EDUCATION SANS POLICY
“It is generally accepted that schools have to collect fees commensurate to the service provided to students. Sports fee, library fee, culture fee, examination fee and others as per the calculation appropriate to the actual provisions to students have to be collected at the time of admission. However, there is great disparity of fees among the private institutions. The private school fees, in the capital city of Delhi, are governed by the Delhi Education Act and the concerned education department. However, in Manipur the school fees are supposedly charged at their own discretion. Moreover, it is doubtful whether the annual audited statements of accounts of the private schools which are due to be submitted to state education department are genuine, transparent and sincerely framed by the management. Hence, it may be assumed that non-transparency of fee structure and financial accounts in private schools has helped increase the monetary demands by pressure groups from the schools.”
Education has been highly commercialized in Manipur. Both the government agencies and the private school owners have neglected the true vision and inherent social service mission of education. Besides undermining qualitative elements in recruiting teachers, government is negligent even in the simplest task of providing text books both in time and without mistakes. Meanwhile, in the absence of government’s care and supervision in all aspects of education, the private schools are monopolizing education and turning schools into industries. Hence, it is high time for the government to adopt and implement a concrete, up-dated and suitable education policy of the state.
Text books fiasco surfaces every academic session. In principle, the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has to act as the nodal agency for preparing text books, as is done in other states of India. However, since the SCERT in Manipur is in lack of due academic creativity and since it is kept as a simple government department, the works of text book production are to be supposedly assigned to the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur. Meanwhile, obviously the Board awards the printing works to incompetent firms, thereby delaying the books production process. No doubt, there are a lot of competent firms in the state that can implement the works in time. These firms But the authorities do not allot works to them. Favoritism and corruption in the government sector have devalued their service. It is very embarrassing on the part of the state education department that the true vision and mission of education have been jeopardized due to corruption.
The Education in the state has now become a big industry. A number of private schools have emerged here and there, because of lack of qualitative teaching in government institutions. Private schools have their good sides too, as they teach subjects out of BOSEM-prescribed pattern, taking into account the needs of the grooming students. In fact, the endeavour of adding subjects like computer science, moral science and general knowledge in school curriculum of beginners out of BOSEM prescription is encouraging. Although the private schools are supposedly superior to the lots of government schools in respect of producing better and excellent students, most private schools have their inherent commercial vision thereby jeopardizing overall quality maintenance.
Private schools in Manipur are not governed by any government established rules and supervised by public authority. In matters of recruitment, service extension, termination and salary fixation for teachers, most of the private school management authorities exercise monopoly. In regard to collection of fees, there is no regularity at all. Most private institutions charge student fees at their own discretion without any basis. It is generally accepted that schools have to collect fees commensurate to the service provided to students. Sports fee, library fee, culture fee, examination fee and others as per the calculation appropriate to the actual provisions to students have to be collected at the time of admission. However, there is great disparity of fees among the private institutions. The private school fees, in the capital city of Delhi, are governed by the Delhi Education Act and the concerned education department. However, in Manipur the school fees are supposedly charged at their own discretion. Moreover, it is doubtful whether the annual audited statements of accounts of the private schools which are due to be submitted to state education department are genuine, transparent and sincerely framed by the management. Hence, it may be assumed that non-transparency of fee structure and financial accounts in private schools has helped increase the monetary demands by pressure groups from the schools.
Education in the state may be termed as purely tuition-oriented. No student is on the top ranks without private tuitions. There have emerged lots of private tutors to serve the guardians’ wishes and also to make up the inadequacy in schools. Private tuition has also been institutionalized and private tutors are paid in four digit amounts. Advertisements for private tuition centres have flooded local newspapers. The premises of reputed tutors are over-crowded with two-wheelers and four-wheelers of guardians right from early morning. Guardians do not hesitate to pay hefty thousands of rupees per course for different subjects. It has become a convention that a student seeks private tuition for all subjects – mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, arts subjects, English, Manipuri, Hindi and what not.
Earlier, private tuition was required for a few weak students and on selected subjects. Nowadays, almost all students are sent to private tuition, if the parents are affordable. One of the important features of present day school education in Manipur, besides tuition, is the bulk home tasks given to students. Guardians are made to engage most of their time, money and energy for their wards. It is, on one side, encouraging and applauded in many circles that such trend of parent-involvement is beneficial to both the guardians and the wards. However, economically and socially, we can not expect good academic outcome and dynamic personality among these students, as most of their available time are devoted to learning. Physical movements, interacting, social activities, recreation etc. are also important components for moulding good career. For the poor parents who can not afford such expenses, the private tuition is a big curse. Many poor students are desperate and demoralized.
Quality education can be brought about by a long term process with sincere involvement of students, parents, teachers, government and private administrators. At present, the use of unfair means in examination is almost successfully controlled and prevented. It is a positive outcome in the process of bringing in quality education. Thanks to certain groups for their noble initiative. However, we can not be complacent only in streamlining examination conduct. Teaching process, right from nursery stage, needs to be monitored as a long term policy.
The Manipur Education Code adopted in 1985 has become obsolete and is not suitable to the changed educational spectrum of this state. The lack of a suitable, coherent and up-to-date education policy is responsible for increasing immorality and criminality in the society. It has led to rampant corruption and nepotism in education sector. There is no control of education system and the private education institutes are rampaging at their own free will with sky rocketing fees and exploiting the unemployed educated youth with paltry salaries. There are no specific eligibility criteria for recruitment in teaching post and their commensurate service conditions. It is a deliberate policy of poisoning the younger generation and a systematic way of suppressing the poor and children of remote areas. All private schools and educational institutions need to be brought under control and the government has to fix their School fees, Admission fees, and the salaries of teachers’ etc and pay tax to the government as well. The SCERT is required to be upgraded and assigned academic exercises, by putting academic and intellectual personalities as its operators. As for instance, it is imperative to have a reputed academician as the Director of the SCERT. The students’ bodies, teachers associations, school management committees, guardians’ associations etc. need to understand the changing educational scenario of the state and push forward towards having a state education policy for grooming the future pillars of the nation.
(The writer is a free lance columnist)
Seram Neken Source: Hueiyen News Service