Even during Pandemic crisis, Private Schools have been working beyond the call of duty to make sure that education does not fail. The very moment lockdown started clamping in our State, almost all Private Schools had to take up new extraordinary challenges never imagined off and that is in creating a conducive learning environment for the students. As such many challenging steps had to be taken to counter this new uncharted and unexplored phenomenon with many creative ideas. This new normal indeed brought about several adaptive challenges for all Mentors who have been working selflessly, but sadly there was hardly anyone to cheer for the Private Schools.
Although in Private Schools, Students enjoy all the necessary facilities with minimal fees, as compared to schools outside the State. In recent times there has been much criticism from various quarters about the fees collected by Private Schools. But when we make a logical analysis, how will the managements of Private Schools pay reasonable salaries to the private teachers as compared to the government teachers. Regardless, of the occurring criticisms the truth remains that they are surviving not because of the fees alone, but due to the fact that the proprietors or mission-aided societies either have supplementary businesses, ventures, missionary funds and various other assistances which aids in the development of the private schools. Some of the private schools have been forced to shut down while many are on the verge of being closed because of no alternative source to keep the schools up and running (Just imagine what will happen if all Private Schools in Nagaland had to shut down completely, what will be the consequence of the State?). The Private Schools, should in fact receive true patronage and recognition as they have put in many of their own resources and effort in bringing about educational benefits to so many students from varied backgrounds. It must be seriously noted that since Pandemic started there has been a sharp decline of approximate 20% students and above in almost all Private Schools. Who will rescue the Children of tomorrow?
While, ANPSA thoroughly understands and sympathizes with the public in pertinence to the current situation and the troubles we have all experienced, however, it is significant that we first of all understand that ANPSA is an organisation made of different Private schools who run individually or by various organisation with a set of their own governing rules and regulations, as such no one individual or a single institution can dictate the other to give out concession on the will of the organisation, other than requesting. We as an organisation are here for one another to help and supplement rather than to draft decrees and accords. Besides, it is not that the schools on their own stand are not doing anything to help improve the effected conditions of the parents. In fact, there are many private schools that are actually making various cuts in schools fees and monthly instalments in order to help the parents as well as the students. In this regard, it is essential to take note of the fact that many private schools in Nagaland offer unsolicited fee-concessions and special benefits and scholarships to many deserving students and students from marginalized families, not forgetting the benefits that go into educating the wards of the school staff members, in terms of 50% or even 100% concessions in fees.
To make matters worse, private schools suffer from non-payment of fees by many defaulting parents in some cases even amounting up to couple of years. Again, the Private Schools have different fee structures depending on the kinds of facilities and faculty provided. Therefore, critics must know fully-well that it is at the sheer discretion of an individual to choose any school according to one’s educational needs and a polished up-bringing. Thus, it is pertinent that those who blindly criticize the private schools should look into facts and make a thorough analysis before making wild assumptions or accusations.
That said, there are also other major aspects which we cannot overlook as each and every private schools have to pay their employees from the teachers and administration to the staff members, drivers, security, housekeeping etc even if Schools are closed. However, many fail to acknowledge the compromises the schools have to put up in order to meet the demands of different factors. Some organizations are prying to get cheap leverage by showing concerns in the public eye by manipulating public emotions in the form of fake empathy to gain their own alternative motives and to turn the situation into a platform to spring their own success. Such organisations should first of all see and understand both sides of the coin before jumping to conclusions. If an organisation were wise enough and truly want to help and solve the plight of the public, wouldn’t it be more sensible to first of all check the proper source of funds that has been provided by the centre along with its usage? Is it not wiser to know how central funds are being mismanaged and wasted on insignificant areas before going against private schools who are functioning without any aid or funds from the government?
In addition to which, many individuals immensely fail to be grateful that their children are receiving quality educational facilities in the private schools in Nagaland itself without having much tension for their children’s welfare and without spending undue extravagant money for sending them to private schools outside the State. The educational facilities provided by some of the Private Schools in Nagaland are at par with some of the best schools outside the State. Also making the children pursue their studies in Nagaland saves them from undue harassment and dangers that they might be exposed to while pursuing their studies away from their home state in hostile conditions while also giving the parents ample opportunity of monitoring their children’s performance and upbringing without any fear, stress and tensions about their children’s whereabouts.
When it comes to Board examinations, each year, the private schools have always proven better in almost all area and this is made possible due to the dedicated efforts of the private schools. But then the sad reality is that all the credit of Private Schools’ hard work and sacrifices and is fully forgotten and neglected. In spite of the State’s Literacy Rate being raised by us at the National level the State gets all the credit of the literacy rates. Sadly, though the contribution of private schools has been immense in development of education sector in Nagaland and has also brought Nagaland in the map of education in India and in the International sphere, and also the Private Schools which is catering to approximate 75% or more of students in the State, is always side-lined. It is high time that the conscious citizens of the Naga society, various organisation, civil societies etc take up the challenge of recognizing the efforts of the Private Schools in the betterment and development of the State.
There is no denying the fact that the Private Schools have given their best in ensuring that the quality of education reaches the expectations of the State Board as well as the society at large.
We must also be aware that the private schools across Nagaland are the highest job providers, second only to the State Government. But, after moulding and shaping the students right from their nursery level to their higher secondary level, by putting all resources to use including the hard labour and pain that goes with it for their holistic upbringing of creating a vast quality human resource for the State and the Nation, the entire credit for the human resource development is left disregarded.
Well, it is easier to pick up a diamond and polish it and sell it however, it is a challenge to turn coal into diamonds and this responsibility is selflessly performed mostly by the Private Schools.
The narrow attitude and sheer negligence have surely dampened the morale and spirit of many credible and good private schools in our State. Logically, to be fair and square the Central Government must make a policy whereby State Government start receiving educational funds and distributing the same according to performances of each schools regardless of private or governmental rather than confining funds only to government schools. As such, the Government of Nagaland should come up with a positive step to put into action, a plan whereby the public funds are put to more judicious use. Instead of pouring all the public money in government schools which are non-productive, it should rather provide grants in aid to all Private Schools like paying off at least 50% of the schools fees whereby reducing the burden of the Parents/Guardians at large. It is worth mentioning that in other States huge percentage of Private Schools Teachers salaries are born by their respective State Government. Why not in Nagaland?
Besides the above mentioned, there are also other existing major crisis which need our undivided attention, the biggest being the price hike of various commodities and fuels. Why is no one concerned about this and why is no one questioning about it? This hike in price in all the essential commodities is draining our hard-earned money especially when the public are at their most vulnerable stage. We as consumer and responsible citizens should come together to raise our voices against this unfair price rise which is affecting the condition of all our day to day lives.
Nonetheless, we completely understand that the events that have unfolded upon us has left us all bruised and in need of consideration from all grounds, nevertheless despite all these hardships we are undergoing, we still humbly request each private schools to help in their own capacity in whatever ways they can to all deserving students besides the existing ones.
In conclusion, let’s all open our eyes to the fact that no person was ever honoured for what he received; honour has always been the reward for what one gave, therefore let us all learn to help one another and grow in unity as one entity for the larger interest of our next generation.
Dr Andrew Ahoto
All Nagaland Private Schools’ Association (ANPSA)
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