Experts differ on school level `Finishing Centre'

NEW DELHI NOV. 13. Delhi Public School (DPS) International at Saket is presenting its students with the gift of "perfection'' this Children's Day. Joining hands with Vandana Luthra's Curls and Curves (VLCC) to launch India's first-ever school level "Finishing Centre'', it seems to be redefining the concept of an "assembly line'' by making grooming compulsory.

Introducing the essential elements of success in today's world, the finishing school will impart these skills to children from six to 16 years. It is not only about personal grooming, claims Vandana Luthra, but also about skin, weight management and beauty too. But taught in an interesting way, she insists. While experts question the need for such "skill' to be taught in the first place, they fear that it will not boost the confidence.

"Kids need exposure of various kinds and presenting them with a set template for success will not allow their personality to develop. It is important for kids to learn social behaviour through exploration and by telling them what accent to adopt and what to do, is like creating robots. There was an academic definition of excellence which children craved for earlier, but now with the personal standard well defined, it will lead to depression in kids who can't fit in,'' remarked psychiatrist, Achal Bhagat.

However, beauty expert, Vandana Luthra begs to differ. "Every kid wants to know how to manage weight, however don't know how to do it. We have psychologists as well as cosmetologists on our expert panel. Children also want to know how to do their hair properly. We want to catch them young and watch them grow, so that they don't pick up bad food habits. Parents ignore children sometimes. We want to teach them how to communicate and the right values. We will get closer to the kids and understand their psyche so that we can do personalised reports on them all," she stated.

For their part, school authorities feel that this skill will add value to lives of children studying there. "DPS International has been set up specifically to cater to the demand for an international education that will give an edge to the Indian students in tomorrow's world. This broad-based education also addresses the educational requirements of the wards of Indian and foreign diplomats, expatriates, NRIs and those working with Indo-Foreign concerns,'' said principal, DPS International, R. Williams.

While the curriculum also focuses on stress management, public speaking and current affairs, its emphasis on beauty is worrying, according to psychologists. "This is a perfect merger of two business enterprises. Beauty pageants have become an aspirational dream for school kids and for their parents as well. Unfortunately, in this case the school is not addressing how the educational system should be, but is focussing on what you should know growing up, which is body being,'' felt sociologist, Radhika Chopra.

Striving for "Barbie doll'' image and constantly bombarded through the television channels about perfection, introducing this in school will only make kids victims of the beauty myth for life, experts believe.