Education In Government Schools And The Plight Of Students

Posted on May 22, 2012 in Learning+, Specials

By Nupur Dogra:

In India, right to education is a fundamental right i.e. everyone should get equal access to educational facilities. Can this ever be a reality or will it remain a myth?

School life is an essential determinant in shaping one’s life, skills, personalities and future. Every child who has been to school has his/her experience of school life. But there is a huge difference amongst the experiences of students in private and government schools. As we all know that private school are expensive, they teach to earn profit, and thus because of immense competition they are motivated to work with all their potential to ensure an enriching experience to its students. For them better result means more profit. On the other hand the government schools have no such motivation or competition. The teachers, with no proper checks, and with lax attitude towards all round development of their students are only interested in their salaries. Unlike private teachers they have permanent jobs and thus, liberty to practice their own will.

Following is a close insight to school life experiences. One is my own and the other is of my servant’s daughter.

My parents got me admitted into a very prestigious school right from the very beginning while on the other hand my servant struggled to get her child admitted into a government school. The procedure of my selection included a written test and followed by an interview and then of course the donation by my parents. But the procedure of admission in a government school was altogether a different experience for my servant. When she went to government school she was told that first she will have to pay Rs. 4000, on asking “why?” as according to the law – admission to a government school should be free especially when you are a girl, she was told either to pay the money or go somewhere else. Most of the poor people refrain to spend so much on their daughter’s education, but unlike them, my servant was adamant on sending her child to school. She somehow managed Rs. 3000 and pleaded the government servants to take her child. They took Rs. 3000 and allowed the admission.

Now coming to the school life, I remember my school for all the school trips, the iced tea in my canteen, my supportive, protective and encouraging teachers and of course my friends.

When I asked Seema (my servant’s daughter) to share some of her memories, she told me how once she got badly injured when she sat on the chair which had nails coming out, that her teacher used to love the tea made by her, and she was always the one who was sent to make tea for her, while of course the class was going on. She told me how one of her teachers cut her hair short because they were not properly braided. She told me about all the different kinds of punishments she used to get for either long nails or petty things. She told me she was asked to take 30 rounds of the huge playground in scorching heat of July, because she had once refused to make tea for her teacher. I remember once my sports teacher told me to take 20 rounds of the ground in winters, because I had bunked a period, after 10 rounds I told him “Sir! Brutal and physical punishments are banned and if something happened my parents can file a case against you” and simply walked back to my class without any further explanations or permission.

All in all, I remember my school for all the good things and Seema remembers hers for all the terrifying, horrific experiences. She is a 10th standard dropout, she left the school because one of her male teacher tried to sexually molest her, but she was lucky enough to evade it at the right time. She never went back to school after that and has pledged that she would never send her future children to a government school. Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality of our government schools today. Perfect example of how a well motivated and determined mother got discouraged from sending her daughter to school. It’s high time our government comes to strict terms with the teachers and administrators of their schools. Only continuous supervision from a trustworthy and loyal authority can set them right. Also, encouraging and motivating workshops should be organised for teachers. The teachers should be rewarded for better performance to enhance performance and build some competition among themselves. The current system is doing nothing but further widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

What do you think? Drop your views in the comments section below.

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What can be the alternative?


Nupur, a thought provoking piece with quite contrasting examples, which certainly calls for deeper analysis of the functioning of our education system. It is quite evident that social inequality, in its varied forms, leads to a significant gap in education levels of the rich and poor children. The privileged ones (like us, indeed) really get a huge advantage, all thanks to their better economic conditions and hence ability to afford better education. The poor ones are left behind. In India, with its huge population, it will be utopian to imagine everyone to study in prestigious schools. But the problem is not even this. We can’t aim to bridge this humungous gap within a very small time frame. It will take quite some time. But the major issue is that the govt. schools are failing to even DO their basic duties in the right manner. The foundation stone of primary education is in dismal condition in India. There are few bright examples in some villages but the percentage is abysmal. So first we should aim to ensure that we’re getting the basics right. At the grass-root level, we should impart unwavering dedication to primary education. Only if we increase the literacy percentage of the socially underprivileged, we can plan for their higher education, and all other programs. The chances are being killed right at the inception with very high dropout rates. I would suggest, a public-private partnership for primary education, at least can grant some efficiency, accountability and strength to the govt. schools. We’ve got the funds but the lack of commitment from those who’re at the helm of decision making is making the entire system corrupt. No matter what we do, except we’re not able to recruit dedicated and honest teachers and principals in govt. schools, who really want to change the education situation of their respective villages, we won’t progress. It is getting the right people behind the right projects. It may sound too archaic but it is true that a dedicated teacher’s motivation and commitment to impart education can surpass even tangible obstacles (to some extent, at least) like infrastructure and funds, of which, we keep complaining day and night. I have seen hundreds of primary schools lying vacant. Months pass and there are really no classes. I think it is again the same issue: right teachers. As per 6th pay commission, even the pay-scales have become better. The SC recently announced fixed seats in private schools for socially disadvantaged, about which I mentioned in an article on YKA. I think, the bottom line is we really need to take responsibility of our acts and do our duties (in this case teachers!). Nothing is very sad when it comes to funding and all. We’re missing on PEOPLE part, and it reflects in our corruption rankings. So, you see, it all boils down to corruption and greed that gives setback to the country. :)

Tarun Cherukuri

Thanks for sharing Nupur. The question is of course what do we do about it? It is important that we do not stop the discourse to discussions but actively involve ourselves in projects related to education

Parikshit Suryavanshi

i am astonished after read article, those people speak about of hunger..who never seen hunger

story is concocted , Ms nupur first you have to see government school.

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