Education Sans Policy


By: Neken SeramAlthough Manipur does not have any successful production unit, health and education have become its biggest industries. Besides establishment of hospitals and clinics, running private schools and tuition centres have become successful businesses in Manipur. Since the state government and most private school owners have neglected the true vision and inherent mission of education as a social service, education has been highly commercialized in the state. Besides undermining qualitative elements in recruiting teachers, government is totally negligent in the simplest task of providing text books for students, even when the academic session already commenced at par with the CBSE pattern. The text book fiasco has surfaced once again since the tasks of production of text books have been assigned to the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur (BOSEM). In principle, the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has to act as the nodal agency for preparing text books, as is done in other states of India. However, since the SCERT in Manipur has been in lack of due academic creativity and since it has been kept as a simple government department, the works of text book production have to be supposedly assigned to the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur. Meanwhile, it is obvious that the Board has allotted the printing works to incompetent firms, thereby delaying the books production process. No doubt, there are lots of competent firms in the state that can implement the works in time. It is heard that even some firms stealthily print text books without BOSEM logo and sell to serve the pupils’ demand. These firms are in fact the able and competent firms, whom the authority fails to allot such works. Favoritism and corruption in the government sector have devalued their service. The education in the state has now become a big industry. A number of private schools have emerged here and there, because of the alleged lack of qualitative teaching in government institutions. Private schools have their good sides too, as they teach subjects out of BOSEM-prescribed pattern, taking into account the needs of the grooming students. In fact, their endeavour of adding subjects like computer science, moral science and general knowledge in school curriculum of beginners out of BOSEM prescription is encouraging. Although the private schools are supposedly superior to the lots of government schools in respect of producing better and bright students, most private schools have their inherent commercial vision and jeopardized overall quality maintenance. Private schools in Manipur are not governed by any government established rules and supervised by public authority. In matters of recruitment, service extension, termination and salary fixation for teachers, most of the private school management authority exercise monopoly. In regard to collection of fees, there is no regularity at all. Most private institutions charge student fees at their own discretion without any basis. It is generally accepted that schools have to collect fees commensurate to the service provided to students. Sports fee, library fee, culture fee, examination fee and others as per the calculation appropriate to the actual provisions to students have to be collected at the time of admission. However, there is great disparity of fees among the private institutions. The private school fees, in the capital city of Delhi, are governed by the Delhi Education act and controlled by the concerned education department. However, in Manipur the school fees are supposedly charged at their own discretion. Moreover, it is doubtful that the annual audited statements of accounts of the private schools which are due to be submitted to state education department are genuine, transparent and sincerely framed by the management. Hence, it may be assumed that non-transparency of fee structure and financial accounts in private schools has helped increase the monetary demands by NGOs and pressure groups from the schools.Education in the state may be termed as purely tuition-oriented, as it can be proudly mentioned that no student is on the top ranks without private tuitions. There have emerged lots of private tutors to serve the guardians’ wishes and also to supplement the inadequacy in schools. Private tuition has also been institutionalized and private tutors are paid in three digit amounts. Advertisements for private tuition centres have flooded local newspapers. The premises of reputed tutors are over-crowed with two-wheelers and four-wheelers of guardians right from early morning. Guardians do not hesitate to pay hefty thousands of rupees per course for different subjects. It has become a convention that a student seeks private tuition for all subjects – mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, arts subjects, English, Manipuri, Hindi and what not. Earlier, private tuition was required for a few weak students and on selected subjects. Nowadays, almost all students are sent to private tuition, if the parents are affordable. One of the important features of present day school education in Manipur, besides tuition, is the bulk home tasks given to students. Guardians are made to engage most of their time, money and energy for their wards. It is, on one side, encouraging and applauded in many circles that such trend of parent-involvement is beneficial to both the guardians and the wards. However, economically and socially, we can not expect good academic outcome and dynamic personality for these students, as most of their available time are devoted to learning. Physical movements, interacting, social activities, recreation etc. are also important components for moulding good career. For the poor parents who can not afford such expenses, the private tuition is a big curse. Many poor students are desperate and demoralized.Quality education can be brought about by a long term process with sincere involvement of students, parents, teachers, government and private administrators. At present, the use of unfair means in examination is almost successfully controlled and prevented. It is a positive outcome in the process of bringing in quality education. Thanks to certain groups for their noble initiative. However, we can not be complacent only in streamlining examination conduct. Teaching process, right from nursery stage, needs to be monitored as a long term policy.The Manipur Education Code adopted in 1985 has become obsolete and is not suitable to the changed educational spectrum of this state. The lack of a suitable, coherent and up-to-date education policy is responsible for increasing immorality and criminality in the society. It has led to rampant corruption and nepotism in education sector. All private schools and educational institutions need to be brought under control and the government has to fix their School fees, Admission fees, and the salaries of teachers` etc. The SCERT is required to be upgraded and assigned academic exercises, by putting academic and intellectual personalities as its head. Taking into account the deteriorating education scenario, it is high time the government adopted and implemented a concrete, up-dated and suitable education policy of the state.


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