The scene is getting increasingly gloomier!
Few decades earlier imparting education was the noblest profession and teachers were very often respected more than the guardians. But, unfortunately the once holy profession of teaching has now become a money-spinning business. Over the period of time, particularly during the last three decades both government administered education system and the private run educational institutions have failed miserably in providing value based quality education. Government institutions with adequate infrastructure and well qualified teaching staff were unable to deliver and their results at the end of the academic sessions proved dismal both qualitatively and quantitatively. However, the private sector managed their performance of numbers but their quality of education cannot be termed satisfactory by any standards. Most of the times this knowledge paralysis can be observed only to the level of ten plus two and beyond that it is a level playing field where private sector is unable to compete with the state run education organizations.Much is being said and now being done actively and vigorously to revive the government education system. Let us wait for the day when, hopefully, this system will be back on rails and will offer quality education to every section of the society irrespective of class and status. As against the nominal teaching fee charged by government schools the private institutions charge hefty monthly sum to offer education. And if we compare the overall infrastructure and quality teaching staff of state and private sector educational institutions the private sector in most of the cases lags behind. Until seventies of last century only some missionary schools and few other private schools run by the religious organizations were part of the private education system. Most of these schools that time dominated the urban education landscape and in rural areas the state run schools not only ruled but provided wonderful results.
After seventies the fashion of sending wards to private schools picked up like an epidemic and major contributors to this ill-conceived education concept were the middle-class and the neo-riches. With substantial change in economic status and the living standard of people of Kashmir private run English medium schools became a status symbol.Thus the whole conception of education got linked with money and status and the hawkish exploiters watching this unprincipled development, without wasting any time jumped into this lucrative trade (otherwise holy profession) for a good margin without investing much. The period of unrest in the valley too played its catalytic role in changing the concept of education from noble service into murky trade. And that is how every businessman with or without any concept of education and knowledge shifted to greener pasture of education. Exceptions were there in the past and surely even now some players in private education sector do a great service and are able to maintain their standard of imparting knowledge oriented education. But most of the private players are out for a kill; to fleece the gullible parents suffering from complex and status symbol syndrome. A cursory look into the modus operandi of most of the private education players is not only unethical but in broader sense can be termed as murkier. Development funds, hefty teaching charges and many other huge monthly payments end up in an education scenario that can be termed only as average by all means and standards. Lack of proper infrastructure and exploitation of work force are other aspects that bring most of these private schools under the shadow of answerability and invite action under rules. Interestingly, most of the private players have clandestinely joined hands to create a group with common interests and want to sway the opinion about private education sector in their favour. I have a word for this group—‘be honest to the homeland and the future of this nation and leave rest to destiny’.
During last two decades every Tom, Dick and Harry who had never been even remotely associated with education or knowledge has joined the bandwagon of private education sector. People who managed fortunes in pharmaceutical trade, hospitality and healthcare more aggressively joined the education industry along with real estate people. I don’t challenge the credentials and credibility of any entrepreneur, but we should bear in mind that education sector is not a traditional business or trade where money should be the only criterion. In real sense education is dissemination of knowledge and shaping the future generation for a healthy nation building.