The Oxford English Dictionary defines autism as "a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterised by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts."

Education has seen a major shift in the last 15 years. Generally back then, parents sent their children to aided schools, where the fees were minimal and girls received free education. The teacher-child ratio was 1:50 (or even more) and the curriculum was developed by government-appointed universities, but rarely if ever updated. With so many children in each class, schools could only follow a rote method of learning where the child did not necessarily understand the concept taught but was able to regurgitate it orally and on paper.

What is the purpose of education? Why do we send our children to school? What do we expect out of this 15-year process? These are the questions that matter the most when we think about educational systems and their impact on society.

Teenaged Netra lived in fear of her parents. She believed it was her moral duty to please them by scoring the maximum marks in every subject. Her mother was very strict and often pushed her to excel in everything. She ensured that Netra went through the rigmarole of classical music and dance. But for Netra the experience was so rigorous and severe that it alienated her from the art form. She dreaded the classes and instead of growing to love them she grew to abhor them. But her mother was oblivious to the growing resentment in her daughter. She believed that a girl from their community had to be trained in the arts to be considered well reared. The mother believed in the mould.

Srishti works as a senior manager in a multinational company. She and is highly upset with the new batch of trainees that has entered her organisation. "Every year the problem seems to be getting worse," she complains. "These guys can't even draft a letter properly. If I ask them to quote someone, they wouldn't have even heard of the names! I wonder if they read anything while they were growing up. I give them a list of books to read and they hardly manage to finish even one over a three week period. They are good with their content but when it comes to reading, they just don't want to go beyond the newspaper!"

"Music makes me forget my real situation. It transports me into a state which is not my own. Under the influence of music I really seem to feel what I do not understand, to have powers which I cannot have." - Leo Tolstoy

Being an educationist I am often asked what the right age to send a child to playschool is. Parents also ask how they can pick the best school for their child. Here are the answers!