Studenten - School Graduation Ceremony in Sweden
I am in Stockholm for the Secondary School Graduation Ceremony, called “Studenten” in Swedish terminology, of my granddaughter Pallavi. The ceremony took place in her school “Rudbeck Gymnasium” today, June 12, 2018 withgreat fun and frolic and also solemnity. The day is one of the greatest days in the life of a student in Sweden since long. The student pass out his or her basic education to enter life as an adult at 18 with a ‘roller coaster of emotions’. Parents get happy to complete their responsibility by making their child a worthy member of the society. The state gets satisfaction in getting a productive citizen. These notions and expectations are real in the further development and progress of the society at large. We, in the developing countries like India, are yet to learn and transform our educational system to conform to these lofty goals to match our developed counterparts like Sweden.
Pallavi’s day started with a ‘Champagne Breakfast’ hosted by her alma mater. The formal ceremony of award of school graduation was held at the school in all solemnity with white caps on the heads of new graduates, an insignia of secondary school graduation. We waited outside of the school, alongwith friends of Pallavi and friends and also well-wishers of the proud parents of Pallavi, Naresh and Anju and her loving brother Arvind to receive the young and vivacious new graduate Pallavi with placards of her childhood photos, as per the studenten tradition. The entire vicinity of the school was filled with people like us with loud music, champagne and other drinks, trucks, trailers and other fancy means of transportation ducked and decorated with colourful balloons and flags. Our friends also came fully prepared for the day with traditional Punjabi Dhol and moving Hindi and Punjabi songs to receive and felicitate Pallavi. After the school ceremony, the new graduates boarded the open trucks and trailers for the roadshow in the area. It was a spectacle of seer fun and joy with champagne wash. Wecame back home with a few friends for an informal champagne luncheon in the decked compound with the sun playing hide and seek. The school organised a formal dinner to bid-farewell to the new graduates on contributory basis in which the friends of young graduates could join. The day was totally packed with these activities. I was reminded of the Studenten Ceremony of my daughter Vaishali in 1993 from a prestigious school Kungsholmens Gymnasium in downtown Stockholm. The only difference I noticed was that the traditional ceremony had became more ostentatious and noisy. The young graduates and their friends were more open and free to drink and act as they wished. It was reflective of the changing social and civic norms for the good or bad, it was difficult to say, notwithstanding the spirit of freedom and confidence. I have a clear understanding an impression that the Studenten ceremony has a lot of meaning for the younger lot, the future leaders of the country, and also for the society. But the solemnity of the occasion has to be maintained. The young graduates by their own right have a sense of elation but it should equally match with a sense of responsibility when they have reached the doorsteps of adulthood to enter the knitty gritty of life. They should remain with an open mind as some wise man has said, “Life is like a parachute, it only functions when open”.