By Sheikh Aabid
Education is essential for the overall development of a person’s individuality and the wholesome modification of his/her behavior. It is also necessary in to cope with the various social, political, ethical and cultural aspects of life. The very first step in educating an individual is the school and subsequently the feeder system of Government and privately run educational institutes.
Everyone is aware about the deteriorated condition of education in Government schools so much so that the better off sections of society would not just even imagine to send their children to a government school for even elementary education. Its only people from less privileged, below poverty line massed or from far flung areas (where private schooling doesn’t exist) who send their wards to government schools with a rock on their in hearts. Among the well off sections of society , there is a trend of sending their children to private schools? The question is: what made the change in the mindset among people to switch to privately run educational institutes? Where does the fault lie?
There have, however, been made a few steps to improve the quality of education. One such positive step is “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009” (RTE) which has been enacted for universalization of elementary education, that is, from classes I to VIII. The RTE Act, 2009 in its Schedule lays down the pupil teacher ratio (PTR) for both primary and upper primary schools. At the primary level, the PTR should be 30:1 and at the upper primary level it should be 35:1. The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) framework stipulates that the PTR at secondary level should be 30:1. Besides this , there are free meals up to class V , free books and more.
However, still the faults are outnumbering good things. These range from the reckless attitude of teachers to poor management, f rom lack of quality education to the slumbering infrastructure. The list goes on. Paradoxically, government schools have become non- governmental.
I, myself, have studied in a government school from the very beginning I bear witness to various flaws of this faulty system. Citing one of my ungainly experiences, I remember a male teacher in my primary level who used to take a long nap everyday After lunch break, he would order boys to massage and press his thighs, shoulders, legs. Whenever I recollect these memories, I used to be reminded of a Mughal emperor scenario where we (students) were treated as slaves (gulaam) and teachers as kings (badshah), This saga would continue till the bell rang which was the ultimate relief to us. Our eyes would consistently gaze at the bell and our ears would desperately wait for the sound of the bell.
There have been similar other horrifying experiences during my school days which still haunt me leaving my body in a sweat and my soul frightened. I do not want to present just a grim image. I also want to inspire young people to see what the opportunities are. We want to use this as a reminder for ourselves, on finding where we can make a difference, what can have a big impact- when we’re on our way to changing an entire nation. It often begins with understanding the problems.
Summing up , I don’t want to be an expert as how to improve the slumbering condition of government schools , but we need to change the mindset and shift the flow towards our end. I believe there are countless well meaning persons in the administration who are capable to change the drift but the question is when will the revive and render education upto the standards of the modern world.
—The author is pursuing Post Graduate Studies in MERC, Kashmir University. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org