Education

Whither Education – An Apathy

Even after half a century of Indian Independence, the fate of education, educators, and students has hardly improved. The apathy of the power that is, including a large section of society, has not changed when it comes to human resource development and education. Even now, there are more than four crore educated unemployed youths in India. India boasts of being the world’s third knowledge power, but effectively, this is the lowest when judged against per thousand-population base. Societal degradation, inflicted by political might, is reflected in educational institutions across India. Aberrations have become the rule on campuses that are infested with self-seekers and politicians.

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DThougha noble concept, hdemocratizing higher educational institutions as in the past 20 years turned campuses into a cauldron of stinking filth. These are managed by affiliations charged with little regard for excellence, honesty and intellectual probity. Unethical and politically motivated decisions serve a few and are reflections of societal catharsis. Geographic India consolidated into a polity by the British has muted into conglomerations of politically charged, disjointed entities and facsimiles of democratic degradation. The classic conservative yearning for an ordered polity and commensurate pursuit of knowledge on the campuses are missing. Whichever brand rules the country, this section of society commands no respect now. May it be students or teachers, who don’t have a voice, they don’t constitute an essential service, and education is not a national necessity. Being a state subject, educational policies suffer from innumerable deformities Page Design Shop.

Though it is a constitutional obligation, the non-availability of funds and vested administrative setup have led to the mushrooming of universities, fake campuses, private enterprises, and numerous makeshift centers of education as also fly-by-air foreign campuses. It has proved to be a great financial endeavor with hardly any risk involved because it does not come under VAT or any other financial constraints. India has by now more institutions of such type than colleges, an excellent opportunity to rope in knowledge seeking youth and those who desire to fly off to greener pastures.

When it comes to the formulation of policies about higher education, structuring the system, financial assistance, grants, and salary, the statutory body-University Grants Commission is mentioned like a sacred cow worshipped as well as butchered in the streets. How far the UGC is autonomous is a piece of common knowledge. It has become a post office, a government organization, disbursing petty grants, sanctioned by the Central Government, among universities or institutions with a number of tags attached to them depending upon the status of the recipient institutions, state, Central, autonomous, or deemed universities. There is a perpetual complaint about the non-availability of funds. The administration should appreciate that the jumbo cabinet and expenditure on legislatures could be cut down to feed and educate a few villages. The teacher wants to be a ladder upon which students could climb and scale new heights.

The Central and state governments invoke ESMA to curb the voice of agitating people, but it takes no time to give benefits to politicians and bureaucrats. It is essential to please them so that a symbiotic balance is maintained as also to oblige a few of them. The government has failed to take effective steps to curb the industrialization of education. Within hours the doles given in Parliament and honorarium were doubled, but the 6 per cent expenditure of the GDP on education has proved to be dogma persisting right from the Kothari Commission recommendations for over four decades now.

Students of various educational institutes go on strike almost yearly, demanding withdrawal of excessive fee hikes. The tuition fees make up only about 13 per cent of annual expenditure in the present university education. It is now a formidable industry and the aim is to make money. Poor students, however, intelligent they may be, cannot afford to join colleges, professional institutions or courses. They may join such courses by putting their families under heavy debt of banks or financial institutions. Even in the USA, tuition fees contribute to about 15 per cent of the total annual expenditure on higher education. Nehru said: “If all is well with universities, it will be well with the nation.” Whereas Rabindranath Tagore once compared educated classes in India to “A second storey in an old building that was added in, bnfortunately ,the architect forgot to build a staircase between them.”

The teaching profession is devalued because the teachers can’t compete in our society, have no muscle power, are educated, and behave differently. Neither do they have the guts of creamy bureaucrats nor institutional support of any kind. A teacher can entertain you with a pale smile on hearing that this is the profession of nation builders, the cream of society, and a noble profession. The next moment teacher will be branded as cancers in societal marrow, getting a salary for no work, craving for power, equality in salary, and status with the Class A government servants. The teacher was the consultant and conscience keeper of society till the mid-century. One could identify him by his tattered clothes, emaciated pale face, soft voice and meek behavior. He was the guru. That guru, comparatively having a better outfit now, has metamorphosed to a present teacher.

Newspaper reports are replete with his shortcomings; his misconduct in preaching indiscipline is paid to him for no work, as he has to teach only for 181 days in a year. How could he dream of the parity with his bosses in the secretariat, his class dropouts in Parliament and the government. In order to save our hard-earned “democracy” which is being strengthened by a few hooligans, politicians and administrators, the government has to suppress the genuine demands so that education does not progress to the detriment of “illiterate democrats”. A handful of teachers adopts unethical means to become rich just like any other segments that are designated scamsters today. Exceptions, however, do not make the rule.

Most of our Presidents, many of our bureaucrats, including ministers, parliamentarians and others, had been in this profession. Did they not do any good work for the betterment of society before their elevation to these posts of governance and reverence? Can’t the authorities assess the strength of the demand vis-à-vis the qualification, age at the time of being recruited as a teacher, lack of promotional avenues, stagnation, and competency in terms of hiatus in the inflated societal values, urge and necessity to improve qualification and experience to remain in the fray? Education for teachers is a continuous process unlike “one-time-degree-obtaining-education” for others. Evaluation is paramount in this profession for every promotion. Classroom education has become drudgery afflicted by societal unrest, absolute lack of infrastructure, fear psychosis gripping the powerless parents and absences of administration.

Roberto Brock
the authorRoberto Brock
Snowboarder, traveler, DJ, Swiss design-head and HTML & CSS lover. Doing at the nexus of art and purpose to develop visual solutions that inform and persuade. I'm a designer and this is my work. Introvert. Coffee evangelist. Web buff. Extreme twitter advocate. Avid reader. Troublemaker.