Wither education: Who to blame?

Wither Education

Patna: Recently a district magistrate entered a class room and fired a few questions before a teacher in front of camera. The teacher fumbled. The video clip became viral. The quality of education in schools stood exposed and people had a hearty laugh at something that should have evoked wails from the society.

Why have we reached a stage where we unabashedly enjoy the plight of the system we are ourselves part of? Have we become a bunch of insensitive and selfish people, who refuse to look beyond self, knowing that the suffering could be contagious.

Slide of System

If we acknowledge we have bad teachers in schools, it is not a reflection of any individual. Rather, it reflects the slide of the system. Education cannot and should not be seen in isolation. If we have bad teachers, it means we are producing bad graduates. It means our teachers’ training programmes are a sham. It means we have reduced ourselves to a mere certificate distribution system.

A Vice Chancellor involved in a corruption case becomes a hot topic of discussion, as if one individual can do all wrong without the support of the system that propelled one to the high office manoeuvring through the Supreme Court-prescribed system of search committee for selection of a panel of names from a long list of aspiring academicians, which ultimately gets vetted by the highest office of the Governor-cum-Chancellor and the Chief Minister through “meaningful and effective consultation”.

Sordid Saga

Rajendra Prasad is neither the first VC nor will be the last to expose the sordid saga of Bihar’s universities, where students are last on the priority list, academic sessions running late by up to three years hardly evokes any response and good teachers have to live with the ignominy of helplessly seeing all this happen before their eyes and follow the diktats of undeserving ones.

Not that good and dedicated teachers are not there in Bihar, but the irony is they are not wanted or do not suit the scheme of things governed by false glitter of doctored research papers, false claims of academic superiority and right connections. The allegations of money-play in the appointment is too much to digest till date for the older generation of academicians, who were once witness to renowned and widely respected names on the august chairs.

System in Silos

The problem in Bihar is that education has been largely dealt with in silos – elementary, secondary, higher etc. The fact is that the teachers of today, who are being ridiculed, are products of our own system of higher education. What is more, the higher education depends on the intake from our school system. The most alarming thing is that we fail to realise that we are only laughing at ourselves.

It is a classic case of self-pity, but we are not ready to acknowledge it, as we tend to overlook it for short-term gains. Everything is coming back to us in the way we deserve, and we still keep our eyes closed to the factors that are manifesting through such ramifications.

Why the rot?

After all, how long can we continue to take refuge in the excellence of Nalanda and Vikramshila, which were flag bearers of education and drew students from far and wide in the years of yore? Why go that far? The present crop of bureaucrats and political leadership in the top echelons are all from the same government education system. Why did they allow the rot to set in? Didn’t they feel it their responsibility to contribute to their alma maters, which would have welcomed them with folded hands and inspired others.

An officer having lunch with kids for a day makes such welcoming news. Why not make it a regular feature. Perhaps, this is what prompted the Patna High Court to speak about segregation in the education system and how wards of officers and those well off no more study in the government school system. Understandably they don’t have stakes, except that they want their wives and wards to draw salary through the same system without having to do anything to lift it.

Freebies don’t work

Education is too serious a business to be left for the market forces to run. It cannot be treated like a product, nor can freebies bring about any lasting change. It requires passion and involvement. Institution builders are remembered for ever. For they don’t just contribute to building of infrastructure, which have cost involved, but they believe in building generations.

Institutions don’t just require state-of-the-art infrastructure; rather they require state involvement for investment in future through the budding generations. They require respect for the profession that sows the seeds for all other professions. A society that disregards education cannot flourish.

Blame Game

Today, what we have in the name of education should be an eye opener. Who is responsible to late academic sessions by 2-3 years? Why have education vanished from the system? Why is the system not concerned and the society not bothered? It has to be a collective responsibility in a welfare state and the governments cannot shy away from their responsibility.

The students deserve the best and the teachers deserve what they are rightfully entitled to. In the name of administration, the essence of education should not be allowed to be lost. One Rajendra Prasad is not enough to kill the system, but a rotten system is capable of producing many like him. It is time to stop shifting the blame and look for answers.

Previous articleIIT, Gandhinagar, gets state-of-the-art supercomputer under NSM
Next articleNTPC reshapes its policy for conservation & restoration of biodiversity


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here