School is the bedrock
FROM HERE WE LAY THE FOUNDATION OF A ROBUST SYSTEM OF EDUCATION, WRITES DR FAROOQ AHMAD PEER
Nobody knows when or where the first schools were started. But it is not so difficult to understand why they started? The earliest school of which we have any knowledge was one existed in Mesopotamia around 2100 B. C. The object of the creation of schools there was surely to impart the teaching of reading and writing. On the walls of such ancient schools, when it was excavated, were found the words ‘he who shall excel at tablet writing shall shine like the sun’. In those days, as in many parts of the world today, literacy was the privilege of the few and it was regarded as a key to power and prestige. A civilized society believes that books and schools are the possessions which protect and conserve the skills and wisdom of the old and make them available for the future generation. They transfer the wealth of education from one generation to another and keep continuity of knowledge alive. They are instrumental in pushing a society towards awareness of past, present and future and enable it to come out of darkness to light. The School particularly shapes the future of younger generation who in due course of time shape the society. Moreover, Schools impose a link or relation between society and education and usually the society uses education to strength its stability, advancement and for change and transformation.
In this modern and knowledge- oriented society of today, a phenomenal expansion has taken place in the area of education at school level as well as at higher education level. At school level, the number schools have increased from thousands to lakhs in the country and from hundreds to thousands in the State of J and K. This increase of schools in number has emerged in Government as well as in Private sector. Since there is much expansion of schools in our state, the need of quality than quantity has become imperative and pressing nowadays. The system of education cannot develop without the better standard of schools and moreover, it cannot develop in isolation from the social realities of a society. For a better society, better education is important and this is possible only when there is better system of schools. To have a talented and standard younger generation, all the advanced societies and countries of the world put every effort to make their school education system qualitative. They in their countries are more concerned about the development of educational sector rather than the development of roads and buildings because they are conscious about the fact that it is individuals and not money which civilizes a nation. They believe that healthy educational environment can make healthy society and fruits of progress and development shall follow. But in our State, roads, buildings, and misadventures seem to be the sole priorities of the rulers, officials, policy makers and educationists. It is generally felt here that school education which is imparted through schools from 1st class to Hr. secondary part 11nd is the most important sector of education and unfortunately its agents (schools) have become a victim of official apathy and casualness. It is dismaying to find that the schools in these modernized times are underdeveloped and poor conditioned in terms of basic needs. This indescribable condition and environment of schools run by the government has caused an unwanted increase of private schools or public schools which invariably make news irrespective of the nature of claims and allegations made on their behalf.
Nobody can dispute the fact that the miserable and declining educational environment in Government schools has given birth to an unprecedented increase of private schools in the name of expansion of education. These and the other already well established public schools in the valley claim to have undertaken a mission to serve the cause of education and unfortunately their mission seems to have changed from mission of education to mission of money. The growth of private and public schools has not only proved undesirable and burdensome for the students and parents but also for the society in which we live because education in these schools has become a choice and prestige for the rich and these cannot be expected to serve general society as their fee structure and other expenses, and admission policies are out of the reach of the general or poor public. Admissions for lower standards in these schools start with donations or payments under the table. These schools not only charge heavy fees combined with compulsory purchases of uniforms, books and stationary from stores which are directly or indirectly run by these schools themselves but also lack a competent, permanent and well trained staff and it has been the practice of these schools to hire teaching staff on daily wage basis to save money for themselves. Moreover, these schools have been changed into the personal properties of some individuals whose sole aim is to loot this depressed and exploited society of Kashmir. The students studying in these schools are disgusted for not having adequate facility of trained teachers, libraries, computers and other necessary facilities during winter and summer even though they pay heavy sums to them on monthly basis. It is to note down here that the charges of money by these schools which are indicated on the fee cards for imparting various trainings and teaching of courses never exist and take place. One cannot deny the fact that these schools have played a pivotal role in providing education and in the people would really relish sending their wards to these schools but corruption and mismanagement has polluted the environment of these schools also.
Since the education in private and public schools is very costly and beyond the reach of the poor and rural students, role of Government schools to serve the society becomes significant and hence their establishment and existence is indispensable. But one feels shocked and mentally disturbed that the Government schools where the children of our poor class of society pursue their studies, have remained uncared and unattended and the condition of these schools is worsening day by day. Although a lot of money is sanctioned for the development of these schools by the central as well as by the state Government but it is is mismanaged and improperly spent by the responsible people. Since a huge amount of money is invested into this sector, one is astounded to find that why the infrastructure and other physical facilities of Government schools have remained underdeveloped and poor in these advanced times. A close look at the Government schools unravels the truth that they are in bad and appalling conditions due to improper and uncongenial accommodations, with no facility of furniture and furnishing, and in the absence of bathroom or toilet facilities, life for the students as well as teachers is agonizing and dreadful.
There is an urgent need to formulate a policy by the school education department to make teachers responsible and accountable for poor results and poor performance in the government schools. Everybody, teachers, managers, officers and policy makers, all are responsible for low results in these schools and it is viewed and opined that the system of education is on rocks from primary level to the Hr. Secondary level. The teachers claim that due to the awry and erroneous policies of the Policy makers, the schools and their position has become shabby and as result of which the system has got dwindled. They believe that skewed and unjustified policies are adopted and the result of these is that teachers working in the schools feel throttled for opting the profession. The department of school education claims that it has brought education on the rails and has made it qualitative by providing better facilities and infrastructure in schools and has also recruited talented and trained teachers in the department to come up to the expectations of the society but this needs to be a reality. It is also believed that the policy of Mid day meals which was introduced by the central government to attract the poor class of society towards education to eradicate illiteracy from the society, has been misused in the state. It has been reported that the money allotted by the centre for the implementation of this policy is misused and this policy in the state has effected badly the educational environment of the schools, and teachers working in these schools remain busy in purchase of items for meals and cooking, thereby ignoring the teaching part of the schools. Here the department needs to take measures to ensure that a separate staff is recruited for serving meals and absolve teachers from this responsibility to protect the studies of the students. Or the department could abandon this scheme and request the government to invest the money accrued from this policy on the basic infrastructure of the schools.
The managers, policy makers and teachers of school education department should bear in mind that today education has been conceptualized as a factor that promotes economic growth and therefore, it needs more investment not only in terms of money but also in dedication, devotion, responsibility and honesty. The civilized and advanced nations of the world have understood the reality that education is the only means to achieve transformation in terms of culture, advancement of science and technology, economic development and success in moral and religious values. A society’s educational system needs to be balanced and reinforcing so that it is able to regulate the activities of its members towards betterment and progress. No society can function without education and so there must be a conducive atmosphere for promoting education. The political system of a society must have education as priority and they have a duty to fulfill their tall promises made in their election manifestoes to turn the educational system into an effective, productive and qualitative one. They need to realize the fact that the failure of Government schools to develop and attract students and to stop them from dropping out means a disservice to the society.
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Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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