After independence, the central and state governments implemented a number of plans and policies to achieve the goal of universal elementary education. We have witnessed a significant increase of enrolment and literacy rates among school students throughout the decades. In 1951 the literacy rate of India used to be 13.49 % and now it is 74.04% as per the 2011 Census. During this period, the rate of literacy grew by 18.33 percent. After the implementation of the RTE Act 2009 some of the government and government aided schools have achieved minimum infrastructure. The Act is committed to safeguard the various aspects of child rights along with educational rights. The state governments are providing incentives like mid-day meals, scholarships, school uniforms and books to children. Trained teachers are being recruited after several screening procedures.
Why parents still cannot have faith in government schools? Regardless of their socio-economic condition, they are ready to send their children to private schools. Certain factors influence parents to withdraw their children from govt. schools, either directly or indirectly. First, government school teachers are packed with official work. They are not able to take classes. They are being noticed doing MDM related paper work and other official work for the school. The main reason is that our government schools do not have non-teaching staff like peons and clerks to do such things. Head teachers are always busy with official work. Secondly, higher authorities in school education are responsible for the negligence of the teaching and learning processes in schools.They are constantly pressuring the head teachers to provide various information throughout the years. Due to a lack of clerical staff, the head teachers engage other teachers to do the same.
Third, school education is exam- and syllabus oriented. Teachers are always in a hurry to finish their courses before examination anyhow. Consequently, they do not make any effort to teach students through play and other methods, which require much time for preparation and finishing chapters. Even many schools do not have sufficient teachers and classrooms to teach children. Two or three classes are often combined due to the shortage of teachers and classrooms. Fourthly, many government schools do not have adequate teaching materials and space for teaching. Finally, the attitude of the teachers play a significant role. A large number of youths now a days think becoming a school teacher is quite easy and is the best way to earn money. They do not join to serve the school, rather, they join to do a government job, which offers a handsome salary. The issue can be solved only when the parents will have faith in the teachers and they will work together for the betterment of children as well as schools. Parents or community members can work to identify the needs of the schools and mobilise resources.
(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)
Reetu Pradhan has a passion for writing in the Sambalpuri, Odia, and English languages. She has a master’s degree in English. Her articles have appeared in national publications. She can be reached at: [email protected]