Earlier in Forum







Q: What should state governments do to promote
school education?

This is the third instalment of readers’ response

Education should be valued, not sold

Today’s private schools have turned into money mills. One only has to look at the merit list of a few board examinations in any state to get the picture. The majority of the toppers come from middle and lower-middle class families. Giving education to all is the fundamental duty of any government, but problems arise when the government itself is involved in money making and starts thinking in terms of selling education at a high rate.

Illiteracy is the biggest hurdle in the path of our economic advancement. In urban areas, up-market public schools have made education a big commercial venture, and ridiculous things like forcing parents to buy VCDs/DVDs to teach nursery rhymes to kids are promoted in these schools. Schools should understand what they are doing.


Private schools need govt funding

Due to the rise in population, there has been a manifold increase in the number of private schools. The question is will the state government provide such schools with any financial help to ensure “education for all”? The answer to this is in negative, and most government schools are on the verge of collapse due to staff shortage, especially in rural areas.

A permanent solution has to be found to tackle this problem. State governments should encourage private institutions to set up schools in rural areas. Land should be given at cheaper rates for building such schools. Long-term loans can also be given at lower interest rates, which will also give some income to the government.

There should be a direct contact between each school and the government, and the government could charge a nominal licence fee from each school. The fee structure should be finalised after consulting the government, which will prevent schools from charging exorbitant fee.

Books should be given free of cost to students from poor families. It will be a matter of pride for the state, if we were to attain 100 per cent literacy rate.


Check growth of private schools

Despite the schemes to make elementary education universal, the dropout rate in schools continues to soar. To promote school education, the state government should check mushrooming of private teaching shops and lay down guidelines for these institutes. The violators should be dealt with sternly.

The states should arrest the falling standard of primary education in schools. This needs no pep talk, as is the habit with every government department. The education portfolio should be with the Chief Minister, which would get the state to straighten its priorities. The failure of the mid-day meal scheme should be treated as a collective debacle.

S. SUKHDEV SINGH GILL, Gurusar Maddoke (Moga)

Involve private players in supervision

For better performance, action has to be planned. To improve the standard of government schools, educational management training can be given to the heads of all schools. Monitor their performance and make them accountable for the performance of schools. Organise workshops/seminars to introduce better and latest teaching techniques. More inter-school tournaments should be organised for enhancing extra-curricular activities. Sports day and annual day should be celebrated in all schools. Involve parents for suggestions on improving infrastructure. Attention should be paid to improving facilities in gymnasiums, libraries and laboratories. Encourage students by making teaching more interesting and reward teachers for their special contributions. If the government machinery is unable to supervise the entire work, private organisations can be given this responsibility.

S. K. MURARI, Hanumangarh

Role of the masses is vital

No scheme can be successful without the active participation of the masses. Forceful initiatives are required from the states. The Punjab Government, especially, should withdraw its order of handing over school education to panchayats. Prohibiting guidebooks will promote understanding of the subject and reduce the stress on mindless cramming. Admissions should only be on the basis of merit. Quotas should be done away with and no schoolteacher should be posted in his or her hometown or within 20 km of it. Scientific, technical and specialised education should be introduced in rural areas. Transfer policy for teachers should be implemented keeping in mind students and not teachers. Teachers should be rotated after a fixed period.

M. S. GILL, Kokri Kalan

Open and upgrade schools

Education forms the basis of any developing society. In our country, state governments can ensure quality education for economic and social development of the citizens. Governments should give top priority to education for that. There should be proper and safe buildings and infrastructure for schools. Recruitment of teachers should be on the basis of merit. State governments should ensure free and compulsory elementary education for all. Education should make every Indian self-dependent. Stress should be on opening new schools and upgrading the existing ones, rather than on improving the quality of education. The decreasing teacher-student ratio in Punjab and Haryana is a major problem.


Make education job-oriented

In India, primary education lacks proper supervision, systematic curriculum, good buildings and infrastructure. Lack of incentives to teachers, increasing cases of copying and dropouts have made state education poor. The indifferent attitude of politicians towards education has also added to our problems. The state education boards should make the curriculum job-oriented and interesting. The state government does not really have the paucity of funds, but the allocation to schools should be proper, so that these may attract students. When a private school can attract students by offering more facilities, why can’t the government schools? At the same time, teachers should be properly paid and timely incentives should be given to selected teachers. Corruption in various departments should remain out of the domain of education. Proper evaluation system should be there in primary classes to reduce the use of unfair means in board classes. Periodic checking by officials is must for the progress of basic education.


NRI quotas need a relook

The state governments should try to improve the quality of education because development depends upon it. The teachers should be encouraged to change their mindsets as per the changing environment and give their maximum to the overall development of students, who are the future of the nation. The standard of government schools should be raised, so that they can easily compete with private schools. Moreover, the policies of state government should create a suitable environment for the promotion of school education. Another aspect that needs a change is the special treatment given to the NRI students. Unlike our homegrown talent, they can seek direct admission to the undergraduate technical and professional courses in any private unaided institution. Students should be treated on the basis of merit, not financial strength.

GUARAV JAIN, Jalandhar City

Decentralise decision making

The first and foremost task of the state government is to prepare updated record of talented students and teachers. Advanced training should be imparted to talented teachers, after which, they may be given pay-scales equivalent to that of the IAS officers. This is a fine way of promoting school education. It’s not possible to improve any system without putting in something.

The question is what can the state government do when they don’t have much power to change the situation? Article 42 of the Constitution transfers education from the state list to the Centre list. Decentralisation of power between the Centre and state now holds the key to many problems that plague our education system. The states should have autonomous decision-making authority, governed by men of integrity at the top.


Focus on women’s education

School education in India is in a mess, with students as well as teachers playing truant everywhere. In many parts of the country, the parents are still apprehensive about sending their daughters to school. We should scrap co-education system in such areas and post no male teacher in any of the girls’ schools, so that the girls feel secure in school. School equipment should no longer be misused. Due to commercialisation of education, the relationship between teacher and pupil has lost fizz. The rise in the number of physical, mental and verbal assaults on schoolgirls is an apt indicator of the sorry state of education in the country. Often, teachers do not have proper knowledge of the subject they teach.

R. C. NEHRA, Satrod Khurd (Hisar)

Improve student–teacher ratio

The standard of primary education is going down every year. You will find a number of posts of teacher lying vacant in all states. Neither does this situation change the alarming rise in unemployment. The Tribune has already raised the issue of one teacher managing an entire school. Given our condition, this is a situation we can’t afford for long. There should be at least one teacher for every 25 students.

To improve schooling, stress should be on vocational courses. Having a postgraduate degree in humanities doesn’t fetch a job anymore. Practical education is what we need. The efficiency of the teachers should be checked from time-to-time and they should be held responsible for the school’s performance.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

Abolish reservation

Excellence is a dream that cannot be translated into reality unless we do away with the reservation system. The very basis of reservation breeds inefficiency and lack of self-respect. Since teachers have to be recruited from even reserved candidates, we can never guarantee quality.

The Dalit leaders should themselves forsake reservation. Reservation policy might have been appropriate for the 1960’s and 1970’s, but now when India is fighting to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we can’t expect to recruit people on the basis of anything but merit.

Copying during examination is another factor that needs to be checked immediately. The cases of question-paper leak are also increasing. Copying should be made a penal offence, as the Kalyan Singh government did in UP. The initiative should come from students. Unfortunately in India, they are busy celebrating Valentine’s Day.


Choose your principals with care

The role of state governments in improving the standard of education in government schools is vital. First, the teacher-student ratio should be strictly maintained at 1:40. When a teacher feels mobbed by more than 100 students, he or she can never teach peacefully and effectively, as he or she spends his maximum time in just managing the discipline in the class. Computer education ought to be imparted to all students free of cost.

Most of the schools in big cities are overcrowded and badly managed. The level of teaching in such schools is generally poor. For improving the quality of teaching in government schools, principals ought to be selected on the basis of merit alone. They should be hardworking individuals with missionary zeal. The parent-teacher interaction should also be given proper attention. Any miscommunication between parent and teacher may affect the child adversely.

The teachers should also put in more effort. Most primary-school teachers are busy with their own tutorial commitments. The interests of schoolchildren often take a backseat.

R. B. YADAV, Fatehabad


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