The education sector, primary and secondary schools in particular, continues to be the whipping boy as it were for its shortcoming on many counts, not to forget the phenomenon of school drop out showing no signs of abating in the State. The teacher fraternity who have been in the background, escaping the assault by the critics of the other functionaries of the sector, have just been bestowed attention which is sure to rattle the army of teachers only in the aided private schools. Their work and the outcome thereof are headed to be brought under the scanner by the Department of Education judging by the parameter of percentage of passes in the qualifying public examination achieved by their respective schools. When and what reaction the measure may produce in the fraternity of the target section of teachers may trigger more debates by the academics who are keenly following the department’s ways of managing the sector.
The just announced move of the government to deny wages to the teachers and funds to the schools not achieving the prescribed norm of pass percentage is sure to be deemed draconian and seen as a fire-fighting step, with the parents of the students of the affected schools clueless on the fate of their children.
The norm of whatever percentage of passes prescribed by the authorities as minimum to be crossed by the private aided schools militates against the freedom of the school managements in deciding the admissions to classes beginning with even pre-school stage, given the law that makes 25 per cent of such admissions to comply with the Right To Education (RTE) Act. There being four parties involved in the action, namely a) The Department of Education, b) The teacher fraternity, c) The Managements of private aided schools and d) The parents who have patronised the aided schools that have low tariffs compared to unaided private schools where education of the wards costs a bomb.
While the intended punitive measure is bound to create panic among the teachers, the authorities will do well to examine other less harsh but result-yielding measures, in which the academics can extend a helping hand. The solution to the problem should not leave the teachers, students and parents stranded. Trailing the teachers must conform to elegance of method and decorum of acting.