Reforms in education, only way out

A tough Minister for Education, tech-savvy IAS officers and the repeated pledges to cleanse system of the rot has not made much difference in the functioning of school education department. Government schools continue to be housed in tin-sheds. The poor and downtrodden for whom government schools are the only institutions where they get education continue to plead for improving the standard of education in these schools. They have no desks, no toilets, no classrooms and the story of someone having being taught under the open sky continues.

The infrastructure has not improved. A high school in three rooms is enough to indicate how serious the education department is in reaching out to the poor and downtrodden living the peripheries, in the blocks and in the villages.  A school in tin-shed explains how serious the tech-savvy and social media experts are in bringing reforms. Their onus seems to be on satiating their fat-egos and not on getting down with the business seriously, taking to task the offenders and ensuring that those who still go to the government schools for education get the best of facilities.

Fighting a war with a union leader is okay but if the system is not reformed, once you demit office, things are likely to return where they were prior to your taking over. The education department needs serious reforms from the villages to cities and towns. Prior to making teachers accountable, let the department provide schools requisite infrastructure. Prior to sharing whats app and facebook messages written in poor English, those at the top need to understand the basic difference between rural and urban areas when it comes to quality education.

The effort that someone writing poor English is making needs to be appreciated and encouraged since many of the great teachers whose names we often take during our speeches and talks knew little or no English at all. They were experts in their subject but could neither speak the language nor write it properly. And if the present system would have been around, it would have hanged them or forced them to sit for examination in their twilight years.

This is not called systemic reform. Systemic reform involves changing the basic structure and ensuring that those who have been handed over the responsibility of reaching out to the poor and downtrodden sections of the society are made accountable. Don’t make them sit for examination but train them to do things the way you want and the way they could contribute in building a new society. Don’t use facebook to laugh at someone’s language, use it to correct him since if you won’t do this, you would end up creating demons in the society.

Probably, those who have rural background do know how difficult it is to get a government job in these times when the yardstick of excellence is how good you know the English language. It makes all the difference if you are master of a subject but not proficient in writing quality English. The planners should bear in mind that if it holds an examination of the officers manning various top positions, results would be shocking and unbelievable.

So, better would be for the education department to set in motion reforms and stop this absurd policy of testing merit of youngsters engaged by the government through a proper system. The department should realise that if a Shikarawala could be taught, why not a teacher. Create courses and impart training to these poor fellows. They are likely to produce much better results than those who are born with silver spoon and the system bows to their dictates.


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