Prerequisites for a sound education system

Deepa Khomdram *

Prerequisites for a sound education system

Of the many challenges that the state education faces, cultural upheaval, political unrest and the economic stagnation are the primary reasons that have restricted the state government from meeting the needs of the higher secondary education. Till date, there are innumerable schools and colleges in the outskirts of the city that do not meet the basic criteria of being an educational institution. For institutions such as these, it is quite palpable to fail from providing the quality education.

Corruption is another major disease that has seriously afflicted the education system. It has altogether spoiled the educational atmosphere. Students looking for the easy way out to get through the examination, parents hoping for a bright future and teachers and higher authorities who always want the lion's share of all the indulgence are all responsible for it.

Besides, the state being a multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic state, the challenges of the education systems is deep-rooted. In almost every situation, one always finds the students leaving the classroom and protesting on the roads. We may sum up that the students are being used as a toy by the people with vested interests. It is a pity that just for the benefits of a handful lots, the students' future are being put at stake, thereby gravely affecting the education system either directly or indirectly.

Political interference and bribery in the recruitment of teachers are other major factors that have led to the degrading system of education. Recruitment of under-qualified teachers, the practice of proxy teaching system/substitute teacher in far flung areas, all contributes towards the ineffective and inefficient system. Such practices have created an imbalance which severely affects the system.

Having all said and done, the concerned authorities are yet to learn their lesson of curbing the situation for improvement. They are still stuck to the same old ineffective measures, policies and framework that are incapable of tackling the situation effectively. It is important for the authorities to take up appropriate steps to ensure an overall development of the education system throughout the state. Some of the possible steps that can be effectively implemented to improve the system are:

1) A Conducive Atmosphere

When we speak of a conducive atmosphere, we are relating it to the prevailing political and cultural state of affairs. It is next to impossible for students to develop a studying atmosphere in a trouble torn area where frequent general strikes, bandhs, blockades and curfew hinder normal life. It is important to ensure that no matter what happens, the education set up is not disturbed at any cost.

For instance, in cities like Delhi and Chandigarh, whenever a general strike occurs, the administration makes sure that it does not interfere with the normal life. They have a specified area for the protests and strikes so that it does not create strife across the state. In my 12 years stay in Chandigarh, I never came across any scenario where we had to miss our class or work due to a general strike or a blockade.

Yes, it may be difficult to follow policies of the Chandigarh administration but we can frame a new policy which will create an atmosphere for the education sector to develop a favourable learning and studying atmosphere.

2) Government Funds

The government funds that are being sanctioned for the respective schools and colleges must be utilized for the purpose for which it has been sanctioned. Also, the duty of the authorities does not end with simply sanctioning the funds. It is their duty to ensure that the amount sanctioned have been used at the right place and for the exact purpose. It is the liability of the government bodies to ensure that the schemes and programs reach the respective area in time as this is one of the most important approaches that will help in developing quality education in the state.

No doubt, there are various organizations such as Sarva Siksha Abhigyan, Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and many others which the governments funds for imparting education. These organizations must be put under scanner from time to time to ensure that they are not misusing the government funds.

3) Well Qualified Teachers

Quality education can only be met by quality educators. Therefore, the standard of teaching as well as the methods of imparting knowledge must be improved with advanced teaching methods. Instead of sticking to the traditional ways of teaching, the teachers/educators must adopt modern ways of teaching as this would increase the interaction between the students and the teachers.

And as a result, it would inculcate an increased interest among the students which will, thereby, contribute towards improving the standard of education ultimately leading to the improvement of a holistic educational system. Thus, conducting an orientation program for the teachers at regular intervals is one through which the teachers can update themselves with advanced knowledge and advanced mode of teaching.

4) Syllabi/Practical Oriented Curriculum

The syllabi that are being taught to the students must be a practical oriented. The syllabi prescribed at different levels should not just be Manipur-centric. The curriculum, textbooks and other teaching materials should be framed in such a manner that it is flexible and at the same time promotes increased choices for the students as well as the teachers.

Redefining the curriculum is what is needed to analyze if the existing policy and curricular framework facilitate diverse development to achieve the desired aims and objectives. No doubt, there will be challenges in trying to conceptualize a flexible approach to redefine the role of curriculum especially from those who stick to the traditional method of teaching but it is important to make an effort to go beyond the core curriculum and implement the system oflearning without burden. Some measures that can be taken are:

i. To ensure the quality and attain the common standards as well as a broad national democratic vision, a proper mechanism should be structured.

ii. An appropriate regulatory mechanism must be developed to develop the criteria, guidelines, conduct documentation and review.

iii. The relationship between the curriculum and the aims of education must be clearly defined.

iv. Workable principles and criteria must be adopted while interacting with the students.

v. The curriculum should be planned, designed and implemented in such a manner that particular educational aims can be easily achieved.

vi. The syllabi must be framed by a panel of experts keeping in view the content that content, knowledge, skills and attitudes that is to be imparted to foster the specific objectives.

vii. Introduction of English language from the primary level in government schools is also a must. This would help the students in broadening their horizon.

6) Adopt CBSE Model of Grading the Students

To reduce the stress and pressure on the students, the concerned authorities should look forward to adopt the CBSE model of grading the students. This will enable the students to "Learn without Burden". Also, it will abolish the unhealthy competition among the students as there will be no race for higher marks and ranks. It will reduce the societal pressure on the students and effectively address the problem of subjectivity where evaluation of the answer scripts is concerned.

7) Introduction of Compulsory Summer Training Programs

To inculcate a more engaging and enriching learning experience for the students, it is important to introduce compulsory summer training programs. The introduction of these programs will be helpful in transforming the traditional way of teaching that focuses on sole academic instruction, remediation and review to a more interactive, recreational and enriching activity. Through these programs, the students will be able to focus on building positive relationships with peers and adults.With the help of this approach, the teachers will be able to imbibe the students with:

i. Increased academic motivations, improve skills related to all the subjects, promote high school completion and improve college preparation skills.

ii. This program will effectively teach the students with hands on learning experiences and engage them in cultural enrichment activities.

iii. Under performing students will also have a chance to improve their credibility as such programs can be used as both remedial and enrichment program.

iv. It will also help in developing personal, social and career related inter-personal skills including character development, interpersonal skills, life skills, health-related behaviors, conflict resolution skills, communication skills, leadership skills, and management skills.

It may not be possible to implement all these ideas in one academic year but steadily upgrading the education system by implementing some of these ideas every year, if not all, may help in breaking the status quo. And for the successful implementation of these ideas, it is important that a regulatory mechanism be developed to avoid the distortions, distractions and problems that may arise from the bureaucratic and political pressures.

* Deepa Khomdram wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 16, 2012.

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