said homeschool mom Sonnal Pardiwala in a New Delhi Television feature. “If you can view your child only through marks, then homeschooling you must not attempt.”

Pardiwala has two sons who are homeschooled with a mix of assignments and self-appointed tasks that they complete at their own pace. With their extra time, the boys have created their own YouTube channel with their own short films. In addition, after being out of a regular school for three years, one son topped the Mumbai division on his grade-level exams.

“We are not rebels. We are not anti-school,” Pardiwala said. “We are not even against academics. Only the way that we would like academics to be pursued is different. School was really not serving the needs of our children, and we wanted them to be stress-free.”

Her sons are recognizing the advantages of homeschooling as well, while trying to convince their friends that they are actually working hard at learning.

“From an outsider’s perspective, home schooling is like a really long vacation because you don’t have to go to school, but it depends on what your perspective is,” said Shahen Pardiwala.

His older brother agreed.

“The boys in my building say, you are so lucky you can grow your hair,” said Shahaan Pardiwala. “You don’t go to school, but I study. I finished the portion for children my age in just 9 months. They took much longer.”

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