Education culture

Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip *

Students appearing for Class XII Exam (Higher Secondary Examination) at Imphal area :: 22 February 2016.
Students appearing for Class XII Exam on 22 February 2016 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

Introduction: As we enter into serious academic life, I would like to reflect with you on the above topic. In the 21st century, we live in electronic culture. Manipur people are fortunately unfortunate to live in Bandh Culture. We imitate western culture while trying to preserve our diminishing culture. We tightly hold on to our so called 'culture' while not respecting 'another's culture'. We try to bring about an atmosphere of 'Education Culture' while not purging the 'sick education systems' around us.

Mushrooming educational institutions is a clear sign that we all want good education. The tuition culture is a boon to 'few' and a heavy burden to many poor parents. We are also practicing the culture of 'talking one thing and doing another opposite thing'.

Imitation culture: I agree with the adage "Creativity is Humanity and Imitation is Animality". Perhaps the animal instinct in us is at the stronger side. We abhor the western culture while most of our present thought-patterns and way of life is exactly the thing we tend to avoid. Imitating someone just for the sake of imitation actually kills our sense of creativity and deteriorates invention initiatives. Mere imitation leads us to be Xerox copies devoid of improvement.

Admission culture: To get into education culture, you are to admit yourself in a school. What kind of school will you choose for yourself or your child? Will you opt for Hindi medium, Manipuri medium, English medium? Choices are yours. Will you choose a crowded school or a scantily occupied classroom?

Will you choose a private school or Government School? Will you choose free books or high quality but costly books for your child?

Do you ever reflect why some schools are preferred more than thousand vacant schools? Today, admission to coveted schools is almost an impossibility other than your mere luck of being chosen in the open lottery system.

Why are some schools spending thousands in admission advertisements while those who don't make any advertisements are highly preferred?

We have to frankly admit that these are cultures going on in and around us while we seek admission of our children to a school.

Tuition culture: I may sound harsh to pro-tuition minds. Forgive me. Even nursery children are sent for tuition when educated parents can actually guide them. Formal education is slowly turned into mere attendance-house for future certificates while actual learning is taking place in an isolated area with few chances of classroom interaction.

The actual expense of the education is not in the schools or colleges but at private tuition centres. And then we sound the trumpet that "education is becoming costly". Sure, I agree with you. Now the next question we can ask is "who is spending that actual cost and where?" Yes, for professional guidance and oriented studies, some sort of private learning is need. But the culture of mass tuition is a hard reality touching the economic stability of poor parents. Do you ever realise that the majority of people in Manipur are actually poor?

Culture of free education policy: Thanks to the Government of India for the idea of free and compulsory elementary education. But are we going to be satisfied with just elementary education? But today, elementary education will not accord you job anywhere. It is like making big cases for dinosaurs when dinosaurs are already extinct. Now a days, employers wants to harvest different fruits from the same tree (employee).

So, all the more, there is a need for multi-talent. Why not high school and higher education plans? Why are most Government run schools in India (and Manipur) with small attendance or no pupil record? We just smile at incidences of attendance records signed in advance at some educational institutions?

Education paradox: The highly qualified teachers are appointed by the Government machinery without or with trifling pupils. The skimpy paid teachers are having packed classes in private educational institutions.

All the best facilities and infrastructure are designed for Government schools while the best results are secured by private run schools. Huge amounts are sanctioned for Government educational infrastructures but private institutes have better and actual buildings with no sanction from the Government. Many genuine teachers are happy with the salary from the Government but sans job satisfaction performance. The education system is in a 'coma' situation. Who will wake up or resuscitate this sorry condition?

Government machinery holds the financial advantage while the actual work is done by committed private educational institutes.

Government schools/college employees themselves are sending their wards to private educational temples. We have a common consolation at least the state is improving in its literary and education culture.

Result culture: Very sadly, the numerical result obtained by a student seem to define her/him in the process of education. But, let us not forget that education is to bring out the best in the child while not neglecting the other talents she/he has.

Numerical rise or fall in the progress card is just one facet of the child's development. What about the emotional, psychological, physical, sports, literary, cultural and spiritual side of that complex machine called 'human'? 'A high mark scorer without civic culture and respect for others is not educated' according to me. Sense of gratitude and love for human environment is one of the pointers of being an educated person in this century.

Conclusion: We don't conclude that private schools are better or worse than Government run schools. We don't conclude that the syllabus or the quality of books, grammatical errors are good or bad as found in the books prescribed by the Government. Things are there to be judged and concluded by the literate public.

Yes, we can conclude that Private educational institutions are doing a good job towards the collective literacy of the state. Is the state Government doing something good for these dedicated personnel as a sign of gratitude? Even is the answer is negative, can we conclude that we all shall do our part compartmentally and build the state called 'Manipur' towards 'Education Culture'. But one prayer, if the state Government can ensure smooth functioning of the educational institutes from unwanted elements, perhaps we shall be satisfied and consider as the greatest support. Jai Education Culture !

* Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on March 06, 2016.

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