Friday, June 27, 2014

All hopes from new government



India has new government in office and the people of the country have lots of hope and expectations from the prime minister and other ministers. The focus of the government might be on reducing the inflation, curbing the corruption and bringing the economy of the country on the right track but other areas are also to be looked into seriously and should be in the priority list. One of those is, the education and in that too the school education. The country witnessed some changes in the form of RTE Act and the reforms introduced by the central board of secondary education New Delhi. I wrote it before also that we must assess the impact of the reforms and the right to education act and must make amendments wherever necessary. Our prime minister said that the countrymen should be ready for some difficult decisions which would bring the desired improvement in different fields. I agree that the government should think for the entire country and all the people and not only for the people in groups. Our country has great culture and the same is to be restored. To do the same, the most important medium is the education. We must move away from narrow thinking of pleasing the people based on their caste, region and religion but have broader thoughts as Indian and important members of the global world. The children at school level need to be exposed to a balanced view of the past and the future and not an inclination towards so called right or left. It is heartening to know the views of the young and dynamic HRD minister in terms of futuristic approach. Though this is too early to say anything about her approach but the people in the field of education have high hopes from her that she will take concrete steps to lift the quality of our education system. She is expected to lead the nation in a manner that all stakeholders feel as they own the education system in force, in the country. She should involve maximum number of the people to revamp the system and no suggestion be considered less important. We must try to explain the motive and goal of the education to all. Should it be the degree only or the skill development also? I am quite impressed by the thoughts of the prime minister that skill development should be the focus of the education at secondary and senior secondary level. The chief minister of our state Smt. Vasundahra Raje has already started working on improving the quality of education in the state. All states should do the same. But this cannot take us to desired goals till the central government sets the goals of education with new zeal and open mind. Everybody understands the importance of education but the goals and objective are to be clarified further in this very fast changing world. We must be clear about the vision and the mission regarding the education in our country. We must clearly know how our education systems will improve the life of the citizens of the country because this is the education only which will eradicate the poverty and bring about the positive changes in the society. Education cannot be and should not be used to promote factionalism but the unity. This should help people come together than drifting away. We expect the government to take care of both the aspect of the education: quantity and the quality. Considering the size of our nation, government alone may not be able to do the most, so private sector should join hands with the government. The concept of PPP should be revived and the lack of trust between private sector and public sector should also be restored.  The entire private sector should not be viewed with doubt though there may be some elements not doing the work honestly. Such elements should be identified and removed from the system. There should be objectivity and transparency in the system. This should be very clear to all concerned that the objective of the education is very noble and this should not be taken as business because schools and universities cannot be equated with factories and offices. The educational institutes do not produce machines but wonderful human beings and the values inculcated cannot be worth any amount of money offered. The Government schools should have better infrastructure and the teachers teaching there should be avoided from asking them to do such work which distracts them from the real job they are appointed for. The promotion and transfers of these teachers should be on merit and the criterion of the same should be well defined and well known to all. This should not be left to the discretion of individuals. At the same time the interests of the private institution teachers should also be protected. The government must ensure that they are paid at least equal to the teachers of government schools. The norms decided for the private schools and colleges should be enforced seriously and any deviation from the norms should not be allowed irrespective of the brand name or the position of the promoters of such institutions. The organizations which do well should be rewarded and the others should be given opportunity to improve. The other important aspect is that the teachers must be given due recognition and regard in the society. This is very important to protect the children`s right and ensure that they grow as confident and respected citizens of the world but the teachers also deserve better place in the society and the concept of poor master should be done away with henceforth. The government must promote teaching as an important and front running profession and not to be the last choice for the people. I am of the firm opinion that if the teachers are respected and valued by the society then they will do the same to their students. One odd case or person who did not deserve to be teacher and did something wrong should not become a general concept that all teachers are of the similar worth. The devoted teachers should be talked about and be given recognition so that many children value them as their ideals and get motivated to choose teaching as their profession.
 The government must try to evolve a system to evaluate the teachers and the institutions in an objective and comprehensive manner. We can take advantage of Dubai government which has made the school inspection mandatory every year and the schools are graded and guided accordingly. The inspection of the schools is carried by KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) and it has helped schools improve the quality. The role of KHDA is not to find the short comings only but to help the schools how to perform better. This way all concerned remain alert and do not take things lightly. They improve in terms of academic achievement and also the confidence of the teachers and the students is consolidated. The ones who are not able to sustain the pressure will have to move away from the system. Such inspections inform the schools about the strengths' and the weaknesses'. Based on this information the schools can design the training of the teachers and that helps in their professional development. But before that the standard and the quality of teachers training institutes must be improved and they should be able to attract the better talent into their folds.
The government has many challenges but we expect them to live up to the expectations of the citizens of the country. But at the same time we as worthy citizens should also be ready to contribute for the development of the nation especially in the field of education. I request the teaching community and the society to respect the very noble profession of teaching and do not take it as a job only. I bring my thoughts to a close here, with lots of hope that our education system will also have good days in the near future.