With 10th class results out and festivity filling the air around Kashmir a lot many important questions also got buried under the noise of celebrations. Out of 14000 students who failed to pass the examination majority belonged to the state run government schools. Interestingly 41 such government run schools failed to have even a single successful candidate. While on the other hand private run educational institutions, despite strict and sometimes senseless norms, proved pivotal in raising the educational standards in the state. If one looks at the state of these government run schools where teachers are paid handsomely against those working in private schools, then the success of the later is more praiseworthy.
But what exactly is wrong with government schools? One can argue on behalf of government schools that they don’t enjoy the luxury of taking the cream students only as done by private schools. They cater to a section of the society which is already living on the margins. But that should not be an excuse for not performing one’s duty with sincerity when you are treated fairly by the state in terms of salary.
In last few years since private schools mushroomed in Kashmir as an alternative to state run schools, the government has become more concerned about regulating them. Every year new laws are made to keep a tab on the functioning of these private schools while turning a blind eye towards government schools. One wonders if the law and regulations are only meant for private schools which end up outperforming state schools. The student-teacher ratio in government schools is like a Shakespearian tragedy in itself. There are instances where teachers outnumber students in government run schools in urban areas. While in far flung rural areas, where a state run school is the only source of education, there is less than one teacher for as many as hundred students. The reason for such a skewed ratio is that most of the state run teachers come through backdoor appointments. And once in they take their job for granted making students to suffer. There were instances where teachers posted in these far flung areas have never visited the school they are posted at. Ironically government is yet to formulate a policy to rationalize the teacher student ration in state run schools.
The other issue that mars performance of these schools is lack of proper infrastructure. While government makes sure that all private schools have fire extinguishers installed they turn a blind eye towards vulnerability of infrastructure in state run schools. Despite performing far better than state run schools, private institutions end up becoming money making machines for corrupt officials who sleep over sorry state of affairs in their own schools. If only government officials, who spend all their energies finding flaws in private schools, can take time off from their feisty field trips and pay some attention to the state affairs in government run schools, results might be better.