Why the state-funded education system in India is in shambles?
Every year thousands of well-qualified teachers are recruited by various state governments in India to expand the educational network. However, not much discussion takes place as to why the public sector education system is in shambles, and why in spite of spending enormous amounts of taxpayer’s money to strengthen the public sector education system, people prefer to send their children to privately-owned schools.
The main difference between the teachers who work with government run schools and their counterparts in private schools is – the teachers with government schools, after getting the job, feel absolutely secure and they neither feel the need for improving their skills nor do they feel like keeping themselves abreast of the latest developments in the profession. As a result, their knowledge fast becomes obsolete and they slowly grow inefficient. As there isn’t much pressure to perform in the classroom and bring about improvement among the students, they show lackadaisical approach towards their profession and start doing side businesses like real estate, money lending or insurance advisory. Once they become busy with their extracurricular activities, they neglect their responsibilities towards the student community.
In sharp contrast to the environment in government-run schools, the teachers who work with private schools always feel insecure and out of that feeling, they engage themselves in constant and continuous sharpening of their skills. They are also subjected to tremendous pressure by their superiors and they work under the shadow of constant and continuous monitoring. As there is intense competition among private schools, they are more receptive to experimentation with modern methods in teaching. There are many school managements who think very progressively and give academic freedom to their staff in introducing new methods in teaching.
Gone are the days when the teachers were strictly advised to stick to the prescribed syllabus but these days going beyond the textbooks has become a fad in teaching. Taking students on field trips, activity based teaching and learning by doing have become part of the teaching-learning process.
This blogger started his teaching career with a private residential public school. While he was working there, he and his colleagues were put through continuous in-house training by their management. His principal would always talk about developing rounded personality among the students, and to achieve that he invested a large amount of money on infrastructure expansion. According to Howard Gardener’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, there are seven intelligences, namely, linguistic, logical, intra-personal, interpersonal, kinesthetic, musical and spatial. He created all the facilities like a lingua phone facility, a prayer room and would also organize many social gatherings. He expanded sports infrastructure and recruited teachers for music, painting and other performing arts. The main intention was to sharpen the multiple intelligences of the students. The qualifications that were required to join as a teacher in that school were graduation in the relevant discipline, good command over the subject, teaching experience, the ability to deal with students in a matured manner, and good communication skills. A B. Ed degree was desirable but not compulsory.
Most of the privately owned schools get associated with teacher trainer institutions and get their staff trained by experienced teacher trainers, who visit these private schools at regular intervals to share their ideas on latest teaching methods and technologies in imparting education. In government-run schools, though they have high salary drawing teachers, don’t have the required infrastructure facilities. There are many irregularities reported in the procurement of teaching aids and sports equipment. But the private schools, on the other hand, spend a lot of money on infrastructure and create the facilities required to make learning easy and enjoyable for their students.
The rot that has entered the government schools made them almost defunct. The teachers who are strongly unionized are not only able to shirk their responsibilities but also gain a considerable political clout. There are many people who feel that the government teachers do everything – money lending, insurance advisory, real estate brokering and what not. The only thing they don’t do is teaching. So the present-day public sector education system is not only defunct but also untenable. The system imposes an enormous burden on public exchequer and becomes a drain on tax payer’s money. So there should be a discussion on the ways and means of universalizing education but without government teachers who have turned into white elephants.