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State education board chairman on why Pune parents tend to ‘value’ their sons more than daughters

“This is an example of the typical traditional thinking of parents as we often see that there is discrimination between girls and boys at homes even for sweets, toys and other things. Many parents think that they will depend on their boy child once they grow up, and therefore, invest in him and not the girl child, who they consider as a liability,” says Vasant Kalpande, chairman of the State Education Board and Education expert.

pune Updated: Nov 06, 2017 15:31 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,State,Education
Vasant Kalpande.(HT PHOTO)

A recent government report indicated that people are preferring public schools for girls over boys and former chairman of the State Education Board and Education expert, Vasant Kalpande, says that this is the result of the skewed mindset of parents. In an interaction with Hindustan Times, Kalpande discusses various ways to change people’s mindset.

According to the statistics released by National University for Educational Planning and Administration, parents are sending boys to private schools and girls to government-run schools. What do you think about this trend?

Yes, this trend is prevalent in the city. But this is an example of the typical traditional thinking of parents as we often see that there is discrimination between girls and boys at homes even for sweets, toys and other things. Many parents think that they will depend on their boy child once they grow up, and therefore, invest in him and not the girl child, who they consider as a liability. This mindset encourages them to admit boys in private schools and girls in government-run schools.

Is this trend on the rise?

As I have already said, this is a traditional mentality. This entirely depends upon the education and economic status of parents. The educational background of parents influence their decision-making ability. Therefore, those who are not educated may be more willing to do this. Their preconceived mindset towards government schools, which they think are nor providing good education, could also force them to take such steps.

How can we solve this social problem?

We have to give some time for this mentality to change as social problems cannot be solved overnight. We have to spread social awareness about the issue through campaigning, dramas and films. Just as many families are now opting to have only one child owing to the awareness drive about family planning, awareness programmes on the issue will definitely yield results.

Why do people have this mindset about government schools? A Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) appointed committee had also reported that parents say that the quality of government schools is going down day by day.

Yes, this is a preconceived mindset towards government schools. There is a need for rethinking. For educational purposes, I have visited many schools in Maharashtra and I found that some of the public schools have better infrastructure than many private schools. The case in point can be the Zilla Parishad Primary school is Kenjal, Bhor in Pune district or the Zilla Parishad Primary School at Karashi or the Pune Municipal Primary school No.3, Karad in Satara district. Also, all government schools have trained teaching staff. But the issue is that private schools are now becoming a symbol of status for parents and therefore, the market for private English medium schools is increasing.

If the government will increase the number of its English medium public schools, will it attract more number of students?

Why should the government do this? There is no need for this as they already have semi-English medium schools.From the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the number of students in semi-English medium schools as well. According to me, there is an increasing demand for vernacular language schools and hence, this booming English medium private school field will stabilise soon.

Why education is getting unaffordable for all day by day?

The market works on the rule of demand and supply. But now-a-days, every parent wants to educate his child and is ready to pay for it. Hence there are many education giants who take benefit of this market situation. But even now, the government is playing a vital role in making education affordable for all.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 15:14 IST