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

This is the third instalment of readersí response

Curb absenteeism among teachers

The supreme purpose of education is to develop every childís personality harmoniously by bringing out the inner strength and richness, taking into account his abilities, aptitudes, interests, needs et al. It can provide abiding values only through intellectual wisdom supplied by depth of conviction, refinement and sublimation. So, it becomes imperative for state governments to promote school education with all the means.

Most of the government schools, particularly in rural areas, donít have adequate infrastructure essential for a conducive educational environment. Many sanctioned posts of teachers remain vacant, depriving the students of education. A school may have a magnificent building, beautiful lawns and an imposing library but if there are no teachers, everything is rendered meaningless and useless. Hence, vacancies should be filled up quick.

Growing absenteeism among teachers is another problem from which most of the government schools suffer. States should curb this menace and make teachers accountable and responsible for their acts. To promote school education, mass copying that is going on unabated with the alleged connivance of teachers and parents should be checked.

To a large extent, government teachers are responsible for mushrooming of so-called public schools that charge astronomical fees under one pretext or the other. The day government teachers start performing sincerely, students will flock to government schools. Hence governments should ensure that the teachers perform their prime duty for which they are paid.

TARSEM S. BUMRAH, Batala

Needed a uniform syllabi

There should be one syllabus for at least five years up to the 10+2 levels. This will help students get old books at cheaper rates. State should subside the price of books for economically weaker students at least, if not for all.

Hindi should be made compulsory as a medium of instruction throughout India upto the middle standard. Thereafter, teaching of English can be made compulsory. States should construct simple, but more schools and take the services of retired persons on token honorarium to meet the requirement. (this is optional). The government should encourage grants-in-aid to deserving students. There should be a token fee up to the middle standard for students from poor families and normal fee for the remaining. This is possible only when states stop auctioning of school sites at exorbitant rates. The other possible way is to give school sites to trusted names in the field of education, like DAV, SD, Jains, etc.

SHAM LAL, Chandigarh

Introduce proper transfer policy

In order to provide ideal education to the future leaders of the country, it is necessary to allocate enough funds to education. Free education should be given to all sections of the society. State governments should introduce proper transfer policy for its teachers. Most teachers run after political leaders to get postings or appointments that suit their interest.

Most school buildings are in a miserable condition. The lack of basic facilities in government schools force parents to enroll their children in private schools.

Safety of schoolchildren should be given top priority. The tragic incident at the school in Koombakonam, Tamil Nadu, should work as a pointer for all schools that treat education as a commodity. We should take the lives of students seriously.

ROMICA PAHWA, Jhansa (Kurukshetra)

Improve evaluation system

Few new government schools are coming up, whereas the majority are private, public, model and the so-called international schools, which are more like shops. Our educational system requires drastic changes. Many schools are in a mess, as these are starved of funds and better amenities for teachers and students. There is an immediate need to improve the allocation of funds and infrastructure, and monitor its use. Appointment of regular, full-time principals and staff will ensure a proper working of schools. Children should be provided with an environment that facilitates learning. Education should be value-based and teaching of ethics and environment lessons should be made compulsory for all classes. Private tuitions should be abolished. There is need for an improved system of examination, which should make students free from stress and examination phobia. The most important need is to improve upon the evaluation system, so that students do not suffer due to careless marking. In this era of global competition, the traditional method of teaching should be replaced with innovative methods.

Dr S. K. AGGARWAL, Amritsar

Give education priority

School education is not given the priority it deserves by the respective state governments. Primary education is the fundamental right of everyone. Due to the attitude of the state government, the number of school dropouts is increasing. The people love to educate their wards in private schools, where quality education is available. To promote school education, adequate funds for better buildings and infrastructure should be given to attract students. Dedicated and hardworking teachers can play a vital role in promoting school education. Private teaching shops are doing a roaring business, only because of the mismanagement in government schools. Private schools are result oriented; hence, these are more popular. Mid-day meals are not going to improve education in government schools; only quality education by dedicated teachers will do the needful.

KARNAIL SINGH, Shahpur Kandi

Fill all posts of teacher

The first responsibility of the state government is to fill the vacancies for B.Ed and ETT teacher in remote villages where even one teacher is not available in the whole school. Through street plays, it should make general public aware of the importance of education. Free and compulsory education and a proper implementation of the mid-day meal scheme is a must. Open more primary schools in remote villages and more night schools for the elderly. The state government should provide teachers with as many incentives and fringe benefits as possible.

SHUCHI MAKOL, Patiala

Introduce more scholarships

The best way to promote school education among the masses is to give free education, books and uniforms to children living below the poverty line. Most of the parents in villages and even in cities cannot afford to pay even the nominal school fee of their children, and hence, they do not send their children to school. Every state government should mark a good amount of money to be spent on education in every Budget and try to open maximum number of schools and introduce more scholarships. Employ only TGTs and PGTs to teach primary-class students and the JBT training after the plus-two level should be closed. It is because TGTs/PGTs teach more efficiently than the JBTs. Financial assistance to parents of poor children can also help the government promote school education.

VIKAS DOGRA, VPO Nagrota Surian, Kangra

Ban private tuitions

It has been unfortunate that state governments arenít able to give good education at affordable rates to the people. Teaching is no more a noble profession; it has become a commercial venture. The standard of education in government schools is declining due to incapable teachers and a large number of posts of teacher lying vacant. Schools should be filled with honest and dedicated teachers, the teacher-pupil ratio should be minimal and no post of any teacher should be left vacant. There should be a blanket ban on private tuitions, as this practice leads to corruption. No teacher should be posted in his/her home district or asked to perform any other duty (like election, enumerations, etc.), besides teaching. Everyday, private schools are mushrooming, which charge hefty fees right from the junior classes. The state governments could rationalise the fee structures in these schools and put best teachers and infrastructure in schools at nominal rates.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Make education more informative

First, make education more informative and interesting so that children donít take it as a burden. All subjects at the primary level should be taught in an innovative way so that children can relate with them and implement in their lives. State governments should recruit trained teachers to achieve this purpose. Teachers should encourage children to pursue their dreams, work hard and cultivate good reading habits. Besides giving free meals to students, the schools should be provided with free books carrying motivating and inspiring stories of great men. Even in the 21st century, untouchability prevails in many areas due to which the children belonging to backward classes are not able to get benefits from special educational schemes. Strenuous efforts should be made to make education accessible to all.

MANU SHARMA, Patiala

Do away with contract system

State governments should first provide proper infrastructure and accommodation in schools to create a student-friendly atmosphere. Without a proper infrastructure, it is difficult to study in congested classrooms. The government should ban private teaching shops to stop the commercialisation of education. Government as well as private schools should have the same fee structure. States should do away with the contract system and recruit dedicated and qualified teachers on a regular basis. The teachers who yield good results in their subjects should be rewarded, while the non-performers should be penalised by stopping their increments. State governments should constitute assessing committees which would visit schools four times a year to watch the progress made by the students.

THAKUR KAMAL RAJ SINGH, Patiala

Uplift morale of teachers

Teaching is a process, which involves three constituentsóteacher, student and the subject. These three constituents should be handled carefully to promote school education. First, state governments should take all possible steps to uplift the morale of teachers. If a teacher today asks students about their career ambitions, he or she would hardly find any student who would like to become a teacher. The reason is that teachers are losing respect and social status, so the government should take necessary measures to restore the status of teachers. The second constituent is student, who should be encouraged to respect teachers. He or she should always remember that he or she is the future of the country. The government should formulate policies to take care of its builders. The third constituent is the subject matter, a link between teacher and student. States should introduce job-oriented and innovative courses at the school level, which can be helpful in oneís profession.

HERITAGIAN SUTIKSHAN SHARMA, Bhawanigarh

Hire teachers on contract

There is a lot of difference between education given in "convent" schools and that being provided in government schools. Is this simply a divide between the rich and the poor? Schools run by state governments are not result-oriented, but only "data-oriented", where the quality of education is found nowhere. There are a lot of solutions for improving the quality of education, but the people on top donít seem to have a strong will. Instead of filling up the posts on a regular basis, states should hire teachers on contract basis.

SAMUEL ARTHUR, Kapurthala

Check growing indiscipline among teachers

In government schools, the quality of education is deteriorating due to sloth and sloppiness in the performance of teacher. This goes to show that a good salary doesnít necessarily yield good result. Therefore, the government should create such an environment in which teachers should feel obliged to work. States should have some monitoring system to check the growing indiscipline among teachers. The government should evolve an orientation course for teachers, so that they may develop a healthy attitude towards this noble profession. Proper infrastructure and other facilities are not going to improve the health of education unless teachers as well as policy makers play their role actively.

AKHILESH, Birampur (Hoshiarpur)

Provide sufficient infrastructure

State governments should make earnest efforts to promote school education, which is fast losing its main objective. Except for private schools, which are being run primarily on commercial lines and cater to the upper strata of society, government schools are in a shamble.

To promote school education, state governments should first provide sufficient infrastructure in the schools. It should be ensured that the teachers who are posted in far-flung areas join duty on time. Also, the states should provide children living in rural areas with free education and other facilities. More parents should be motivated by gram panchayats to send their children to schools. Above all, teachers should be made accountable for poor results.

R.K. BHATIA, Panchkula

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