Ailing rural schools

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In recent years, the state school education department is beating drums to rejuvenate the education sector Naga
land. Contrary to it, the educational institutions here, particularly in rural areas, have remained the victims of official neglect. Over the past many years, the Government of India (GoI) is pumping huge amount for the infrastructural up-gradation of schools, under various centrally sponsored schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhiyamak Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). However the investment seems invisible given the present status of the schools in rural areas. Right now the school education department claims to make the educational institutions more students friendly by giving technological interventions. However, the tall claims fall flat in rural areas where the students sans the basic infrastructural facilities in their schools. In most of the rural areas, the government has failed to provide basic infrastructure where the students are crammed in congested, shabby and unsafe ‘four walls’ due to the non availability of proper accommodations. From dearth of teaching staff, to lack of basic infrastructure like classrooms, government schools in rural areas are in dismal state despite having enormous response from the populace in terms of enrolment of students in government schools. And we expect such schools to give quality education? In fact the fate of government-run schools in the remote rural areas is something that would put anybody to shame. Many matriculate level students from these government schools can barely write a correct sentence in any language or solve any mathematical equation. Survey after survey has shown a high rate of school drop-outs, failures and poor literates churned out from government schools. And that can be a yardstick of the deplorable conditions of primary schools. The right to education legislation does precious little in the face of the unchangeable quality and quantity of good government schools which can offer good education to the children, especially of the oppressed classes, offering them equal opportunities. Alarmingly, this inability to consolidate school education and improve the quality of education imparted in government institutions also inspires a similar mindset when it comes to framing policies regarding higher education, encouraging a mushrooming growth of colleges and universities. Successive governments have failed in bringing school education up to the mark and have been unable to bring the government schools at par with the far better private schools, the field has been left free for political beings to resort to cheap gimmicks in opening hordes of colleges, primarily with an eye on the vote bank. An impressive number of higher educational institutions, many of which are operating in shabby and congested buildings without the requisite infrastructure and equipment, can never produce good education, which has to be ensured at the school level. The greatest primary need is ensuring good schools for all, especially the oppressed classes who should be entitled to equal opportunities at low cost. Only then can the goals of laws like right to education actually be realised. Today there are too many government schools in the state, with some schools having no students or teachers or even classrooms. Many government middle schools and high schools have been upgraded for political considerations without the requisite creation of posts. This means that while the schools are said to be upgraded on papers, they virtually remain non-existent on the ground. This is the shocking state of affairs and it is high time that the government correct the situation. And it should start from government schools in the rural areas, which had for many years remained out of focus of the authorities even as the schools get enormous response from students as compared to that of in urban areas. The ground situation of schools in rural areas depicts the grim picture for which the department must wake up at it’s earliest to safeguard the student interest. Over the past years, we have heard the government making tall claims of revolutionising the education sector, however the claims apparently seems to have fallen flat given the ailing situation of rural education in the state. Government must now wake up and take immediate steps to streamline the functioning of schools in rural areas. Focusing on selected schools in the district headquarters and its suburbs won’t bring much positive changes.