What a simple comparison tells us

Why government schools lag far behind in performance than the schools in private sector
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Education is key to development. It is more important than the most important sectors and departments. Where it is weak or defective in meeting the competitive challenges of changing life nation skids off to the lowest rung of power and honor.

It is a human resource development outcome. It grooms at primary level, blooms in secondary level and starts offering fruit bearing capacity generally after college level.

The right and stronger the resource, better the results in the form of a sound, stable, satisfactory, secure and safe society.

There is not even a solitary example of any nation in history attaining power and prestige through easy-going, lotus-eating or sans proper, full and continuous investment in education.

Like others, Jammu & Kashmir too has an age old widely deep-rooted department of school education with thousands of teaching and non-teaching employees earning livelihood through it. However, the results are quite different vis-à-vis private schools.

The dismal picture is confirmed publicly when the J & K BOSE publishes results annually. The department of school education fails deplorably in the number of pass-outs and the higher percentage of marks/grades obtained by the private school students.

Indubitably child education & development is a three tier process where  care of parents, efforts of pupil and guidance of teachers converge. But major part of responsibility lies on the shoulders of department concerned, especially teachers who are armed specifically for the job of teaching.

To tackle the problem the department from some time past resorted to issuing orders prior to the commencement of the new academic session banning the government school teachers from taking classes at private tuition centers. This has become an annual event divulging non-implementation on ground.

In circular instructions dated 11-11-2022 department of school education (DoSE) invoked Rule 10 among 29 Rules of J & K (Conduct) Rules 1971 (CSCRs) and directed teaching faculty to desist from taking private tuitions.  This rule with three sub-rules and explanations thereto lays down that, “No Government employee whether on leave or active service, shall except with the previous sanction of the Government engage directly or indirectly in any trade or business or undertake any other employment.”

The DoSE directed proprietors of private coaching centers too to ensure that no government teacher taught there. In addition the DoSE recapitulated Section 28 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 which postulates that no teacher shall engage himself or herself in private tuition or private teaching activity.

This Act containing 38 Sections became applicable to J & K in 2019. The department further made a reference to the J & K Hon’ble High Court in a case under Writ Petition (C) No.10/2021 titled Farooq Ahmad versus Union Territory of J & K and Others where the DoSE (school as well as higher secondary) was directed to implement the Rule 10 under reference in letter and spirit and ensure that no member of its teaching faculty engages in private tuition at private coaching/tuition centers without previous sanction of the Government. Curative measures are good, preventive better, but result matters the most. Repeating ban orders and the unsatisfactory results in the various exams indicate lucidly rebellious attitude of the truants who prey the exchequer and deceive the nation as well.

We have set so many records queerly. We have had schools where there were not only surplus teachers as per prescribed teacher-taught ratio but the number of faculty was more than the number of students.

We have had institutions where none of the students could make to find any place for years together in the pass/merit boards. Rarity on display. It happened as some selfish bureaucratic and cruel political strands worked in tandem with each other although education was/is compromise resistant.

The system of the universe is not static. There is a constant move, change, and this cycle does not allow anything to remain static except the fundamental laws and principles within which life is required to adjust as a player within the field boundaries. 

Education is a peaceful and progressive means for such change to live honourably. A hollowed system of education and indifferent class of teaching faculty shall not but lead societies fumble and stumble in the game of life.

Had the teaching community delivered even half of their duty hours meaningfully the results would have been good. It is not a tale from Arabian Nights woven for amusement but a fact that in terms of pay and privileges private school teachers are no match for government school teachers but by virtue of output, reverse is the case.

For a simple reason and equation if private school teachers getting mostly peanuts with less or no job security or elevation chances can manage exemplary results why cannot the better placed government teachers drawing fat salary, two DAs and three percent increment annually, enjoying assured career progression, many kinds of leave, relaxed working hours, provision of trainings and teaching-learning material perform like private schools generally do.

With due respect to person/profession if malcontents involved in dereliction of duty or attending to private teaching centers/activity in violation of government orders and CSCRs find the incumbency less lucrative or un-matching to their merit or need they are free to relinquish the job and pursue other lawful activities including teaching at private tuition centers and satisfy their merit and mettle.

However, if they fail to respect their conscience Government has the option to act under relevant rules to deal with the aching tooth for the corrupt practice.

For those contending to continue in the slots promotions and perks should be linked to their performance. Performance cards of the teachers should be evaluated after every two months and any lacuna found done away with proper rectification.

Prescribed syllabus may be apportioned over the net annual working academic session and completed within the targeted period. Any deficiency in coverage or quality may be made up by diverting extra time and skill.

Parent-teacher meetings may be held whenever necessary for addressing the weak areas. Wards may be put to tests and their report cards sent regularly to their parents for any course correction. However, power of rules should not be an arbitrary whip of authorities.

The author is a former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the A.G’s Office Srinagar.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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