TODAY -

The rationale behind the 'model'school

Somchandra Nahakpam *



Recently the Education Department launched a new model school with much enthusiasm. The Government Model schools or the special schools'objective is to produce good and talented students from standard VI to X. It has also been announced that every district will have its own such model schools. There is no doubt that it will take time and may be it will not be implemented at all. The education Minister has himself admitted that most of the Government schools are in very bad condition and that private schools are the only one delivering quality education.One needs to look into the basis for establishing such schools and also needs to reflect on, if this is really going to work.

There is no doubt that the Government has failed to provide education to the children in the State, from High school to college level. The condition is even worse in far flung areas where every aspect of development is neglected. But the realization has been considerably delayed and that has made many children lost the opportunity to go to school and get proper education. We need to look whether the so called 'model school'will be successful and if so for how long. The basis for such cynicism is simply the fact that there has been admittance of failures. It might be that it will be smoothly conducted for few years but there is no guarantee that it will be like that forever. Everyone is aware that most of the Government schools are in bad shape and there are plenty of schools which have no teachers, no benches and even not without a school building.

The authority never dares to look into these flaws and instead try to cover up those mistakes with new schemes and models. Suppose if this new model schools donít work after few years than should there be another such model school with all new different touch and menus. To put it in simple terms, there is no need for such schools when the existing ones can be improved. It is not wise to always give hope to people just for the sake of publicity. In India education has been made free and compulsory for each and every child. The Education department has budgets allocated for the purpose of this. Even many centrally sponsored schemes are also in place like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Let us look at the other side i.e. the selection of students for enrolling themselves in the model school. There will be competition and only those children who qualify will be allowed to study in such schools. Where does the rests of children, who are not able to afford the expenses of private schools, go than?

Education is recognized as a place where children can develop according to their unique needs and potential. It is also perceived as one of the best means of achieving greater social equality. Every child is unique and has to be given equal opportunity. If few of those who made it to the school can be regarded as the only bright ones than it would be a mistake. We cannot assume that those who didnít make it are less talented because they are only in the learning stage and they need to be taught. If these less talented children had the opportunity to go to private schools may be they will make a good student. It will not be incorrect to assume that the whole idea of creating a model school can be perceived as privatization of its kind.

With these Model schools, may be few students and families shall be benefited but one cannot give assurance that it will be immune to corruption and nepotism at the time of selection of students. The basis of this perception lies in the nature of governance. How can one promise that most of the teachers and staffs in this model schools, will do their duty pragmatically? There will be the same teachers and same staffs who will still have the same attitude and overall the same system, frozen and indifferent.

In the State the school drop-out rate seems to be quite high. The major factors being Lack of infrastructure and motivation for further studies. Instead of promoting education among the youth the Government is keen on establishing Village defence force, SPOs and recruitment of more youths in the armed forces. Thus most of the youths after few years of schooling are drawn towards it, because they have been made that way, by making them sense that education is worthless.

If the Government has the resources to fund Special Forces, why canít they seriously endorse few amounts for setting up good educational institutions and revamp the existing ones (and not setting up new models). One will come across people grieving about the practicality of education because it will not lead them to anything with the poor education system and this are more so in the rural areas. There is not much labour to spend to make the system work efficiently, if they resolve to do so.

Although we need good roads, bridges and other infrastructure but development does not comprise of the observable ones only. We cannot ignore other invisible forms of development and education is one of them.

N.B. Comments and criticisms are most welcome.


* Somchandra Nahakpam contributes to regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be contacted at somnahakpam(at)gmail(DOT)com. This article was webcasted on February 25, 2009.

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