An open letter to Minister of Education
I am writing this letter to you at a time when the Economic & Political atmosphere of the Valley is all but good. The people of Kashmir are suffering all along for nearly quarter a century. As we all know that the disputed nature of the state has not only deeply affected the daily lives of people or administrative institutions but at the same time, it has greatly harmed our educational system beyond recovery. The inception of armed struggle and counter insurgency operations in Kashmir has led our whole educational system in shambles. The people of the valley are passing through the tough times. There are hardly any government educational institutions in the valley which had worked up to the expectations of the people. This alternatively had a serious repercussion on our education system. The present government has relatively tried to rebuild it by different measures by which many centrally sponsored schemes were implemented in the state. However, these schemes have fewer advantages for common people and more advantages for the bureaucrats. Once these schemes are drafted and implemented, their negative implications become clearer and more conspicuous.
One of such schemes was Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The main aim and objective of this scheme was to enhance the primary education of the state. There were some flaws from the very beginning in the recruitment process of this scheme. No doubt, the educated youths were recruited at village level on merit basis, but the recruiting of SSA teachers was not up to the mark. The criteria was that only those candidates would get selected who holds the basic passing percentage, e.g. the candidates with 40-44% marks were selected as ReT’s.
To be honest, when we observe these teachers and their work culture, they are not able to teach the students and deliver best up to the levels and interests of a child. I am not generalizing the entire selection of these teachers, no doubt there are highly qualified and trained youth who were appointed under this scheme and are performing well. However, in many cases candidates having just 12th as their maximum qualification were recruited, which led to the serious blow so for as the realization of the basic goal of these schemes is concerned. While as it should have been on the pattern of other states of the country like, Assam and some union territories like Dadra and Nagar Havelli etc, where 50% marks and professional course in education was set as eligibility criteria for the appointment of SSA teachers.
Minister sahb, generally those candidates having degrees in agriculture are being appointed. On the same pattern government has recently announced to launch Rehbar-e-Khail scheme, where physical education degree holders will be appointed. So if we care and appoint only subject specified candidates under Rehbar-e-Zirat or Rehbar-e-Khail schemes, why don’t we care for the education. In some cases, BPed degree holders have been appointed as ReTs who are not able to teach the students; the way students should be taught. Is it justice. And isn’t it high time for education system to accommodate them as PTIs (Physical training instructors) and in their place new ReTs appointed
Minister sahb, at the cultural conclave of Kindergartens hosted by Directorate of School Education Jammu, in the sprawling auditorium of the Teachers Bhawan Gandhi Nagar, you said that: “In view of the huge public response and tangible results obtained with the introduction of Kindergartens, it has been decided to start Nursery classes in more than 800 government schools”, and you further added that “the initiative of starting the pre-school classes in some of the selected schools in the first phase has borne very good results. Realising the need for extending the crucial facility to maximum number of our children the state has decided to cover 800 more schools in convergence mode with social welfare department”. In this regard I have couple of observations:
First, don’t you think that it could be more fruitful to have one school with nursery classes in each habitation, what restricts you to take such an initiative?
Secondly, so far as the collaboration with social welfare department is concerned, does it mean that Aaganwari workers would be engaged for teaching these nursery classes? we often see that these Aaganwari workers are not well qualified and trained as most of them are just 10th or 12th pass. while as vide DSEK circular No. 06-9-2015 dated 24-11-2015 it was made clear that for the meaningful transaction in KG class on the lines of ECCE programme, the active, skilful and trained teachers especially a female should be involved on priority and Integrated Theme Based Approach must be followed for the effective results.
P.S. The entire future of our society is based on education. Unless and until we do not build and reform the system by well-educated and trained teachers with proper eligibility criteria the aim of making a vibrant society cannot be attained. So we should initiate the process now.
The author is a Researcher at Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Oracle Opinions.