Updated 19 Jul 2022, 3:25 am
Recently, the mainstream media in Imphal emphasised on the absence of any government school student among the 25 toppers of the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination. It is exactly not a new thing in Manipur.
Toppers were mostly from either the mission schools or private schools, as usual. It was very difficult for government schools to make the cut while a few could make the topper list through individual effort. Chief Minister N Biren Singh was undaunted with the results as he said that the pass percentage of students from government schools substantially improved as compared to previous years and he went on to attribute the improvement to the School Fagathansi Mission and the new STAR education policy recently launched by his government.
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While asking government teachers to strive for 100 pc pass percentage, the Chief Minister made an announcement that the government will also honour and award teachers of government schools which had secured high pass percentage in the recent HSLC examination.
We do not have much to say about the STAR education policy as we are yet to witness the results in real time. But, we intend to discuss the School Fagathansi Mission. 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.
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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.
Last year, the 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.
The last Education minister 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 makes it a point to focus on the performance of their students while ensuring that their teachers are not time servers like those in government schools.
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That is, of course, very important in the scheme of things. However, one must also understand scoring high marks and topping examinations is not the end of education. The prime objective of every private school management is always to ensure high marks and inclusion in the top rankings from its students, as public perception is always focussed on which school makes the cut in the top rankings. That is good for business, as most parents flock to such schools for admission to the next class.
However, no parent seems to question whether there is overall improvement in knowledge base and personality development of their wards in a system primarily focussed on scoring of high marks in the private schools. Yes we agree that, it encourages a sense of competition among the students. But, it also causes a sense of dejection and frustration among others who could not make the grade.
First published:19 Jul 2022, 3:25 am
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