Quality of education

Updated: Aug 24 2013, 07:46am hrs
This refers to the column The flight of the under-served (FE, August 20). The purpose of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was to cut down the severe drop-out rates and also to improve the enrolment in the schools for the relevant age groups. The government was ready to bear all the expenses for infrastructure, teachers salaries and other requirements. Accessibility in terms of distance from school has improved. Free education has improved the enrolment. However, the standard of government school education might have not improved. Children from low income groups, unable to afford private school charges, populate government schools. Due to the complete lack of or low peer pressure, the performance of the students attending such schools is almost always lower than the students going to private schools. The cost varies in private schools depending on the expectations of the management, the facilities available to the students and pay-packages of teachers. It is only recently that the National Council for Teachers Education is making the norms of recruitment of teachers stringent. Otherwise, most teachers were not trained/educated enough to teach. The irony of the situation is that the states, which are supposed to govern the standard of education, care little for it for reasons ranging from politicisation of education, favouritism in recruitment and corruption. In both the cases, when states spend their own funds or from the funds allocated under SSA, the money is diverted by corrupt individuals. The teachers have little fear of the officers as the latter are busy pleasing their political bosses. The children from poor families, in the absence of a nurturing environment, develop little concern for learning. Given the circumstances, the government can't bear the huge cost of private education for these children. Whatever has been done by the union government so far should suffice; it is now up to the states to maintain strict vigilance on the quality of education while retention of children in schools is taken care of by the flush of incentives.

RK Arya