Teachers Being Made Easy Targets
Education is the key to any state’s success. Human potential is the cornerstone of every society’s advancement. No country can reduce the gap between the rich and poor without providing those who are not positioned appropriately with an equal playing field. For the overall growth of the country as well as for Bihar, which accounts for over ten percent of the country’s population, the ability to deliver quality education is very important.
The constraint of Bihar’s education system is at the end of the rope, with almost all indicators indicating declining trends from primary to tertiary and being unable to compete with the national average. When it comes to leveraging the potential of the younger generations, the reality is that Bihar is on the brink of a ‘demographic disaster’, thus allowing for its own ‘demographic dividend’.
Bihar is home to around 12.8 crore people and has an impressive population growth rate, so improving its education system should be a matter of national concern. Despite heavy criticism from all sections in recent years due to cheating scandals, the state government increased budgetary allocations on education by 8% from the previous fiscal year. Bihar has allocated 19% of total expenditure for education in 2021 – 22, i.e. highest percentage of Rs 38,035.93 crore for the education sector in the state.
Reasons why government educational institutions failed in Bihar
A systemic failure is evident by failing to meet indicators such as the pupil-teacher ratio, the quality of teaching, the infrastructure, and the lack of regular classes in schools. As far as state education is concerned, it appears to be on life support, and the government is only trying to save face by burdening the public budget.
According to RTE, the ratio of students to teachers should be 30:1. However, the administration is ignoring the fact and sending them to duties regardless of their profession.
How Many Non – Teaching Jobs will the Government give to the Teachers?
The Right to Education clearly stipulates that teachers are not supposed to perform any non-teaching duties, with a few exceptions, such as those related to election duty and disaster relief work.
Recently, Bihar government has instructed teachers of government schools to keep an eye on consumption of liquor, manufacturing units, smuggling and provide information to the officials on toll-free number.
Among the duties we have are keeping the voting rolls up-to-date, distributing midday meals, and distributing bicycles and school uniforms, all part of the government’s welfare programs for the benefit of the children. There are also cases when teachers are deputed into various offices for tabulation work. Now teachers are being asked to look for liquor in the offices. When will the teachers have time to teach in the classrooms?
Additionally, the Administrative Officers, such as DDOs, DSs, and SDOs asks the education department to carry out a wide range of tasks, such as counting the census, animal counting, and other demographic-related tasks. During this COVID era, government school teachers were posted to COVID relief centers, isolation centers, and now they are assigned to vaccination centers.
Further, government school teachers are seen on traffic signals alongside the police watching to see if people follow COVID protocol, such as if they wear masks, and assist with paperwork. The police are assigned duty in almost every sector of society, regardless of the teacher’s degree or profession. And this has a huge impact on the education system.
What can be Done to Uplift Education System?
Governments need to develop short-medium-long term strategies to turn around the system and harness the energies of the young population. Line officers and Board officers must be trained and aligned with those strategies. It is essential that teachers are continuously trained in phase-wise manners during primary and tertiary levels. Government paid tutors should no longer be offered private tuitions. Computerization of all schools will benefit students in the future. A variety of extra-curricular activities should be incorporated into the school curriculum to expose students to different career choices and to develop their overall personality. Sports, life skills, career counseling and guidance should also be offered at schools.
We must use teachers’ efficiency and skills appropriately. Rather than sending them to other sectors for duty, use them and their intelligence for effective activities, such as awareness campaigns, plays, etc. Having this knowledge will make teachers happy to serve society in the right direction.
Putting in place all of these measures can not only supplement government efforts, but can also push the system forward and make school management committees more transparent and accountable. Quarterly teacher-parent meetings should also be instituted. All of these can become game changers.
As a result of the Nitish Kumar government’s efforts and the ‘cycle scheme,’ girls are now on equal footing with boys in almost all aspects of education. Education is the only proven tool that leads to change within a generation and opportunities for the state and its people . If the same government can construct roads and do well with electricity distribution in the state, it can also fix the education system. In the meantime, it will be difficult to avert a demographic catastrophe if the current trend continues.