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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

 



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

This is the sixth instalment of readersí response

Lay accent on English

Most parents prefer to put their children in private schools not just for the heck of it, but because they want their kids to study in good English-medium schools to be successful individuals later in life. In government schools, the accent is not on English.

The government should encourage that mathematics and science be taught through English medium in its schools. At least one such school can be set up in every block of 5-7 km.

Only those persons who volunteer to join the service should be taken in as teachers. Mushrooming of teaching shops should be checked and board examinations should be done away with at least up to the matriculation level.

The examinations create unnecessary fear in the minds of students and turn them towards unhealthy competition and cheating. School heads should be appointed on the basis of merit alone. For opening more residential senior secondary schools, communities could extend their help, and this help should also reach those who cannot afford to put their children in school.

PARMINDER SINGH PARMAR,
VPO Panchhat (Kapurthala)

II

Dr Amartya Sen, India-born Nobel laureate, on his many visits to this country, has always stressed the need for primary education for all, if India is to become a fast developing nation. Good teachers should be rewarded and the careless should be penalised.

The states should mark more funds for primary and secondary education and there should be at least two house tests to enable students to assess where they stand. In the appointment of teachers, only merit should prevail and no political interference should be allowed in the matters of education.

The panchayats should join hands with the communities in promoting education. English should be taught in primary schools from class I. China, that neglected teaching of English in its schools, is now beginning to realise its mistake after missing the IT bus.

Give free books, scholarships and uniforms to meritorious and poor students and inspect schools regularly. Only eminent and experienced educationists should prepare the school curriculum.

R. C. SHARMA, Kurukshetra

III

Primary schools, especially in rural India, badly need more persons for teaching English, because the subject has been introduced there only now. Schools should be upgraded keeping in view the need and not political compulsions. Posts of teacher should not be left vacant for long and selection of teachers should be purely on merit.

Interview-based selection should be abolished and teachers should not be transferred in the middle of a session. Teachers working for a long period in cities should be sent to work in rural areas and teachers who have been in villages for years together should replace them. Corruption in the office of the District Education Officer should be stemmed because it affects the performance of teachers.

KARAN SINGH BAWWA, Rewari

Failing should end

Instead of the present pass-fail system of home examinations, 80 per cent attendance should be made the norm for promoting a student to the next class. To ensure the required attendance, conventional and outdated methods of teaching should be done away with. Refresher courses at regular intervals will help teachers equip themselves with the latest in teaching methods. These new methods are scientific and make classroom exercises interesting.

VIJAY DHIMAN, VPO Katholi (Kangra)

Donít look down upon govt schools

Our villages in particular need to be given a fresh look for school education there to come on a par with school education in cities. India needs modern technology now at the time when she is upgrading her basic education system.

Government schools in villages or cities should no longer be regarded as the last resort for second-rate and failing students. Students there should not be looked down upon just because they could not afford to join public schools financed and run by private individuals.

There is no reason why our government schools cannot have all the better facilities and education than these private institutes. The goal of education at the primary level and beyond should be to turn young minds towards creativity and enjoyment of life in the right earnest. Performance of teachers should be checked after regular intervals to keep our focus on quality.

Maj BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantonment

Use experience of good teachers

Education is a key factor in the progress of a country and the government seems to be well aware of this, but the Acts that it makes are never implemented in true spirit. The instructions leave the Education Department in good health, but are down with fatigue by the time these reach all the schools.

To ensure quality education, the government needs a quality policy, which can be made only with the help of experienced teachers. Teachers should be given full freedom to express and implement their ideas.

Teachers are the bridge between the policy and the school, and the government should not ignore this. State, too, can do nothing without the public support. Improvement always begins with "I".

DALJEET KUMAR SHARD, Barnala

Link education with health, employment

New education programmes cannot be thought separate from rural development programmes; both should go together. Better facilities in villages will draw better schools towards rural areas.

Education programmes should be linked with employment schemes to motivate children to pick up their school bags instead of begging bowls. Free education for children of the poor would be a big step in this direction.

The media can draw their attention towards education by increasing the amount of publicity given to mass awareness drives to promote education. The quality of mid-day meals served to students in schools should improve and rural health programmes should be better funded for attendance to improve in schools in rural areas. Scholarships can be the key motivator. Steps should be taken to reduce drug abuse in schools.

HARJEET KAUR, Pathankot

Combat illiteracy, poverty

The state governments should first create awareness against the growing illiteracy and then give free education to the poor. Maximum funds should be given to the school managements so that these may aid the overall development of students. Efficiency and competency of teachers should be assessed regularly and the current syllabus, which is predominantly theoretical; should be made more practical for the future success of our nation.

BHARTI, On e-mail

Bring changes in curriculum

The onus should not merely be on the pedagogues for improving education; it should be a joint responsibility of the state governments and parents. If in a school facing staff shortage, a science teacher is asked to do administrative work and other errands at the cost of teaching, one can easily judge what effort would he or she be putting into teaching.

It would serve our teachers best, if we keep them inside classrooms. For social work, the state governments should hire social workers. Our curriculum has been the same for years and it just about prepares our students to ride a hobbyhorse in the jet age. Prof Yashpal, a leading educationist, had proposed that job-oriented courses be introduced in high schools, but little attention has been paid to that.

NARINDER KUMAR, On e-mail

States should get their basics right

When the NDA was in power at the Centre, the states had formed a plan to promote school education. The many Sarva Shiksha Abhiyanas and midday meal schemes give little advantage to the states. There are many reasons why the plans would fail without the states getting their basics right. The state governments should first make children and their parents aware of the importance of studies and then tell teachers to cooperate with students. Tele-films are a great way of promoting school education in villages.

HARSH GULATI, Kapurthala

Cover syllabus in easy steps

Education today is no longer an orphan child after the budgetary provision of non-lapsable initial outlay of Rs 18,337 crore for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana. If the states put in an equal amount, it would end the shortage of infrastructure forever, failing which, we may find it hard to safeguard our democracy. Elementary education should come under the control of a separate directorate, the responsibility of which would be to bring the dropout rate to zero.

Deputy Education Officers should have offices in every tehsil for inspection. The states should fill all posts of principal and teacher, and the grievances of these professionals should not go unheard. Syllabi should be covered in three steps and examinations should be held at the conclusion of each step for the topics covered in that step only. Summer vacation should be curtailed to enhance the number of working days.

BALKAR SINGH, Mukerian (Hoshiarpur)

Discipline is absent

Private schools grew on the demise of government schools that had well-paid and well-qualified teachers, but no discipline. This is because the principal of a government school has no punitive power and is unable to do anything, if a teacher comes late and goes home early, or goes out for shopping during school time.

It is not that the principal canít see where the teacher is erring, but his hands are tied. File work destroys the zeal among good teachers, and principals get no support from district officials and their selfish and shrewd clerks.

First the teachers are not allowed to devote their full time to teaching and then they are punished for bad results. There is no reward for being a good teacher and no punishment either for being a bad one. Principal should be given punitive powers, if the quality of education has to improve.

BIR BAHADUR GUPTA, Rampura Phul

Donít overburden teachers

Hardly a year passes when teachers get respite from conducting elections, preparing electoral rolls and photo-identity cards, and collecting data for general Census. Little do our bureaucrats realise that teachers have to perform all these duties at the cost of teaching. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana will only burden teachers with more paperwork. We are always more worried about the dropout rate, but have we ever looked into the quality of matriculates, senior matriculates and graduates we are churning out?

The training of teachers under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana is ineffective, because the resource persons for these programmes are often less qualified than the teachers they are supposed to train. That is why these programmes are proving to be half-baked.

IQBAL SINGH, VPO Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Sponsor a poor child

The state governments should make education reach every home. Poverty is a big reason why parents are not sending their children to school. Their children can be educated, if education is free and they get free books, uniform and meal. Education will get promoted further when it becomes job-oriented. Every child should be encouraged to pick one field in which he or she can excel. Every child should be taught dignity of labour and how to assess own aptitude. Let each one teach one or sponsor the education of at least one child. Government should take strict action against whoever forces children to beg.

HARBIR K. SINGH, Chandigarh

Examination system should be fair

A fair examination system can guarantee quality. There are two types of teachers: they who are genuinely hardworking and sincere, and they who work hard only during examinations, not to help their students, but to aid them in cheating. The problem with the Education Department is that it canít really differentiate between the two.

Most teachers who show nearly 100 per cent class results every year will get exposed if the supervision is strict during examinations even for once. Their performance in examinations is directly proportional to the amount of cooperation the supervisor is willing to show. Cheating can be curbed, if subject teachers are banned from being anywhere near the centre where the examination is being held.

BALWINDER SINGH, Jalandhar City

II

No one can think of quality education under the dark shadow of cheating in board examinations. Private schools, which are more shops than temples of learning, encourage their students to cheat in examinations. Teachers in such schools are also not well qualified, while government teachers are buried too much under the weight of their non-teaching duties. Mid-day meal programmes may have reduced the dropout rate, but there should be separate officials to conduct such programmes.

Teachers should be accountable for bad results, but it should not affect their increments or transfers, otherwise theyíll resort to aiding their students in cheating during examinations. Inspections of government schools are conducted like police raids; only the attendance register for teachers is checked and it is not seen how they teach. Teachers regard seminars on education as picnics.

SUKHDEEP SINGH, Amritsar

Control dropout rate

Welfare states are duty-bound to provide everyone with elementary education. The states also need to select teachers on merit alone and lay emphasis on quality. The problem of dropouts can be tackled by giving free elementary education to all. Our syllabi are not uniform and moral education is not given in schools. Public schools, especially, should cater more to the underprivileged children.

GHANSHYAM SINGH BALI, Shimla

Stop blaming teachers for poor results

Being a government schoolteacher, I feel there should be one teacher for every 10 students up to the third standard. We should first improve the standard of teaching. The minimum qualification of primary teachers should be post-graduation. This will broaden their vision so that they can make students aware of their roles and responsibilities in society. They should be taught to work together.

Many schools donít have enough classrooms or basic infrastructure. These issues need to be sorted out first. Mass copying is another problem area. The Tribune recently reported the involvement of teachers in mass copying. This is happening because teachers are worried about the results of their schools. To stop their involvement, we should stop blaming them for poor show by students.

GUNINDER JEET KAUR, On e-mail

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