What chance for quality education?
Commercialisation of education and the rise of private sector education are having a negative impact! What the money-makers-turned educators say!
Yes, everyday there are nowadays, almost everyday, there are educational ads in the newspapers, more so recently on the TV screens as well. More and more news-turned advertisements on education coaching institutes and programmes inviting students, young and the not so young and also more importantly the parents who are more and more becoming vulnerable and insecure about the future for their children’s education. What is the meaning of education? Anybody asks? Anyone thinks it important?
The way our society is transforming, more materialistic instincts and more selfishness builds up inside of us, there more simple meaning of our very life is becoming more confused and more we become insecure in more than one way.
There are so many tempting options; it seems, in our lives. The more and more of people get split into various socio-economic groups, from poverty to some initial hope for progress, of course materially and more socially, we become aware of the various options opening up in our lives.
Politics comes in very early in our lives, with the democratic political pressures impacting on our lives. Politics too today has become more corrupt and more low-endowment sections grabbing power through all sorts of ways, from bribing the voters to the accumulation of wealth, democracy draws more into the political and election fray, the chances for breaking rules and conventions come in handy for spreading opportunities down the line and we see today what is happening before our eyes.
Schools and colleges have also fallen prey to this degeneration and we see the schooling system completely out of all systems and social controls and social obligations.
It is plain robbery when it comes to upper and upper middle classes, as for instance what you see in a city like Delhi.
Some of the big business practices you see in some of the big scale secondary schooling enterprises. Some of the bigwigs in business are in the schooling business. A socio- cultural and why even the economic segments would show how big is the education business and enterprises.
What we see in Delhi is much more politically strong, in the sense of political connections and patronage, what you see in other cities like Bangalore and Chennai, not to speak of other metropolitan cities; education today is the most corrupt social practice. Once you ignore the old fashioned ideas of teaching education ideals, or other old fashioned concepts of ideals and idealism, values like ethical conduct, truth and non-selfishness or other concepts like “Find thyself”, etc are completely out of date!
May be education in our times is changing, we are not sure. All the world over education is now a high priority issue in their countries socio-economic development goals.
There are many millennium development goals, there are targets and the big change in our generation is this global awareness for the need for education for all. There also many new legislations to ensure there is social justice, in India we have the Right to Education and other Acts that ensure these social justice goals, education is now a fundamental right, the rights of children, the rights of girl children are all changing the very outlook and quality of life in the countries.
There are also the issues like government’s roles in promoting education. In many countries there are various incentives, free distribution of laptops is one such inducements for enrolment and retention of the children in the schools.
Of course, there are also issues like enrolment and retainment of children by distributing noon-meals and free uniforms, why even free cycles so that the girl children are freed from some constraints. The only distortion, as we see it, is the commercialisation of education and this has led to many other new social distortions.
The very foundation of education, good and healthy growth of society, the scope for exploitation of the vulnerable sections is the new phenomenon of commerce in education. In some states in India this sort of commercialisation and distortion and exploitation of the vulnerable sections has led to total distortion and the rise of the unemployable youth.
In TN, for instance, the state is otherwise categorised as an education all advanced state, is the growth of self-financing engineering colleges. In the neighboring states like Karnataka and Andhra this menance has reached risdiculour levels where any student walking into a “College” can be accommodated.
The menance in engineering colleges has spread now into the medical colleges as well. As a result the top body in medical education, the Medical Education Council of India (MCI) is the most corrupt body that any number of times the MCI was dissolved and reconstituted. No less corrupt in the All India Technical Education Council.
So too high costs of education even at the LKG/UKG levels. Afor admission into LKG in some cities a capitation fee of Rs.one lakh and above is charged.
What is the end result?
Today we see routines news items that for any government job, there are many times the applicants!
Unemployment in the educated youth segment is at an all-time high. Here we are much more concerned about the total fall in education’s great strengths in shaping a society and contributing to the transformation of a society on culturally and civilisation lines.
Education must teach good values and shape good citizens. Can we say that we can this in today’s educational environment. High teacher vacancies, lack of qualified personnel at the universities, high corruption everywhere. We see the unpleasant plight of Vice-Chancellors some in jail serving time for high corruption. India is not making any progress in the international ranking of universities.
So, what sort of society we are creating? Where are the policy makers?
The education ministries in the States and at the Centre are struggling to make a sense in the education of the country’s development goals.
It is time for deep introspection in education and the cultural fields. It is a great irony when the new technologies, IT and Internet are here to make things easy for spreading quality education, India’s suffers from a poverty of ideas and idealism and any sense of purpose and meaning in these critical areas.
We don’t have enough public libraries even. In various States, the public libraries departments are not even functioning. It is time we wake up!