The education dilemma!

A promising and creative satirist Anil Chingaree in his recent presentation demarcates the plight of the state’s education system in a very artistic manner. In his imaginative story, Anil relates that while seeking admission for his son to a prestigious private educational institution, he was promised excellent products, but for quality education reminded of extra tuition classes for his ward. On his protest, the management ridiculed him by saying ‘tohie Kushrean gatchi aasun soriee muftie’ (Kashmiris ask for freebies every time). Making his story more meaningful and exciting Anil says,’ Later while approaching a government school, I found several students virtually dragging a fellow towards the school. I advised these students to leave him alone and join their studies. The students were quick to say, how can we learn without this teacher?’.  This raw but meaningful skit defines our education setup in its right form. On the one hand, we are fleeced to extreme depth with rosy promises, and on the other taxpayer’s money practically goes down the drain!

Anyways, satire and skits can make us aware of the shortfalls in the societal system and other aspects of life. But for finding the answer to such stressful situations, it lies in knowledge through quality education. Outright complaining about and criticizing the private education sector will be unfair. Private educational institutions in the past have contributed a lot, and many establishments continue to play a vital role in reforming society through better and affordable education. However, a substantial section of the private education sector fits well in Chingaree’s description.

Undoubtedly new research-oriented education mechanism cannot run on charities. In the contemporary era, tools of education, infrastructure, and human resource require considerable investment and efforts. So education comes at a cost.  But commercializing education and turn it into money-spinning industry degrades the quality of teaching and size of knowledge. Earlier, even the private institutions were confined to fewer aspects of moral, physical, and intellectual schooling. Venturing into transportation, books, and stationery selling and also tailoring uniforms does not auger well for any educational institution. At least there should be a very distinctive line[barrier] between the true educationist and a typical Baniyaa! Imparting education (even if against price) is a noble profession that not only will be rewarded in this materialistic world, but the celestial voyage will also be satisfying.

Anil Chingaree’s description of public sector education system is no less close to reality. Most of the best human resource available with government educational institutions are either lazy or take their assignments lightly (exceptions can be and are there). Enjoying good perks as compared to private school teachers, the government teaching staff never feel contended the way their colleagues earlier used to be. Again denying the contribution of the state-run education system in character and nation-building outright will make no sense while dissecting the state’s overall education scenario. However, trusting this system for the betterment of our future generation blindfolded anymore will be high risk. Politics and red tape-ism over the period has plagued the public education system and rendered it crippled. Defective human resource management and weak infrastructure have further complicated it. Ill-conceived education promotion schemes marred with inefficiency and corruption has lowered the quality of education in these institutions by several notches. Presently the state-run education sector is on crossroads!

 Satire aside, there is no comparison between private and public education systems in the state. Lines are drawn; private sector caters to the elite, and upper-middle-class and the state-run education system left for the lower-middle-class and poor. So, our existing education setup is an indicator of our class [economic and social status] structure. The more affluent and elite are hooked to commercialised education and the poor destined to be with the state’s poorly run and withered education system. A class-war in the making that too on the steps of temples of learning! The earlier Gurukuls and Madrasas were better than present-day institutions where students were brought down to a level field and then made to rise to their capability. When the name and size of seat of learning becomes a status symbol and a point of prestige, the students are not taught but cast into moulds of materialism and arrogance. The choice is ours! The money-oriented traders are always on the prowl to exploit the public mindset. And that is how during the last two decades almost every trader tried his or her luck in the education sector and stuck gold. This nation is left with only two options to have a justified and equal education system. Either the state should surrender before the private sector and allow it to run the education system with the government having exclusive monitoring authority. Or the whole education system should be state-owned with the private sector providing only the limited logistics having no role in policymaking, planning, and refining students.