Modern School Education: System, Problem and Solution.

By Bupinder Singh ‘Fidoic’

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“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?

Analysis 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

Kashmir Floods : First Response to Deluge.

High and loud, exactly a year ago, the flood knocked at a sleeping Srinagar city, with all its might. 6th of September the last year made us realise how much of competent we were to deal with a natural disaster like this. With the black-out of communication lines and paralysing of Government Machinery the hope for a quick relief and rehabilitation was diluted.
In Kashmir Floods It was the citizens of Kashmir, the youth, with their undefeatable courage and unsurpassable will-power who despite all odds stood as a primary force of response in the time of deluge. The handful of micro-minority was the first to respond to it.

As a matter of fact the response of Sikhs was a pro-active rather than reactive. It was a three-tier effort. Rescue, Relief, Rehabilitate.
They, even before the invasion of water, stepped into the locality of Mehjur Nagar and Aluchi Bagh and helped people evacuate and shift their belonging to upper and safer storey of their houses. 

As the Srinagar city lay drowned underwater and people struck in their houses it was a handful of Sikh youth of Rangratte village that proved instrumental in bringing out truck-loads of people from the banks of Mehjur-Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Tulsi Bagh and the vicinity of Rambagh and Chanapora.(including a team of students stranded at Indoor Stadium) They made boats of foam and empty tin-barrels to rescue people on their own.
As a primary relief centre the gates of Shaheed-Bunga Gurudwara at Baghat Barzulla, were thrown open. The grim night brought thousands of sobs and cries along with the tales of adversity of those who were rescued.

More and more homeless and water-stricken people poured into the Gurudawara camp; irrespective of religion. Even the sanctum-sanctorum, the main hall of Gurudawara was opened for the flood victims. Thousands of people were stranded at the Gurudawara for the first two weeks. For the first two weeks around 2800kg of rice was being served per day excluding vegetables and pulses to supplement it. The camp continued to serve the people for around three months.People were served meals three times a day after which they went to their relatives for shelter. 14 trucks of bottled-water were brought in from Jammu and Punjab and distributed.

Primary kits of survival (including water, biscuits, baby food, packets of chappatis and lentil) were then packed and sent home to home. The untrained youth risked their lives distributing these kits in neck-deep water. They would take big steel drums and syntax water-tankis full of these kits, and pull them afloat on water and distribute the same to people who were still at homes. 

The Gurudawara also served as the biggest medical camp in the time of deluge. More than 30000 patients were recorded to enlist for treatment, vaccination and other medical facilities. The Gurudwara also started Mobile medical camps at Bemina, Tengpura, Lasjan, Hyderpora and several other places. The camp also sent out medicines to various camps and even hospitals when they needed it the most. Medicines worth millions of rupees were distributed with proper prescription by in-camp doctors. Insulin and other diabetic medicines were the major drugs among them.

SGPC, DGPC and several other Sikh organisation including Khalsa Aid, Sikh Relief, United Sikhs distributed more than 30000 family starting kits(including clothes, blankets, ration for a month and other important items). Hundreds of trucks of relief material were sent in from Punjab and Delhi Sikhs to help the victims at the gory time. After the water receded they went home to home, irrespective of religion, to distribute these kits. Several truck-loads of material were handed over to speratist as well as mainstream political leaders for distribution among the people of the state. likewise material was alsonprovided tonseveral NGO’s and Mosques serving as relief camps.

Post flood, the youth did not stopped, they become instrumental in rehabilitation and went into the water to fetch out the dead bodies of 14 deceased people from the city areas of Jawahar Nagar and Rajbagh, which were cremated with due legal formalities, and some were handed over to police.

The handful of micro-minority proved highly effective and provided the much needed relief and rehabilitation to an enormously huge mob. They took complete strangers to their homes for shelter and food. In the times when nears and dears were equally effected they indiscriminatingly lend out help to the first soul that came across.
It was their unbiased and self-less response to the deluge which went un-praised and unsung at the time of commemorating the Heroes of flood. Let us thank the community with this article and celebrate their participation in the time of adversity; the time of September 2014 Floods in kashmir.

@fidoic

Abstract Noise.

In this abstract noise,
where each and every voice, comes from distinct source,
Filled with joy or remorse, 
one among them is mine,
not inseparable from thine,
I am trying to find myself,
In this dark mist of time,
quagmire of felling chime,
holy disdains regime,
and I am trying to tune my rhyme,

Girls Vs Boys Reaction to a Breakup.

“That’s it! it’s not working anymore! We should break-up now”. She said and then sipped the remaining mocha-chino from her cup.

He was searching for an answer. They have been through this conversation almost a dozen times. Now he was really tired of this relationship. It’s been 2 years. He had tried a lot to make it work. He has sacrificed a lot. He has crossed all his limits. And he loved her more than anything.

A boy loves with all his heart. A girl loves with her brain. A boy will love the girl without knowing her, her family, her tastes, her likes, her dislikes and then try to fit into her image of a good boyfriend/husband. A girl also starts to love without knowing anything, but then rest of the relationship she tries to modify or reshape the boys interest, his style, his likes, his dislike, his passions and even his way of thinking.

For a boy it’s, “if you are with me I’ll do anything for you”. But for a girl it’s “if you do this, this and this, for me than I will ‘think’ about you”. A boy will convince his family, his friends and relatives for her. But a girl will not do the same and instead say, how can I.

A girl needs a secure future, a stable monthly income, a good house, a good car, a high-profile school for her children. And that too when she is 23 and the boy is 24. She won’t allow the boy some time to earn and settle down. She wants it now and once for all.

“Ok”, he said and went up to the billing corner, paid off the bill and left her sitting alone.

She knew he will call him after an hour and apologize and say “baby, give me some time, I know it’s my fault, I am looking for a better job and will soon be earning good. And I have talked with my dad we will soon be selling off the land in village and build a home in town, and baby I know you are doing this for us. You just stay with me I’ll do whatever you say.”

……………

And the chutzpa (foolishness) continues until she eventually will stop receiving his calls and settle down with a wealthy, good guy.

©fidoic

Mirrors

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Some broken pieces – mirror –

Reflect differently – each one – a piece –

They dare- reveal – ransack – restore –

A different me – each time –

Some cry /some gag /some smile

Some blank /some hollow /some shallow

Deep under- they- lie – about themself-

They repeat /they pretend /they cheat

They portend /they copy/ then they fake

Deep under- they lie- like me- like me

Apple Tree and Me!

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Apples!

                 Pic by Younis Bhat.

Standing tall stocked with red apples,
He earns more than i do.
A kilo of these is my hour’s wage.
A quarter of it my month’s income.

I despise and grow jealous,
Standing still and lazy,
He does what i cant despite
My locomotive and artistic ability.

At 25 he is more independent
And rooted than i can ever be
His vacations are more festooned
And longer than i can ever have

He’s got more friends, the birds
The ants, the bees who sing to him
Vistors form distant lands migrate
Every season to meet him..

He’s socially more responsible
He amends for what i ruin
He reduces carbon imprints
And sucks in pollution

He’s more Famous than me,
He got clients in distant lands
And is talked-of in elite societies.
He’s got relatives all over the world.

The son of a seed!
Brute! Standing still
Outruns me in every field
When he even can’t walk.