TODAY -

How to be unique among the proliferating private schools in Manipur

Yasin Khan *



In a competitive market to have many seller is always a good thing for buyers. Same is the case for private schools, either elite ones or low fee paying ones. I have been seeing a rapid increase in number of private schools in Manipur, though more than 90% of them are low fee paying schools. I would say there is lot more space for lot more schools across the country to fit in, including Manipur. Here I would talk more about Manipur's scenario.

Private schools market is the only market in Manipur, my assumption, which is providing jobs to thousands of heads. Around 8 lakh unemployed which are mostly youths out of 27.22 lakh population in Manipur is quite an alarming figure. Therefore, proliferation of private schools is always welcomed business not only especially in Manipur but also across the country.

The density of schools is quite less as compared to the total children population and based on what should be the teacher pupil ratio for a quality learning environment. The standard ratio in India is 1:30 as recommended by SSA norm, while 1:35 as by RtE Act (but 1:40 in especial category schools like JNVs). But, the jaw-dropping ratio in private schools is 1:50-60 on an average not only in Manipur but across the country.

There is higher probability of more attentive teaching learning process when pupil per teacher is small. In the western countries it is less than 30 pupils per teacher. So, in the competitive market of educational services, this proliferation will create a better teacher pupil ratio when distributed. The distribution of children will happen only when each one of the competitor has higher degree of competition. The competition is obviously the quality of education being sold in the market.

Quality of education for a school is the quality of education that provides to each and every child in a classroom. Private schools are finely works with market inertia. This inertia attracts bright students and momentum increases further and Mathew effect starts to play, brighter students become even brighter while slower become even slower.

Thus, becomes an undemocratic learning environment, which is even a big topic and big issue in Indian schools education. This should not be the case for an ideal quality of school education. Each and every child has unique learning capacity and style which should be acknowledged by the instructor rather than imposing the same to all just as we see in jail. On Facebook, I have seen schools being compared as jail, which is very true. A school should incorporate these 'philosophies of learning' in order to be a unique.

Generations grown up even since I am born, I see only one change in schools education in Manipur is that the change only in the number of schools. There is no change in the curriculum, there is no change in the teaching-learning infrastructure, and there is no change in pedagogy. All these are because there is no change in the people's understanding of what they have learnt in the last two decades. The same traditional pedagogy is prevailing. It is, no doubt, outdated now after 21st century instructional methods have already flew in.

An app is developed everyday but we cannot design learning for kids for a better learning (a punch line from Educational Initiatives). There is no improvement in the conceptual formation in any subject, either in Mathematics, Language, Science or whatever. Elementary concepts are completely underestimated. No one is doing research on innovative or better concepts on how a division happens, how to better teach fractions, what are the different methods of reading, how to build a massive creativity, how to better teach Science, the higher order thinking and so on. You will not find much of these things in conventional B.Ed curriculum. The curriculum is outdated.

The current generation that I see at Kindergarten level is extremely intelligent as compared to children of a decade back. The private schools are at all not fit to provide the quality of education that suit to their intelligence. [Indian ranking in PISA is top from the bottom while Singapore children are on top from the top. How is that happen?]

Pushing children to score high somehow in board exams or to make maximum children in appear in top ranks in locally organized Mathematics or Science competitions (having understood about these sorts of assessments) will not serve the purpose of providing quality education. It is a deep understanding and innovation in concept building that a unique school should do in order to outshine in the market of educational services.

Popular franchise schools (though, I call them money making schools) may fly in Manipur and may disrupt the local market of private schools for a short period, but what not to worry in the long run is that the State do not have the qualified teachers to sustain the legend of these school. In order to happen this, the whole mass would need to grow to that level of learning for some generations so to supply the required cohort of capable teachers.

Compared with other State, as I witnessed, the teaching and learning quality in Govt. schools of Sarva Shiksha Abhiya in State like Rajasthan (a State I have best understanding about school education) is far better than private schools in Manipur, when Rajasthan school education is considered as one of the least performing State in the country. Leave alone for quality teaching-learning process in Govt. schools of Manipur when the private schools are much below. It is a need of the hour for the private schools to have qualified educators to run this business. The owners should not hesitate to invest on hiring such professionals.

Every parent wants their children be enrolled in quality schools, as I defined above though debatable. All born same but turn out different just because of differential opportunities provided to each one. Every children has unique potential, should be provided same quality of education to all. This can happen only when each competitor honestly competes on providing quality education in the state. The future is bright for with just a tipping-point change.

My view in this piece is not an endorsement for private school system, my view on comparison between private and public school education is titled School voucher for economically disadvantaged children: A policy alternative in Manipur.


* Yasin Khan wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is Co-Founder of Library for All. Ukhrul and Entrepreneurial Fellow at Wipro Seeding Programme and can be contacted at ansary(DOT)shent(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on January 17, 2017.


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