TODAY -

Spoon-feeding education system in Manipur

Samarjit Kambam *



Every now and then we get glimpses of parents transporting their children to and fro to a coaching centre or a private tutor's residence from their home. It is even a more common sight to see busy parents waiting for their wards at the vicinity of private tuition or coaching centre waiting to take back their wards again at home as leaving them and coming to pick up them again is too cumbersome a task with other factors coming into play such as exponential rise of petrol price.

In fact, it can be considered at par that the parents are also falling in the category of students as most of the parents have to study again to teach their kids at home over and above the tuitions or coaching classes. The parents are reading their children's books more than their children while their children are too busy playing video games on their smartphones. It seems like the situation has gone topsy-turvy. For busy parents who have to go to office, its sort of a nightmare.

Rising competition is the main reason for this ongoing trend. But a few decades ago, private tuition/coaching was an alien appellation. During those times only students who scored abysmally low in exams or whose performances were very poor in classes were sent for tuitions. One felt shamefaced to go to a private tutor during those yonder years. Now-a-days, sending children to a private tutor is in vogue.

We can witness parents spending about Rs. 5000 to Rs. 6000 per month by calling private tutors at home that also only for one kid and this system starts right from Class-I or even KG class level. The students instead of climbing the educational ladder by themselves are being pushed up by their parents resulting in a situation where the students cannot climb till the top of the education ladder without their parents' support. Can this be considered a good trend?

Private coaching institutes are mushrooming up everywhere particularly in valley areas of Manipur just like opening up grocery shops or booking counters of travel agencies. Most of them have doubtful credentials and quality that needs questioning. For technical entry exams such as MBBS, IIT, JEE, BE and high-end exams such as MCS and IAS, going for coaching is a different scenario and is quite essential, reasonable and mandatory.

Some even goes outside the state to nationally renowned coaching centres. But going for tuitions beginning from class-I during high-school level makes education a farcical entity. In the present scenario, it seems like students are going to school as a pass, a passage, a corridor or a ticket for qualifying to go to private tutors. As this trend has become quite a craze even private school teachers not to mention government ones are taking teaching of students in school just for granted. So, they are taking and encouraging tuitions as they earn a lot more than their monthly salary. It can be cited as an unhealthy practice.

The students are solely depending on private tutors as the lessons taught in school have become 'just for name-sake' education. In the prevailing scenario, education has become two-pronged resulting in collateral damage and with each tuition-going children increasing day by day the very purpose of school seems to be defeated for the students have developed a mindset where private tuition is mandatory a part and parcel for schooling. The purpose of inculcating knowledge to students doesn't seem to serve at all in the schools as the mindset of both teachers and students have blended towards private tuitions. Now the education system in Manipur has become highly commercialised.

Say, the parents whose wards are MBBS aspirants spend about Rs. 15,000-20,000/- per month approximately for sending them to coaching centres or engaging private tutors without taking into account an iota of the quality of the coaching centre or credential of the teacher. The parents are simply taken for a ride by dainty advertisements of the coaching centres thereby thoroughly brainwashed into admitting their wards to such centres assuming them as highly reputed ones. Nobody digs deeper whether the amount spent is justified.

Naturally, the quality of teaching in schools has gone down leaving the underprivileged and poor ones in dire states and they are in a Catch-22 situation for they can't afford to go for tuitions or coaching while the quality of schooling has gone down. So the education system in Manipur has been pruned only to an affluent few whose parents draw huge incomes.

On the flip side, in boarding schools such as Rashtriya Military Schools and Sainik Schools, the students on an average get only two hours for self study on an average at the most as they are too busy engaging in physical trainings, NCC, games and sports, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for all-round personality development over and above equipping themselves for entry into NDA.

But they perform exceedingly well in CBSE conducted examinations viz All India Secondary School Examination (Class X) and All India Senior School Certificate Examination (Class-XII). An achievement that deserves praise for there are no tuitions and coachings involved.

One very unpalatable development is that the practice of opening of private tutorial and coaching centres has become quite prevalent and rampant. The teachers are taking more interest in opening private coaching cum tutorial centres thereby inculcating knowledge to students in schools just for granted. The teachers are seeing the students as money only, the larger the number of students, the greater the amount of money.

While the Education Minister is introducing 'Model Schools', the reality for a school to become a role model is miles apart from reality in our state. So, this unhealthy practice is required to be nipped at the bud otherwise the number of coaching cum tutorial centres will far exceed the number of schools as it has become a thriving business.

I appeal to all parents concerned to discourage this trend if they really desire to bring quality education to schools and make their wards self dependent and have a true competitive spirit in studies. The various student organizations also need to carry out a thorough introspection into the matter and devise means and ways to stop this spoon-feeding/forced feeding education system in Manipur and come up with a solution to bring real quality education in schools.


* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on May 10, 2014.


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