Monday, 19 May 2014

School Education in Tamil Nadu - Jeyamohan

What follows below is my summary in English of Jayamohan's essay -in Tamil - on Government education in schools.

Teachers unions rule the roost - there is no accountability in school education.

When Collector Nagarajan and Education Officer Radhakrishnan enforced discipline and accountabilty, Kanyakumari district jumped from 5th to 1st place in 10th exams in 2011-12 and 13th to 6th place in 12th exams.

Most teachers don't work, they demand coolies to come to after school tuition. Exceptions are astounding people of great character.

This year teachers protested about "Supervisor Dictatorship" because 3 School Principals were suspended. Next day, Govt Education department was surrounded by teachers unions.

Govt teacher jobs are obtained by bribes to ministers or officials. There is no sense of duty or honesty among most govt school teachers. Very rarely , and only very mildly, is a teacher punished.

In hills of Erode, the midday meal cooks ARE the teachers. A female teacher complains "I have a husband and children to look after. How can I teach?" !!

This year, the TN Govt held a teachers' evaluation test. Questions were of the quality of "What is the capital of India? What is 10+1?" Most teachers failed this test. After severe protests from teachers unions, question quality was reduced "Delhi is the capital of India, yes or no?". Now, 50% failed. Illiterate people would pass this easily.

After a case was filed in the Supreme Court, the Judges decided this quality was good enough & these mediocrities were re-appointed as teachers. I doubt these people have a read anything after the application form when they got their jobs.

Education department should fire these people and hire competent ones. These lousy teachers get better pay than most engineers. The only ones who suffer are those children who cannot afford a private education.

Jayamohan's essay ends there. Gopu's comments below:

Republican in the USA say a similar situation exists there. Democrats disagree and vocally support government funded education, but those who can, especially politicians and opinion makers, send their children to private schools. This has gone on for a long time. In the USA, schools and colleges in some cities have severe gang problems, drug issues, teenage pregnancies, alcoholism, etc. This is rare in India : hard physical labour, or medical expenses, or abusive parents are often the worst thing school children suffer. Most middle class children suffer from nasty school timings, and slave driver mothers, and lonely childhoods. Tyrant fathers were a thing until the 1990s, today it is TigerMoms - but Mothers are sacred in India, and most husbands too cowardly to fight the off the charts ambitions of their wives.

These are social issues, not quality of government related. But this is a general issue with government: too many people take jobs, not out of aptitude, but for a salary. 

On the plus side, the cellphone explosion, widespread internet, etc will help children learn what their teachers cant teach them. is one such thing, but I think children really need fewer schooling hours, less book learning, more practical engagement, and a simple engagement of their sense of curiosity and wonder. From Tagore to Mark Twain to Rajaji to JK Rowling, thoughtful people have said this, but they are outnumbered by the education industry.

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