Govt imposing its syllabus on private sector, PSAK says

Students being taught in a free school at Guchan in Dooru belt of south Kashmir

KL News Network

SRINAGAR

Private Schools Association of Kashmir (PSAK) has termed the Government order of forcing low quality school syllabus on private schools as final nail in the coffin of struggling education sector in the state.

Terming the order as extremely dangerous, the Association said that it would push Kashmir to the cliff.

“This is a disaster in the happening. Everybody knows the quality of syllabus in government schools. Some of the books have not been updated for five years and most of the books have mismatch with the classes they are taught in,” said G N Var President PSAK. “Even government school students are unable to pass their crucial secondary and higher secondary examinations after studying these books. Their career and life is ruined and primary reason is their outdated syllabus. Now the government wants to force every private school to adopt same books that is ridiculous.”

Listing the drawbacks of the government published texts, the Association said that the standard material like paper, printing, pictures extra is sub-par. Even the binding of books comes off within a week of handling by kids, the association said. “In comparison the matter available on books published by reputed publishers like Cambridge, Oxford Macmillan are far more standard than BOSE publications,” said Var.

The Association said that the move to enforce government syllabus is an attack on the freedom of educational institutes. “On one hand government talks about the autonomy to educational institutes and on the other hand by issuing such orders they are curtailing their freedom. Many private schools have dedicated educational experts who continuously update the syllabus in tune with global trends. It is the flexibility which makes our schools unique. We adapt speedily. Incase government syllabus is forced on us our growth will get stagnated and everything will be lost,” said Var. “Our schools have produced gems who have made their mark all over world. Some vested interests don’t want that to happen and it seems to be ploy to derail our progress.”

The Association also question the rationale of designing syllabus by BOSE, despite having no mandate· “Basically the preparation of text books was the job of SIE’s and it was hijacked by the BOSE,” said Var. “Not a single person associated with the BOSE textbook preparation is qualified as a textbook writer. Textbook writing is a technical job and needs specific orientation and training. Could the BOSE prove that any of the persons associated with the BOSE texts has undergone any orientation in text book writing-definitely a big No.”

However, if BOSE publishes quality text books with reference to content and materials used it will be a welcome step for implementing equity, the Association reiterated. The Association also questioned the lack of funds for books which comes from SSA and are too meagre to publish standard books

The Association said that NCERT books cannot be prescribed fully in the states because they lack the localised aspect of the content. “It will completely alien for our kids who will be more disconnected from their culture, roots and society than ever before,” said Var.

The Association said that the private schools are already reeling under numerous problems due to repeated diktats of government and this new order will break their back. “153 private schools have been closed due to harassment tactics of government. Our quantity is already diminishing and now with syllabus order our quality will also go down, which will be a tragedy for our society,” said Var.

The Association said that if equity is the criteria then it should apply to infrastructures as well and govt schools should not function in cowsheds and on the pattern of 3 rooms for 7 classes. “Basically the problem with learning outcomes is with Govt. schools, private schools fair well at all levels. Govt should set its own house in order rather disturbing private sector,” said Var.

The Association challenged the government to debate with civil society, academicians and private school representatives on the merits and demerits of govt school syllabus.

The Association is of the opinion that the new syllabus will force rich people to send their students outside the state and it is the poor man who will suffer.  “We fear there will be a steep division in society. The elites including government bureaucrats will send their wards outside the state for better education where syllabus is of higher standard. And it is only the middle and poor class who will have to bear its consequences,” said Var.

The Association also demanded to know whether the new syllabus will be applicable to CBSE and Cambridge approved schools who have their own syllabus. “Will they enforce their syllabus on these schools too or it is the order for economy class schools where a middle class man dreams big for his child,” said Var.

The Association also questioned the timing of such an order as it has been issued when private school students have already purchased their books.

The Association said that if there is any reform needed in the education sector it should be reorganization of government role. “There is a need to separate Govt.’s role as regulator, financer and provider of education,” said Var. “Only then tangible results will be expected from ground.”

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