Wither Education? This has a certain urgency to it that cannot be denied especially upon reading the news report yesterday wherein Members of the Legislative Assembly have raised grave questions to the Education Minister. Without doubt there has been a greater interest in education and its status thereof in the last 2 years with the attention peaking on the condition of the teaching community, regularization, salaries with a little focus on training towards the fag end of the these two years. As highlighted earlier on the small step initiatives have no doubt been the make-up applied on another wise drab landscape.
The drive to ensure that every child enjoys the right to education has ensured the opening of many schools and with the SSA in place ensuring that teachers are available to man the classrooms. Yet despite the high focus drive how is it that schools are closing down? It is not an easy question to answer. The anguish of the fact that only 39 schools function currently out of the original 126 schools that were operational in a particular constituency cannot be brought out inwards. The reason stated for this was ‘clubbing of schools’. In my humble opinion we are staring at a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Is it the clubbing of schools that shut schools or did low student strength in the school make it economically unviable to run it in the first place or is it the low quality of education and infrastructure tattled to low student strength with children preferring to travel distances to private schools that led to shutting shop for these schools?
On the other hand, there is also the constituency wherein schools have not been clubbed as claimed by the representative of the people of that constituency who has also gone on record to state that the Constituency Development Fund has been used to build the infrastructure (or is it repair/maintain the existing infrastructure?)as well as built a separate toilet facility for girls using the Constituency Development Fund. If the case is indeed such, it is a good development. However, let me hasten to add that the people or the constituency has not been done a favour if indeed this is so. After all, people elect representatives so that their constituency can progress. Using of allotted funds for developing the constituency is on-negotiable. Rather the question that arises is what is the status of the Constituency Development Funds and its use in the various constituencies especially in for the development of educational facilities and infrastructure. In one of my earlier pieces, I had exhorted the encouraging people of the area to involve themselves so as to enable infrastructure building, and repair as also involving students in the day to day maintenance. Despite having access to Constituency Development Funds and other routes to ensure that schools not fall apart, going by the tone, tenor and exchanges among the august gathering of elected representatives it is clear that there is a sheer lack of will to take onus even at the grass root level for any action with the refrain of ‘Government must do this, that or the other’ constantly ringing in the air.
This refrain is not restricted only to the elected representatives. The man on the street is equally vocal about what the Government has to do. This raucous screaming of ‘wanting’ has over the decades drowned out that noble quality of ‘giving’ or ‘doing’. That’s Not My Job !!!
You have probably heard this story before. At the cost of repetition, let me share it. This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and everybody was sure that somebody would do it. Anybody could have done but nobody did it. Somebody go angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
If we want to create the life and success for our children, we surely do not want to be like Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. One wise crack wrote to me what is it that I am doing to bring about change for our children. My answer was a very simple one. Until such time, the Almighty blesses me with the privilege of not having to work for aliving, I share my wealth of experience through my writing so that it may reach far and wide and provoke the large body of the teaching community and other stakeholders on the road of self-improvement andself-learning. Initially, the response was Luke warm. Nonetheless, the concept of being true to the self and taking personal responsibility for taking action kept the momentum going despite the fact that taking action also involves running the risk of failure.
On the one hand there is the gloomy trend of our economy witnessing a decline in average growth from 5.8% in 2005-10 to 4.5% in 2010-15 and over the 2005-15 year period all three sectors agriculture, manufacturing and services witnessed a marginal decline in growth rate. Services is the largest component of the economy with 53%followed by manufacturing at 25%. The education sector understandably feeds these two. The worry is if the education sector is neglected and everybody reduced to playing the role of Nobody, what is the future?Wither education?
- A writer, thinker, published author, and an educationist, Dr. Farooq Ahmad Wasil, is GLOBAL HEAD low cost schools, GEMS Education, Dubai, UAE. He has over 3 decades of experience in the field of education – setting up, operating and managing schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org