Updated on 18 Oct 2021, 12:43 pm
(Representational Image: Unsplash)
In recent times, school education in Manipur has become a fertile ground for experimenting with projects for ‘development’ of government schools. The so-called projects, though well intended, lack a holistic approach for all-round development or for overhauling the school education system in the state which had all along been plagued with so many ailments and inconsistencies. The thought process of the policy planners and political bosses always seems to work on piecemeal basis and at the end, it always seems to boil down to development of physical infrastructure.
Previous governments and ministers have tried to address the issue in their own way. A few have introduced the idea of model schools in the different districts, equipping the so-called model districts with new infrastructure and facilities and posting good teachers. Yet, it failed to garner the desired performance of students from these model schools while on the other hand it enriched favoured contractors who were entrusted with repairing and refurbishing the schools, and supplying new furniture besides other items.
The present BJP led government also introduced the ‘School Fagathansi Mission’ in a seemingly new perspective in a wider canvass. However, the focus seems to be directed more on development of physical infrastructure rather than overall development. The same basic principle of infrastructure development or improvement and infusion of more teachers to the identified schools is at work here.
When S Rajen took over as the Education Minister, he expressed his aim to prioritise development of government schools in order to attract parents to send their children to government schools. He mused as to why parents prefer private schools to government schools for the education of their children. The answer is simple. Private school management always make it a point to focus on performance of their students while ensuring that their teachers are not time servers like those in government schools.
We had earlier suggested constitution of an Education Commission composed of renowned educationists besides several other stakeholders to study the situation and recommend new measures and policies to enhance the school education system, in the light of the new Education Policy announced by the Narendra Modi led government at the Centre.
It is time for ministers to shed the notion that they are all-knowing and they always have the right solution on their fingertips, and must learn to rely on expert opinion which in this context would be the proposed Education Commission.
Once again, we would like to reiterate that a holistic approach is always needed in the pursuit of a realistic overhaul of the school education system. Any piecemeal approach or selective development would only lead to waste of public money and defeat the purpose.
Selective development of infrastructure, physical or manpower, in some centrally located high or higher secondary schools while neglecting the rest and other schools which serve as feeder schools will not bring back public confidence to the government schools. It would only lead to mushrooming growth of more private players in the school education system.
Another important aspect is that a sound transfer and posting policy of teachers and lecturers should be in place so as to invoke commitment and good performance from them. Till date, transfer and posting of teachers had been conducted at the whims of the political bosses. There has been complaints of deserving Lecturers with a tenure of 5 to 10 years being left out in the recent transfer and posting of 800 something lecturers in the higher secondary schools as a part of the School Fagathansi mission.
Unless genuine grievances are rectified and deserving teachers are given new posting, the much-avowed mission is bound to fail.