Modern School Education: System, Problem and Solution.

By Bupinder Singh ‘Fidoic’

 

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”– G. K. Chesterton

Literally, Education means the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution. Politically it’s a Fundamental right provided to us by our Constitution. Economically, it is one of the most flourishing businesses with low investment and high return and with an ever increasing market. It is an enterprise; a public and private sector enterprise.

We have seen government trying its best to enhance the quality of government schools. A number of steps have been taken and several of them have been successful. Despite all the planning and money spent, the quality of education has declined over the years.
Highly qualified staff has been selected through rigorous examinations and interviews. Capable and honest officers see to it that the schools function properly. Despite these the quality is validly low. There ought to be a mole somewhere?

Let us examine a few of these policies meant to improve the government school.
Mid-Day Meals. It is an attempt to increase the attendance and admission intake of the schools by luring in the poor people by providing free-meals as bait. Though it is a nice and effective initiative and serves its purpose it has no other role in education system. A good deal of money is involved in the scheme which leads to several scams, some big and some small. Fake admission and attendance records have been maintained by a number of schools to extort money from the government scheme.
NO-failure up to class 8th:– One of the main culprit schemes of government schools. Every student up to Class 8th is given a pink-slip into the next class, no matter what. Whether he comes to school or not, whether he studies or not, whether he is capable enough or not, if his details are existent on the school register, no matter fake, he is bound to pass under this scheme. The scheme is a trick of government to increase on papers the literacy rate of the state. The main problem with this scheme is if you know u can do a thing in easier way why would you try the harder way.
Parameters of Quality:– You measure a fish by its ability to fly. It will fail. The government schools emphasise on such hollow parameters which instead of vouching for the quality become its main hindrance. A teacher is bound to reach on time, he has to make a teacher’s diary and lesson plans, he has to leave the school on time and he has to complete the syllabus on time. Now this seems good.
A teacher is not accountable for what he does in the school, he just has to come and leave on time, rest of the time he can kill the time. Lesson plans and diary are a way to convince the officials that they come prepared and that the course work is running as per schedule. Nobody knows if they are genuine or fake.
To ensure this the government has a power to stop the pay of the teacher who has poor results. This is somewhat better. Witty, isn’t it. No student fails as a policy and therefore every teacher have a 100% pass percentage of his students. Wow! And as far as Board Examinations (8th) are concerned it is a big Hoax. Corruption is a boon! A necessary evil.
Carter G. Woodson once said “For me, education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”

The System

To run this defunct educational process an efficient system is already in place. A primary/middle school is looked after by a Headmaster. A number of middle schools form a cluster which further associate under a higher-secondary school as its cluster head. All these schools in a Zone are directly under Zonal Education officer. All the zones of a District report to a Chief Education Officer who intern is answerable directly to Director Education. Honesty at its core the system works properly. Pun intended.
So everything is summed up when we compare a government school student with a student from a primary school.
Talking of Government Schools, on an average 95% of class 8th students cannot comprehend a paragraph of English and are unable to solve the basic numeracy question. They have poor scientific and general knowledge. Most of them are not even able to understand and converse in Urdu.
With recent news of a teacher who was not able to formulate an essay on COW and their leave application gone all wrong, only a minor fraction of teachers are unworthy of being a teacher. More than 93% of teacher recruited in past 10 years are highly educated and have a strong hold on their respective subjects. The general line teachers are capable enough to teach any subject up to class 8th. So where does the problem lie?

Analyzing the problem.

“Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” says G. M. Trevelyan.
Education is a give and take business. A student is a product of hard-work of not just the teacher but also the parent. It’s a 60-40 game with 60% development at home and 40% at school. Why do you think a student of private school performs better than a government one? To put it simply a private school student’s parent pays 5000-12000% more fee than a government school teacher, he is more actively involved with the progress of the student, he forces his ward to study at home, he even gets him tutored at a coaching centre, he gets him new and clean clothes, he visits the school at PTM’s and the list goes on and on. Not even one of this is met by the parents of a government school student’s parent.

Second and more importantly a flawed evaluation system for both students and teacher can bring good results. To understand this we have to go with an example and prove this by the contradictory theory.

Our evaluation system is based on either unit-term examination system or continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) system. Ask a teacher about CCE and he will only be able to give its full-form and a faint and quaint idea of it. Both the systems in a government school are on papers. A student who knows nothing about basic numeracy passes with high marks in maths. Same goes for other subjects. There are a few reasons for this. First a fake examination held, with every student getting pass marks without even appearing in the exams. Second, even if the examination is held, it is just a formality to make students fear and think that there in reality exists a system of education at a building they call school. Thirdly, a teacher who fears about his pay being held because of poor results is willing to pay to get his students through the 8th boards. Lastly and most importantly, lack of accountability.
A teacher sets the examination question paper according to what he has taught, giving full regards to the prescribed formats or syllabus, then he helps the students to secure pass marks and at the end of it he checks the paper to ensure that every student of his class has passed with at-least 60% or more. Now this is something worth checking, isn’t it?

Inadequate buildings and infrastructure. Most of the government school have building with just a few rooms and as a result the classes are shared with more than two classes sitting in a single room causing continuous disturbance to one another. Students sit on mats in 80% of middle schools.

The Solution.

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon” were the words of E.M.Forster

After careful analysis and research the solution to this highly flawed and quality ridden education system comes out that a complex and a completely new framework be made.

Parent-teacher interactions have to be increased. The best possible way is to send the ward home to bring his parent every once in a while where student’s assessment can be given to them. Government aided psychological session for orientation of parents should be held with collaboration with Panchayats.

Corruption cells within the department should be made. What can be done should be done without money and what cannot be done should not be done with money.

A shift from syllabus-oriented teaching to learning-oriented teaching is must. New syllabus be formulated based on learning of students, with a freedom provided to the teacher to practice the best suitable method he deems appropriate. A time bound but flexible leaning objective needs to take over the rigid sheet of syllabus provided at the start of the session. This is a small duration method to reform the teaching system. Once the results are obtained the changes can be rolled back with the following changes.

A new evaluation system should be enforced where all the examinations for all the classes are held externally. A question paper set and evaluated by the Board, based on the format and syllabus provided by the examination authority for all the unit and term examinations. By externally we can mean an outsourcing private agency. If a teacher has to teach for someone else to check his progress he would not compromise on the quality. A third-party evaluation system can work wonders provided they are not also corrupt and malice.

Building and infrastructure upgrade where every class has a separate room. Mats will do for the moment.

A Model School: A dream.

This school has about 13 teachers and around 100 students. Adequate number of classrooms where every class is in a separate room and teacher can teach without disturbance. More importance is given to practical learning. The teachers are not bound to complete the lesson in a said duration but the headmaster needs the student not to learn the question and answers but to understand the lesson so that he can himself solve the questions. Once a month parents come to check the progress of their children. No fake admissions or attendance are kept and mid-day meal is served in the best possible way. At the end of the said duration an external agency comes to evaluate the progress of the school and examinations are held which not only evaluate the student but also the teacher. Remedial classes are held if needed. Infrastructure is adequate and the students are competent with their peers from private schools.

A lot of mud-slinging has been done with the government teachers, who are thrown, blindfolded and hands tied behind their backs, into a dark room and are told to find a way out by bumping their heads into the walls. The system if changed or even if instated with strictness, government teacher can prove to be the most important asset to the state and community. As always said Teachers are the builders of the nation, but what can a builder do without an architect, labour and raw-material.

@fidoic

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(India) law for safety of women- a joke!

I would like to start with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

Strengthening legal provision will no doubt ensure safety of women in our country but it is not the only way to do so. Well, when we talk about the laws and constitution of our country, we all know how well-defined, well-framed and well-prosecuted they are.
In case of women safety, Article 375 and article 376 also known as the ‘rape laws’, has several loopholes. Talking about a few problematic things in the law, we first of all don’t have a well-defined definition of RAPE in it, secondly the law does not takes into account acts of forced oral sexual intercourse, sodomy and penetration by foreign objects, the third thing is that no defined penalty or punishment is mentioned in it.
The other laws are IPC section 498A, section 406 and section 304B which deal with martial abuse, dowry and other marriage related problems, and every now and then breaches are seen in these laws too.
Aristotle once said,

‘At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst’.

Now the thing is will strengthening laws and defining punishments lead to women safety. Aren’t there strict and implementable laws against murder, but do they keep people from murdering? Can laws change the mental and psychological build-up of somebody?
We all are aware of the rising crime rate of India, and of our state. The involvement of law-makers in breaking the law, the religious preacher like Aasaram Bapu and Gulzar peer, the ever-increasing frustration and depression of youth leading to drug abuse and then to crimes, all serve the example of how law and order is ensuring safety. The un-timely and biased law implementation, the loopholes of IPC and constitutions only ensure the safeguard of such criminals and nothing more.
What we need is sound mentality, empowered and employed youth. After an analysis of the youth of India and by interacting with the students of several colleges what was found is that, “unemployed educated people, low-earning husbands and drug addicted rich people seem to be at the heart of the crimes against women.”
The root cause is unemployment and drug abuse, which leads to utter depression and in-turn crimes, both in general and against women.
So what we have to do is instead of strengthening laws or better to say in addition to strengthening laws, we have to eliminate the reasons to do crime, the root causes of crime.
At last I would just like to quote, Hunter S. Thompson

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves the only final sin is stupidity.”

Turban “The Pride of Sikhs”

“My Turban is my Grace and pride
This is my Life, may it never ever be stained”

The priceless crown on the head of a Sikh, bestowed by his guru is a unique identity. At the age of 8 when a child sits before guru Granth Sahib Ji in the presence of a congregation, after the Ardas and Hukamnama, a respectable elderly person decorates his head with a holy turban, this is the sign of the maturity of this young child, who from now-on promises to live a life of a Sikh. This is the sign of responsibility which is bestowed to every Sikh by the Guru’s grace.
The founder of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad Sahib, used to present a Dastar to a chosen Muslim, who, after a test was adjudged to be just and religious. “A Sikh should be perfect in shape and Sroop with a turban on his head, Uncut Hair, and the Five Kakars.” This is the commandment to Sikhs. A head beautified with a turban makes a Sikh identified even in lakhs. A man in shambles, deteriorated and of haggard looks seems to be far removed from Sikhism.
A turban cannot be placed on the head like a hat, neither it is wrapped on the head but is elegantly pleated like a decorative form and tied on the head. A Sikh looks attractive only with a Turban.
It’s said in Punjabi
”Ek-Ek Lad aasi Soch Soch baniye,
poley poley hathan nal Koch Koch baniye”

A turban makes him distinguished, he is not hidden, and why should he be? If one changes his form get his hair cut, and trims his beard and thus makes a false show of being a Sikh, he needs to hide himself. A Turban is a distinctive mark.
A turban raises the stature of a person. And Sikhs surely are of high stature, not only due to their Turban, but also in conduct and steadfastness in their saying and doing. A man of balanced mind and harmonious thinking, a Sikh always keeps up the dignity of his turban. He does not do anything which should blemish his image or tarnish the image of his turban or dare anyone to pull his turban n down. In many countries the courts even today accept the evidence of a Sikh with a turban, to be true, without any pledge and swear. A Sikh believes that “the truth is high, but higher is the truthful living.” A Sikh keeps his dictum.
The turban signifies everlasting quality of truth and shuns falsehood and fraud. Indeed a turbaned head bows, but only in front of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, to the wish-fulfilling of the Sadh Sangat. A Sikhs turban safeguards his prestige but never embodied ego in him.
A Sikh never pulls down another man’s turban nor he allows anybody touch his own. He seeks well for all. He is the custodian of his as well as the turban of weak and poor.
A sikh women And men In US armyThe Sikhs are known for their righteousness. The turban headed are for sure the only in true form as they are sent to the earth by the almighty, no modification, no alteration.
The Sikhism being a new religion has been recognized throughout the world for its unique identity, its high character, faithfulness and righteousness.
The turbans were initially banned in some countries in the name of security, after the terror attack on US 7/11 2001. But even they have now recognized the truthfulness and righteousness of Sikhs. Recently a Sikh Tejdeep Singh was appointed Capt in US army, and it proved a gateway for several others. Now even Sikh women wearing turban have been appointed in US army.
Turban is a gift from our Guru, keep it safe and protect it. Show the world that we are proud of wearing this crown on our heads, and we truly are worthy of it.

MODERN EDUCATION SYSTEM. THE PRO’S AND CON’S.

“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”– G. K. Chesterton

Education is the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution. The earliest educational processes involved sharing information about gathering food and providing shelter; making weapons and other tools; learning language; and acquiring the values, behaviour, and religious rites or practices of a given culture. Before the invention of reading and writing, people lived in an environment in which they struggled to survive against natural forces, animals, and other humans. To survive, preliterate people developed skills that grew into cultural and educational patterns.

Education developed from the human struggle for survival and enlightenment. It may be formal or informal. Informal education refers to the general social process by which human beings acquire the knowledge and skills needed to function in their culture. Formal education refers to the process by which teachers instruct students in courses of study within institutions.

Talking of the modern day education, one feels proud; of saying yes I am an educated person. Formally or informally all of us are educated. Education is the equipping with knowledge. The overall development of mind, body and soul is the real education.

Carter G. Woodson once said “For me, education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”

THE PRO’S

Modern day education is aided with a variety of technology, computers, projectors, internet, and many more. Diverse knowledge is being spread among the people. Everything that can be simplified has been made simpler. Science has explored every aspect of life. There is much to learn and more to assimilate. Internet provides abysmal knowledge. There is no end to it. One can learn everything he wishes to. Every topic has developed into a subject.

New inventions and discoveries have revealed the unknown world to us more variedly. Once a new aspect is discovered, hundreds of heads start babbling over it, and you get a dogma from hearsay. Not only our planet but the whole universe has become accessible.

Now we have good and learned teachers to impart us with knowledge of what they know. Every one is a master in his field. We and our children are getting taught by professionals of their field. Presently our education is based on making us the best in our area of interest, to help us reach our goals more easily. More of the fact based knowledge is being grasped by us. What we learn helps us in our career and in our profession. Professionalism is deep-rooted in our society now and this education makes us so.

Skill-development and vocational education has added a new feather to the modern system of education. There is something to learn for everyone. Even an infant these days goes to a kindergarten. And a little grown, mentally and physically is promoted to a Montessori. Everything is being categorized, be it a primary, middle, a higher secondary or graduate school. We have temples of education known by a familiar word the “university”.

Whatsoever we are getting educated day by day and what’s good about is that it’s a never-ending process.

Rightly said by Aristotle, “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refugee in adversity.” is what everybody feels now.

THE CON’S

Well, that was the positive side, but every story has two telling. Of all the virtue, our education system has developed into mere schooling now. New trends are being developed which are far more a baloney that boon.

Albert Einstein once said “Education is that which remains, if one has forgotten everything one learned in school.”

Firstly our education is confined to schools and colleges. It has become a process of spoon feeding. “Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon” were the words of E.M.Forster. We are being fed with facts and knowledge. Not art, not books, but life itself is the true basis of teaching and learning. Cramming of facts and dates, hi-fi mathematical formulas, theories and doctrines should be at college levels when one has chosen his area of interest. What will the history pay a doctor or a mathematician, or medical terms to a historian?

Secondly, an art can only be learned from a workshop of those who are earning their bread from it. Modern education has spread more ignorance than knowledge. Most of the women even don’t know, where, the fabric they are wearing, came from. The word “How” is missing in our world which causes ignorance.

“Education…has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” says G. M. Trevelyan.

Thirdly all education is bad which is not self-education. Presently, children after school are sent to tuitions. This is a clear question mark on the ability of school teacher. Homework tutorials are mushrooming up in our society. Students are thought of like they can’t do anything on their own and so are sent even to do the homework. Our schoolings got a lot of loop-holes. They guide us through a well catered pathway which finally leads to professionalism. Homework is a waste of time, if it is to repeat class work done today or to be repeated as class work to be done tomorrow.

Our schooling does not leave us with time to get educated. Mark Twain once said that” I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”. Our child’s normal routine has become to wake up early, brush up their minds with light reading, go to school, then go to tuition and finally come home and do the homework.

Finally our education is producing machines out of pupil. They read books, they speak books and they do books. Discussing in class lead to complications, which remains as confusions for a life time if left untreated. Vladimir Nabokov, a U.S critic, poet and novelist says “Discussion in class, which means letting twenty young blockheads and two cocky neurotics discuss something that neither their teacher nor they know.”

So, it’s a matter of debate that our education system is fallacious or fair.