The Bold Voice of J&K

Ban on private tuitions a challenge, opportunity for teachers

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Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary

Banning private tuitions / coaching by Govt teachers may not do wonders but it is one among much needed structural reforms for recovering our education system. Next could be relieving them from duties like that of Booth Level Officer, Election Staff, Census Duty, SSA-Mid Day Meal, school and toilet constructions and so on which are a great detriment to quality education. Teacher training with continued skill upgradation and capability building needs to be added. Further, permission could be accorded through a devised mechanism for allowing private tuitions during vacations where such special arrangements are not made by government. The “permission” clause in the order banning private assignments makes a case for regulated permissions.
In J and K, as per 1981 Census population of 43.91 lakh out of 59.87 lakh was illiterate representing 63.71 per cent Male Illiterates and 73.33 per cent Female Illiterates. There were only 6,200 graduates in state. In that generation we find eminent doctors, researchers, civil servants, journalists, leaders, writers, teachers, artists and so on. In next two decades literacy increased from 26.66 per cent to 55.50 per cent. Between 2001 to 2011 it rose to 77.12 per cent with a quantum jump of 22 per cent and projected estimates of 2016 have the literacy of State pegged at nearly 84.5 per cent.
This literacy has not been translated into education or employable education which is a serious cause of concern. The official definition of literacy since 1991 is “the total percentage of the population of an area at a particular time aged seven years or above who can read and write with understanding”- which doesn’t entail a bare minimum educational qualification. The statistics beyond this are disturbing. There are only 8.5 per cent graduates in India and several reports suggest nearly 60 per cent of them are not fit for hiring. The demographic dividend at the turn of century when 65 per cent of population between age 15-35 years was seen as country’s strength could not be harnessed in that quantum prompting the governments to lay special focus on skill development and employability.
We still find several graduates, post-graduates and professional degree holders appearing for posts notified for Matriculates under Class IV or contractual categorisations. It is not that suitable opportunities are not available for them but lack of capabilities, professional competence and job-worthiness. Even for one post of Class IV hundreds of applications are received from Graduates and PGs. J and K is among states having highest government employment at nearly 5 per cent and beyond that it can’t be sole employment provider rather the educated graduates would have to explore avenue to become job-providers instead of job-seekers.
Translating literacy into education and education into employability is the serious most challenge which educationists, teachers, administrators and stakeholders face today. We have almost reached the threshold of producing a whole lot of educated population not fit for hiring. At national level J and K has not been able to surpass the magic figure of even 1 per cent either in Civil Services Examination, IIT, JEE, NEET or other competitive examinations conducted by Commissions and Boards every year, when all these competitions constitute a very little of overall employment opportunities.
Education, Employability, Social and Cultural values are core of learning system which can’t be left on commercial lines to tread for emerging situation of haves and have-nots. The per capita investment in government schools is much more than private schools which needs to be converted into desirable results. Teachers are well known as nation builders but the instant challenge for them is to rise to the occasion of self-less service to the future of India while endeavours continue to upgrade educational infrastructure and human resource management.
(The author is an IAS officer of J and K Cadre. Views personal).

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