A representation : On certain weak areas of the state educational system singled out for treatment
- Part 2 -

Dr AK Chishti *

Director of Education (University and Higher Education) Building in Imphal in 2013
Director of Education (University and Higher Education) Building in Imphal in 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

Many of us who are interested in the reconstruction of our state education, honestly speaking, are in the dark, we do not know who are the authorities invisible but involved in the construction of so many mega structures involving crores of rupees inside the College/School complexes .Even some of the concerned principals have got no idea of such constructions started in their college premises. Earlier the principals and college construction committees were kept in confidence by the Govt. Authorities who in consultation with the concerned institution used to carry out constructions. Constructions should be in accordance with the Master Plan of the Institution concerned.

It seems now that those good olden days are gone. Haphazard constructions at the sweet will of the stake holders (money-wise) is the order of the day. It is clear that there is no dearth of fund today though we do not exactly know the source of the fund. The state govt. cannot afford to spend so much of the crores; it must have been from other sources. The days are not too far when there will be no more spaces for constructions if this trend continues further without check.

The year 1976 is land mark the history of India as stated above. Since this year of inclusion of the Education in the Concurrent list, the substantive financial and administrative implications is no more the exclusive responsibility of the states that the state and the center entered into an era of working in partnership to promote excellence at all levels of educational pyramid throughout the country. Before this the central govt. was concerned only with certain areas like co-ordination and determination of standards in technical and higher education etc. All concerned are expected to know this situation which is nothing but a blessing for the backward states.

Time has come for the Education Minister to take up the matter at his behest so that state education scene is changed. Involving people in education planning and administration is his policy. As we understand, the Ministry of Education of Manipur is managing more Govt. colleges and schools than the Ministry of Assam does. The task ahead is very challenging for him. The reason for falling standard of education in the state today is intimately connected with the proper management factor.

Private management vs. Govt. management, whose performance is better, is seen by all. One valid reason is less or more burden. Carrying capacity is obviously overlooked by the Govt. in the name of better management and control at the time of taking over the institutions. It is a simple and plain reading that the Pvt. Managed Schools are better governed with full control over every aspect of the administration. "Small family, happy family" "holds true for educational management also.

Lowly paid teachers and other members sharing the responsibility together contribute more towards their establishment. This is in sharp contrast with the govt. managed institutions which are on the wane in spite of the fact that they are manned by more qualified teachers and staff strength is above requirement. This is the predicament the govt. is facing with no solution in sight. All sorts of measures the authority took up didn't work as expected. Introspection is seen now in the new minister's initiative.

We feel, however that there is every possibility of going in a wrong direction. Recent policy statement made by the minister in regard to the admission and scholarship for the govt. schools & students exclusively cannot be popular by any standard.

It will not be out of place to say a few words about this association namely the Association of Premier State College Seniors (APSCS) which was formed in the year 2005 by the retired teachers (principals, additional DE(U), DE(U) and others) who were serving in the premier state colleges with the main object to preserve old values and spirit of fraternity among the members and to further promote the academic and good social causes by formulating and presenting views to the state or Central/Statutory Bodies etc.

In line with the objective the association took up certain causes like the protection and preservation of historical Kangla, keeping the national highways free from obstructions including economic blockades, Constitutional protection of territorial integrity of Manipur through amendment of the Article 3, maintenance of academic atmosphere in the premier state colleges, introduction of diploma courses in the degree colleges and revamping of the premier state colleges etc.

The association also appealed to the people for suggestions for bringing about a radical change in the structural and functional organization of the said colleges.

Events like meetings with 2nd Administrative Reform Commission of India and with the Home Minister P C Chidambaram during their separate visits to Manipur are were with more far reaching impact.

The association now after having made the above observation and brief appraisal of the scene of education before the year 1976 with smooth management and conduct of normal business in the institutions and thereafter the series of changes that affected the working of the institutions by reason of wrong policy of the govt. in the name of rationalization coupled with maladministration vis a vis the coming of age in the nation's policy on education, 1968 reviewed in 1986 and then 1992, takes the privilege of registering its views and suggestions and the measures for improvement based on the wisdom that it is always to advisable to draw lesson from mistakes. New challenges and social needs make it imperative for us to suggest the measures. Nothing short of this will meet the situation.

1. State Advisory Board of Education (SABE). This is the need of the hour and should be constituted at the earliest as per the provision in NPE 1986 which has stood the test of time. According to that state government may establish SABE on the lines of Central Advisory Board of Education. Effective measures should be taken to integrate mechanism in the various state departments concerned with HRD.

2. Training of educational planners, administrators and heads of institutions as per NPE, 86. This step is crucial. Without training and their not having the whole gamut of educational situation their role in the administration will be nothing but perfunctory. It is therefore training is a must for execution of the policy and programme formulated from time to time.

3. Council of Higher Education. The constitution of a council of higher education is provided in the NPE. Through which state level of planning and coordination should be done effectively so as also to maintain quality and standards, to study and monitor the educational requirements of the State as a whole in regard to manpower for development, to cater the needs of research and advanced study. The UGC and the council will develop coordinated methods to keep watch on standards.

4. A management committee for each institution. It has become imperative to constitute a management committee for each school /college in the State with the principal, a govt. nominee, a public notary, an educationist, a retired principal of the institute and a representative of teacher as members to act as watchdog and also assist the college/school administration. The formation of such a committee was already in the pipeline since 1978.

5. Educational Tribunals. Fashioned after Administrative Tribunals, establishment of such an educational tribunal at the State level has become necessary for the redressal of grievances of the concerned.

6. Pace-setting residential schools. Establishment of such schools will serve the objective of excellence coupled with equity and social justice to promote integration by providing opportunities to talented children who in the absence of such schools used to leave for better places outside. Such products will become catalyst of a statewide programme of school improvement as per the NPE.

7. Vocational Courses. Well planned and rigorously implemented programme of vocational educational should be introduced in the higher secondary level and under-grad level of this State. Diploma/ Certificate courses for 6 months also can be conveniently introduced so that the career of a science student can be shaped from the beginning of the course which will be an exciting career prospect. The two allied approaches-the general study and the application of knowledge will surely reinforce each other. The student will be better equipped and qualified one than those without diploma. It will alone help develop a healthy attitude among students towards work and life to enhance individual employability, to provide an alternative for those intending to pursue higher education etc.

Making the system work

According to the NPE 1986 new tasks of education cannot be performed in a state of disorder and lack of coordination among the govt. departments. Education needs to be managed in an atmosphere of intellectual rigor, seriousness of purpose with fervor and at the same time, of freedom for innovation and creativity. While far reaching changes will have to be incorporated in the quality and range of education, the process of introducing discipline and captaincy into the system will have to be started here and now in what exists. We fully agree with this view. The country has placed boundless trust in the educational system which has stood the test of time. The people have a right to expect concrete results. The first and the last tasks are to make it work and work further for the goal set.

This article is submitted to the Honorable Minister of Education, Manipur by Association of Premier State College Seniors (APSCS) Manipur


* Dr AK Chishti wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is General Secretary, Association of Premier State College Seniors.
This article was posted on September 15, 2014.

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