Is education really top priority for Himachal Govt.?
Yesterday, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh was heard saying that education is top priority for the government. Today, we have a proof how serious he was. May be he was joking or wasn’t aware of the ground reality.
Take a look at this building. It’s not a cow shelter. It’s the Govt. Senior Secondary School Gulair, Dehragopipur in district Kangra. The school is operational and students study under a roof that can land on them anytime. The building, which is a ‘Kacha Makan’, has literally decayed.
The villagers and Gulair Youth Club have requested the government to declare it ‘unsafe’ as it can become a grave for students and teachers some day, especially in monsoon.
The school staff, panchayat, and villagers have pleaded to the administration including education department to consider hazardous condition in which students are forced to study. However, the declaration isn’t likely to be heard. Moreover, the building does not need declaration. We wonder these people never come out to stage any protest even when the lives of their kids are on stake.
In April 2014, a fund of 26 lakh and 78 thousand was sanctioned for the renovation of the school; however, the money seems to have disappeared.
What kind of mockery is it? Who the hell will send their children to such school unless they don’t have another choice?
Recently, CAG and other surveys revealed shocking statistics showing drop in registration in government schools and inclination of parents towards private institutes. Parents are forced to pay heavy fees that include other dramas private school ask for.
Economically weak sections of the society are burdened as families want better educational opportunities for their kids and preferring private schools as government ones are no good.
The pitiable condition of government school infrastructure isn’t limited to a few schools. According to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) report, 31% schools, with a total student strength of over one lakh students, in Himachal are running from either one or two-room structures.
An analysis of various reports presented in Parliament on education in 2015 stated that basic facilities are still a distant dream in government schools.
In Himachal Pradesh 2,438 school are without a playground. Himachal was on number four rank with school without electricity.
Due to decaying standards of education and lack of basic facilities is the main reason why Himachal’s government schools are running out of students as the number of students enrollment has drastically dropped.
A report on annual status of education in Himachal during 2014, submitted by Pratham Education Foundation, revealed
Enrollments in private schools in the state in 2006 was 19%, which increased to 35.2% in 2014. Government schools in 2010 had registered 74.6% enrollments, which decreased to 64.5% in 2014.
Out of total 10,766 government primary schools in Himachal, 411 don’t have more than five students, 745 schools have less than 10 students, 35 schools have only one student, in 14 schools there are two teachers for one student, and in other 21 there is one teacher for one student.
Same report highlighted that in Himachal 25% of class V students cannot read class II level text while 53% children of class V cannot do simple division.
The survey conducted by SSA had highlighted lack of competence in government schools. According to the survey, in Himachal, a state with 82.8 % literacy rate, 20% Class 3 student are not able to identify alphabets or numbers, while 74% of eighth class students lack class-appropriate competence.
In case of implementation of computer education also in upper primary schools, CAG reported loopholes. Hundreds of school lacks computers and computer teachers.
The public is ready to attend to useless political rallies to hear load of bullocks from politicians. Same public is silent when it comes to fight for their rights.
Education and health sector must not be associated with profit. These two basic facilities must be accessible to all with least possible charges in a democratic state.
In Himachal, not only school education, but higher education has also been put on sale. The degradation of academic standards in Himachal Pradesh University is clearly visible. The university does not offer even basic facilities. In the age where Internet has dominated as a major source of information for students all around the globe, Himachal doesn’t offer even limited Wi-Fi facility for students.
The Vice-Chancellor is spending on his personal luxuries and misusing police to beat students when they dare to stage protest against his anti-student policies like massive, unjustified fee hikes, miserable failure of RUSA system, and ban on election for Student Central Association.
The public isn’t able to get rid of slavery conditioned by British colonial rule. Nor the public knows value of common man empowerment, neither the politicians wish to empower people.
Image Credit: Punjab Kesari