Education under the scanner
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is with regret that we learn of the poor performance of students in Government-run schools. This is not a new thing and the malaise has been festering since so many years. Government schools are in majority and are established for the majority of students of rural background and whose parents can ill afford the costs of private schools.
The same goes for colleges.At long last the Government has decided to downgrade schools which have shown dismal performance. It is not that the students who attend Government schools are less intelligent than those who attend private schools. The issue is more with the standard of teaching and the qualification of teachers. Today, even Government school students wear proper uniforms and they have several facilities like being made eligible for scholarships depending on their performance in their examinations.
Another benefit still available to students of Government schools and colleges is the privilege of NCC (National Cadet Corps) training as also the Bharat Scouts and Girl Guides, an activity which remains restricted to those attending private schools. And it is sometimes a matter of pride to watch when these students, boys and girls, march on the parade ground during Republic Day or even the State Inauguration Day, along with the Army/Assam Rifles, CRPF, NAP, NP, Women Police, and IRB contingents.
So what then is the malaise? The truth is that the authorities that be right from the ministerial, MLA, Secretary, Director and other authorities in the education department have been inept, or involved in nepotism or partiality for whatever reasons including ensuring backdoor appointments of unqualified teachers stretching over three decades.
Some scams can go on for some time but ultimately, there is a bill to pay them. The result is that the majority of our students have had to take the brunt of it—all because of lack of vision of many of those who are supposed to ensure proper education for our young children. For, it is needless to emphasize that among the foremost factors that go to make a civilization strong and improve is the quality of education that is imparted to the students.
Therefore, it is no wonder that many parents scrimp and scrounge and save to send their children to private schools so that they get a better and more refined education. This is not to say that Government school teachers and college lecturers are less qualified. In fact, most of them are indeed qualified but a number of them fall into the snare of being like servants of any other Government department and so tend to be lackadaisical towards their duties as teachers of the future generations. And yet, many of them try to get their share of financial award on Teachers’ Day.
Education can never be bought like a packet of cigarettes or a cup of tea nor can it ever be injected into one’s brains through a syringe. Yet it still costs money to pay for the school fees, books and uniforms plus other requirements. The secret is in ensuring that the children pay attention in class, absorb what they have learnt for the day and do their home work diligently. And of course, regular attendance in class.
As of now, Nagaland spews out about 15,000 matriculates each year which number decreases with the higher level of classes. The majority of these belong to the private schools although numerically they are outnumbered by the Government schools students.
It is, therefore, most encouraging to learn that the incumbent School Education Minister, CM Chang, is in the process of revamping the entire system through proper management and enforcing necessary discipline. This may take time but at least the department has taken a step, a baby step perhaps, but in the right direction.
It is also for the bureaucrats and teachers concerned to gird up their loins and throw in their knowledge, experience et al in the future interests of an educated Nagaland.