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Dear Nitish Kumar, Bihar’s Students Are Failing Because You Failed Our Education System

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Dear Chief Minister,

Sir, I have failed. But I am not among those 16 lakh students who failed this year. Rather I constitute a large part of the general public of Bihar, which has failed along with its students. The government may not agree with me or my views. Yet, I expect the government to pay heed to my views, as they don’t just representing me but are a coalesce form of what the people of Bihar want to say.

My views concern with the legacy of the rotting state of the Indian education system that we pass to the future generations of Bihar. It concerns the failing machinery of the government in providing substantive measures to undo this mess and protect the future citizens from its consequences.

Approximately 16.9 lakh students (8.2 lakh in 12th standard and 8.7 lakh in 10th) failed this year in the Bihar Board examinations. The 35.25% pass rate in intermediate is significantly lower than past results. On being asked about the reason for this, your party men say, “it’s because of the strong anti-cheating norms being implemented”. Does this mean that those who passed in previous exams did it only on the basis of cheating?

I don’t agree with their reasons what so ever. First of all the anti-cheating reason holds no weight. And I will tell you why. These anti-cheating norms are also followed by the CBSE and state education boards of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other southern states, and still student pass with flying colours. You know why? It is because those boards have a substantive education policy.

Now, let me tell you the real reasons behind this great failure.

  1. With 37.3% fewer teachers than required in elementary school, we obviously cannot provide quality education to students. So no point expecting them to deliver good results.
  2. Among those teachers who are available, 28% remain absent, as per a report published in Business Standard.
  3. You employed 1.5 lakh para-teachers over a few years with the criteria for an appointment that was not merit-based but rather left to the conscience and consent of the Panchayat Mukhiya. If this is not considered a mockery of education system then what else could it be? I mean, in a state where police constables and peons are appointed through written exams, how can you justify appointing teachers just on the consent of a Mukhiya, who might not be educated himself? (Not herself, because the real power lies with her husband. You know that too)
  4. Now, coming to the last and most important fact. In intermediate, there are no classes held for students in many school and colleges. You might frown at me for putting it so bluntly to you, but that’s a fact. Move out of Patna, and you will see it yourself.

So the basic problem is the non-availability of quality teachers and the concept of a healthy classroom. You can’t expect students facing such basic problems to compete with students of other boards. But consider yourself lucky that not only some of these students compete on the same level, but also outshine the students of other boards. The credit for this only goes to their hard-work and dedication. It has nothing to do with your system of education.

There are two basic things that you need to explain, not only to me but to the entire population of Bihar.

  1. What restrains you from appointing permanent teachers, who have necessary qualifications and could provide good quality teaching?
  2. Why does Bihar spend the least amount of money per student in the entire country?

In 2005, when you got elected as Chief Minister, overthrowing the rotting regime of Lalu Prasad Yadav, we started aspiring, we harboured hopes. We knew that you had inherited a corrupt and deteriorating education system. But we also hoped that in times to come you will respond for the better. We hoped that with your good will intent, practical bent of mind and implicative ideas on education policy, the state of affairs in education would normalise, if not reach the status of pre-90s.

With a heavy heart, a frustrated mind and helpless hands, I write this letter. It is my attempt to remind you that you have not been able to do justice to the hopes and promises that you built.

Since hope is the only thing that common people can have, I still hope for a better tomorrow for the future students.

With regards

A member of student community

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