Children of government officials, people's representatives must study in goverment schools

Photo credit: Jittima J/ CNS
[हिंदी] Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and Vice President of Socialist Party (India) welcomed the Allahabad High Court order of 18th August 2015, which took a serious note of the pathetic condition of primary schools in the state and directed the UP State's Chief Secretary to ensure that children/ wards of government officials/ servants, those serving in the local bodies, representatives of people and judiciary, etc., send their wards to government schools.

Only then would they be serious enough to look into the requirements of these schools and ensure that they are run in good condition, the court observed.

Dr Sandeep Pandey shared that "Dr Ram Manohar Lohia had also advocated for children of rich and poor studying in same school. Socialist Party has been raising this demand since past two years that children of all those who receive a salary from government, contract from government or are people's representatives must compulsorily study in government schools. We believe that this will be the only way to enhance quality of government schools, and accelerate progress towards universal education, and common school system."

"We demand that wards/ children of government contractors should also be compulsorily made to study in government schools, and this condition should be a mandatory one when awarding government contracts. Also anyone contesting any election should have her or his child/children studying in government school. Also we demand that only people who study in government school should get a government job" added Dr Pandey.

All developed countries and most developing countries have achieved 99-100% literacy rates. In India half the children don't complete their education. Half of them are engaged in child labour. Countries which have achieved 99-100% literacy rates have done so by adopting the common school system. This means all students have access to same quality of education system. In India two streams of education systems are in existence.

"Moneyed people send their children to private schools and poor are condemned to send their children to government schools in which the teachers don't teach. Thus education in India widens the gap between the rich and the poor. Whereas opportunities open up for the children of rich which allows them to better their lives, the children of poor are subject to exploitation. The children of rich get jobs in which salaries have skyrocketed due to implementation of sixth pay commission but children of poor compete for lowly jobs which are contractual, temporary and on daily wages, if they are not unfortunate enough to live an unemployed or underemployed. Most children of underprivileged  receive such poor quality education that they end up getting their degrees using unfair means, acquiring no skills at all, making them unemployable in the market. Except for a miniscule percentage of elite institutions the process of education in India has basically become a farce" said Dr Sandeep Pandey.

In India there has been a recommendation of Kothari Commission pending since 1968 to implement the common school system as well as the inherent concept of neighbourhood school. However, successive governments have conveniently chosen to ignore this recommendation.

Dr Sandeep Pandey believes that the only solution to the sorry state of affairs of government school system is to make it compulsory for children of all government servants and people's representatives to send their children to government schools. It is only when the children of ruling class will start attending these schools that their quality will remarkably change.

He added: "If the child is denied education then we're foreclosing the options before her to improve her family's socio-economic status. Poverty is often quoted as the reason why a child works but the child is unlikely to come out of poverty if she is denied education. Most of the children working are from deprived communities of the society - dalits and Muslims. Hence denying education is a sure way of continuing their condition of poverty. Most countries whose social indices have improved have used free education and health care services to improve the lot of their people."
"One reason why universalisation of primary education is not taking place in India is because private schools have been allowed to exist and become strong. Inspite of  The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act in place it is an open fact that neither is education free nor compulsory. In fact, to get a good quality education one will have to pay quite a huge amount because the quality of government schools has degraded and so called good quality education is available only in private schools."

"The private schools are running in violation of government norms. They do not have proper infrastructure, they pay only meagre salaries to their teachers, who may not even be qualified to teach and charge heavy fees in one name or another. However, in collusion with education department officials they are allowed to run as commercial ventures. It is quite clear that the important task of education cannot be left to private institutions."

Dr Sandeep Pandey said to Citizen News Service (CNS): "Until the private schools are nationalised it should be made compulsory for everybody drawing salary from the government and all people representatives from the Panchayat members to the Prime Minister to send their children to government schools. If this is implemented the situation of government schools will undergo drastic transformation overnight. There doesn't appear to be any other way in which these schools can be made to function properly. This is a necessary and sufficient condition for ensuring that the government schools provide good quality teaching to children."

Citizen News Service - CNS
18 August 2015