I am about to write a rather clichéd post . We ( Husband & I ) are running around schools these days as these are admission days in Delhi . Our little one is ready to go to school , Big school as he calls it . Parents that is us are anxious to give him the best within our limited resources . And so we sorted , ranked , prioritized , made First preference lists & the whole jazz. We have to now wait and see when the schools put up their list if we have made it to our preferred schools . Although I am told that school admissions in Delhi are now far more sorted and transparent as compared to what they were earlier ,but I feel so much more needs to be done .Education is the fulcrum of all progress , of society , of nation building . Though the pay commission has brought uniformity in the salaries to be paid to teachers , but there is no uniformity in the fee structures of schools . Despite that , the facilities offered are not vastly different or the realty pricey , the school fees range from anywhere between 80K-2.5 Lacs p.a . This is for nursery . Plus for the likes of us , who cannot claim the benefit of any Quota , it is like a game of chance .
As an honest tax payer , I feel disillusioned and cheated with the systems . I cannot be assured of securing a seat in a school of my choice because it is a game of chance , despite not claiming any subsidies and paying my taxes dutifully . I cannot rely on the public transport if I have to get anywhere on time barring the metro . God forbid if I fall sick ,I would not walk into a government hospital given their state ….I do not go out after dark unaccompanied because safety & security is circumspect . Forget all that , I work in the Telecom sector . Given the pronouncements of the Courts on spectrum & the bungling of government (s) I am not even sure how secure my job is…I seriously wonder what is the point of paying taxes … But that is a post I will save for later …
If a school is sought after , the management feels no scruples in charging a premium . Increase in the remuneration of the staff is easily passed on to the parents who are burdened with even higher fees . It should ideally be a public-private enterprise & not just left to the machinations of missionary institutions /private trusts for whom it is a money-minting exercise . Education should ideally be a shared responsibility of the state & the people . All must have equal opportunity to education . It is high time that caste based quotas be done away to retain only Income based quotas . The current system of reservation engenders reverse discrimination towards those who can’t claim any . What is there to suggest that a low income General caste family is not as deserving of reservation as SC/ST/OBC . Besides why should reservation be availed by 3rd generation -4th generation SC/ST/OBCs who have already availed & enjoyed the benefits of reservation . Once you have availed & climbed the social ladder there is absolutely no case whatsoever for subsequent generations to claim special treatment . A well-off SC/ST/OBC merits only as much reservation as a General Caste applicant
The inequity between state run schools & private schools needs to be corrected . The state has to step in to ensure that Government schools & private unaided schools maintain more or less the same standards in imparting education . Government schools currently suffer from rampant teacher absenteeism & ramshackle infrastructure . These are issues that need to be fixed with ownership & accountability being brought to state –run schools . The staff of government schools should not be roped in for other activities like that of Census /Elections /Polio Abhiyaan etc . School teachers should be incentivized to upgrade their knowledge & skills & an appropriate environment should be created . Only then will we be able to attract & retain good talent in this sector . Currently very few take up school teaching as a profession of their own volition . Only those who are not able to become Engineers /Doctors look at teaching as an alternative . Primarily because teachers continue to be paid lowly and burdened with other non-academic pursuits . Academic excellence in educators should also be a non-negotiable requirement . The State investment in Education sector needs to go far beyond fiddling with textbook content .
Kudos to the Delhi government & the court for bringing in some transparency at least in the nursery admission processes . Fixing the form charges at Rs 25 ensures that the parents are not fleeced at least for filling forms . Had all schools accepted online forms , our task would have been simplified further ..So far so good , but we are a long way off from what our goals as a Nation should be ..