Admission time is always a period of stress and anxiety for many parents who are concerned about their child’s education and their all-round physical and spiritual development. With scores of schools promising high quality education imparted by professional teachers in a healthy environment for the overall development of a child, this shouldn’t have been a problem, particularly in urban locations of the country, but finding a good school is becoming a real problem across the length and breadth of the country. Utterly frustrated with the reality in the country, many conscious parents with the economic means are increasingly sending their children to schools in India though schools there might be just as bad.
Bad Public schools
Let me talk only briefly about our public schools for I don’t want to waste my time talking about something which is obvious like the open sky. Within the limits of our resources—given the huge amount our government spends on school education, particularly to remunerate teachers and on their perks and benefits—public schools should provide reasonably good education. Moreover, unlike other civil servants, most public school teachers are posted in their hometown or village which is of enormous economic significance to them for it saves them house rent, enables them to manage their private property and the like. But it is utterly frustrating that most public school teachers’ sincerity, hard work and dedication toward their profession is almost next to nothing. That most public school teachers have their sons and daughters admitted to private schools instead of the schools they themselves teach in serves as a testimony and speaks volumes about the education they provide.
Extreme and filthy commercialization
Not even pubs and restaurants, hotels that run casinos, in fact nothing in this country is more commercialized than education right from the primary level to the top. Boarding schools get commission everywhere from books to uniform. Most charge heavily for computer education, science lab, library, games, medicine, but hardly provide anything to the students. I know a school in Damak (no name) with almost 2,000 students which charges almost Rs 1,000 for library but surprising does not even provide a newspaper to students and teachers. You can imagine how lucrative a business education has become because you can charge money generously but don't have to provide facilities. Even a 'c' grade restaurant which serves wine/alcohol diluted with water gives one somewhere between 30-40% of what you pay, but boarding schools sometimes give you nothing. This is blatant plunder, to use the right term. A robber loots in the dark but there are many private schools in this country that loot in broad daylight! While most private schools charge exorbitant fees, they provide a pittance (starvation salaries) to their teachers. Exploited to the brim, private school teachers, their education and awareness notwithstanding, are among the most pathetic and helpless creatures in this country. The government does nothing because it works for the benefit of unscrupulous people who own boarding schools.
A culture of mass cheating
Among other things, boarding schools take pride and unfailingly brag about the quality of education they provide. They cite the excellent grade the private schools deliver every year as a testimony. Unfortunately, many of us are simply taken for a ride. The reality is that class ten board examination results is nothing but a sham. Boarding schools only deliver such astonishing results because of a culture of mass cheating which they have mercilessly promoted in the last few years. Seating in the exam hall is tampered, guides and guess papers are let in, even answers printed in carbon copies are passed and circulated and many more. This is what has happened in many centers in Damak and surely in many parts of the country as well. Everyone involved--the invigilators, the district education office, the police-work in collusion only because those who run boarding business have the ill-gotten filthy money to buy them all. Surprisingly, students who have never passed any internal examination pass the class ten board examinations with an astonishing A+. Evidences to what I have claimed are galore. A bit of investigation will bring the reality to the fore.
The Myth of quality education
That private schools deliver quality is only a myth. It is mostly only those who fail to make it anywhere who take to teaching in private schools as a last option. For the bulk of all those working at private schools, teaching is a compulsion not a choice. Moreover, private schools, even those who make millions, who spend extravagantly on advertisement on print and the electronic media, hardly spend a penny on upgrading their human resources. Amidst such a reality quality education that private schools brag about so much is just a myth.
We can’t remain indifferent and shut our eyes to the all-pervasive decay in school education that we have witnessed in the last few years. Public schools must deliver quality which they can afford financially. Teachers must be made accountable for their performance and delivery. Private schools must be tamed, the widespread loot that exists must end, private school owners and all those who are involved in promoting a culture of mass cheating must be put behind the bars. These parasites are worse than criminals for a criminal destroys an individual or a group of individuals but people who destroy children’s future destroy the whole society.