For many years now it has been observed that the performance of private schools is much better than government schools. Everyone criticises government teachers and the government school system. On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, the principal secretary, school education department, expressed anguish over the poor performance of government schools. He said, “Why can’t the government teachers who draw handsome salaries from the state exchequer take a lead from private school teachers whose salary is many times lower?”
The question that arises and needs to be answered is why are government schools so far behind their private counterparts? Are only the teachers responsible or is something wrong with the system? It is not the teacher alone that is responsible for the poor performance of government school students. What if private teachers are assigned the job of teaching in government schools and vice versa? In 2006-07, I was working in a private school. In mid June, I was given the task of teaching mathematics to Class 8. For the first four months of the session, the students hadn’t learned anything due to unavailability of a maths teacher. When the results came, all the students had passed, including four who had scored 100% marks. I used to get a meagre remuneration of Rs 1400 a month. Today I am getting a handsome salary, but the results of my students are dismal. Would you hold me responsible for inefficiency?
Private schools admit only those children who pass a screening test and can afford huge fees. In government schools, admission is open to all. In these circumstances, if private schools are performing better than public schools, it shouldn’t be astonishing. The infrastructure and curriculum in government schools is not good enough, due to which people are reluctant to send their wards to these schools. Government teachers have since long been demanding a common curriculum for both private and public schools, but this demand is still unmet.
—The writer teaches at Govt Secondary School, Anderwan Ganderbal.