While the wide media coverage of the battle between Nitish vs. Narendra was the cause of morose for many, I had some reason to keep my hope of developmental politics alive. I kept on hearing about Nitish Kumar visiting schools during his Viswas Yatra and his dialogue with the students and teachers. His blog on the positive effect of state gifted bicycles for students on improving enrolment and reduction in the figures of dropouts kept me and perhaps many pretty excited.
Deepak and Prakash visited me on their return journey after a ten-day off in Pipra, their village home and stayed with us for a night with their mother. Both are pursuing master course in engineering, the elder in BITS, Pilani and the younger in IIIT, Bhuwaneswar.
I wish to do something to improve the quality of education in the village school and have a plan to set up a library cum creativity centre in the school. I am ready to bear all the expenditures of books and implements. I had discussed the same with some coming out of the village who are employed. And then, I talked about the same project with my uncle. He had been library enthusiast in his early days. I was surprised when he in plain language discouraged me to do anything of the sort. As per him, it is not of any use rather it will be a waste of money.
Deepak and Prakash, his grandsons also brought his message.
The village school runs classes up to class VIII and may add up to class X by next year. I considered it as a major achievement for the village. But I find few things that must be taken care of.
School: The school consists of just few rooms. There is a boundary wall but no gate that can be locked. It has no security guard for protecting the school in the night or when it’s not running. The condition is same for all the schools that I know all around my village. Many don’t have even boundary wall. I don’t know why the Panchayat or the government can’t engage and employ a full time guard and a residence for him in one corner in the premises. He could be engaged in multiple roles for different essential work in the school such as housekeeping and cleaning too.
Without the necessary arrangement against the burglary, one can’t even dream of a modern good school with many essential equipment and teaching aids such as audio and video system, computers and internet facilities and other facilities in its laboratories. The government must think on this aspect as an essential requirement if it has intention to make the school taking the advantages of the contemporary technologies.
Teachers: Most of the teachers are very lowly paid as ‘Shiksha Mitra’ and are hardly devoted to their work of teaching. Many are not even qualified and skilled enough to do that. I don’t know why the government resorted to such a system to save the cost of education. It has just created a band of discontented teachers in a government set up that is already not ready to be accountable for the performance.
Community: I don’t know how the present system of education can impart and ensure quality learning to the students and who will do that, if the community is not ready to take any interest and leaves everything to the so called government to do. Every school requires a mentor to see that it functions effectively. A good mentor can only build a good school. I wish the community being served by the school does find one.
I don’t know if the schools in the other states are significantly different.
If I go by what I hear from my uncle who had been instrumental in bringing many developments to the village and others who have served in responsible positions such as senior teachers and headmasters of high schools, I get worried and lose hope.
The finance is not a problem in providing and spreading the education to all today. It is the atmosphere of brotherhood and fellowship that is getting scarce.
I wish Nitish Kumar and other leaders, through the mass contact such as Vishwas Yatra, discuss this subject too. Perhaps, for the first time a Chief Minister is visiting schools and that too, the rural ones on such a scale to find out firsthand the conditions and shortcomings of the schooling in the state. It’s a great gesture and it is bound to encourage the students as well as their parents for focusing on education to bring in better days in their households. Let it not be only for votes. Let it build a society with better fellowship in the communities and make it responsible and accountable for the government projects taken up to benefit them.
I wish him also to appeal the students and teachers to switch over to the modern education system with English, computer, and skill as the main focus to compete with other developed states.
I wish Nitish appeals to the villagers to nurture and build the village-school as a place of pride for the village, with a library and creativity centre, a play ground for all the village youth and a meeting place for all to further their knowledge through schemes such as adult education.