While there’s a mad rush for admissions in private schools of the state capital, government schools are simply ‘chilling out’. Despite having highly qualified teachers, government primary and secondary schools face no pressure of admissions. Thanks to the taboo of ‘Hindi medium’ and ‘no fee’ school.
A student eats his mid-day meal while an ‘admission open’ board hangs above. (Kuldeep Rana/HT Photo)
Picture this: There are more than 1,300 government schools in Dehradun district facing no rush of admissions. Teachers feel the state government should take steps to raise the standard of government schools. Otherwise, soon there will no children left seeking admission to sarkari vidyalayas.
Shared Manju Bhatt, head of government primary school, Kanwali-1 with HT, “It’s a taboo that government schools are meant for poor and underprivileged children. It’s also because the government isn’t charging any fee for the education imparted in these schools. That’s why people do not respect the education provided here. It’s just like we don’t value things that we get free and preserve those that are expensive. The state government should ponder over enhancing the standard of education in government schools. Only then we will be able to give tough competition to public schools.”
When contacted, Shiv Prasad Khali, chief education officer said, “Certainly, government teachers are highly qualified and are given competitive salaries.
Government teachers do various duties in addition to teaching. But the standard of education in government schools can only be raised if the state government takes its schools seriously. As we impart free education, children often remain absent, do not come in uniform and disappear after having free meals.”
According to education department statistics, there are 946 government primary schools and 335 junior schools in Dehradun district alone. This number is enough to impart education to students in the district. But, despite having considerable number of government schools, parents want to send their children to public schools.
As a matter of fact, government schools do not employ untrained teachers. The minimum educational qualification to teach in government schools is BTC or BEd.
On the contrary, in private schools there are no set norms to employ teachers. Government schools charge no fee from parents and till class 5 do not even ask students to bring stationery as it is provided in school. However, in private schools monthly fee is charged along with admission fee, yearly fee, examination fee and other charges. Parents are asked to buy books from private stores and also financially contribute towards activities.
Vandana Kukreti, a government primary school teacher said, “We too want to impart good education. But how? We are dealing with children who are not regular.
We are dealing with Right to Education (RTE) which allows children to take admission in government school round the year. The RTE hasn’t set attendance percentage for passing a student and as a result, students miss their classes every now and then. It’s a difficult environment we are dealing with. The government does not charge any fee for its education and because of it neither parents nor students take government schools seriously. That’s why well-off parents do not wish to send their children to government schools.”
In private schools the medium is English and Hindi is a subject while in government schools the medium is Hindi and English is a subject. Interestingly, 25% reservation for poor children in private schools has also lowered the popularity of government schools among downtrodden.
Vibha, a government teacher said, “Now even poor parents are rushing to grab a seat in private schools under RTE. This has further diminished popularity of government schools. Every poor parent now wants to admit his child in public schools.”