Privatization of education
By Umer Beigh
A buzzing classroom; around 120 students are inside. Once the teacher gets in, noises go off instantly. It seems all of them are desperate to escape. After a brief pause, teacher starts delivering his lecture.
From the last row of the students, it looks as he (teacher) is displaying gestures only, without a vocal voice. The teacher is almost 18 yards away from here, delivering the lecture. It is a hall turned into a class room.
A few students in back row look deceptive. They are trying hard to have a keen hearing and concentrate which seems difficult. This continues till the lecture is over.
Such issue of huge rush and inconvenience is not limited to this tuition center only, there are many such private tuition centers in the valley where same follows.
This is a coaching center in Hawal, where 400 students study Chemistry from Ishtiyaq Ahmed in 6 hours. This center is neither registered nor does the owner pay any tax over the bulk of money he receives as tuition fee.
Mohsin Ahmed, 18, student with lower middle class family back ground shows his disgrace. He says, “I never used to go to tuitions in the class 11or before, but what I found in Higher Secondary schools was different. Few teachers teach with interest but most of them would tell students to cop up from tuitions or visit their home in their own private tuition centers.”
“Teachers don’t show interest in teaching in the schools and seldom do they complete the syllabus…and you have an exam to pass. How can anybody take a risk in a matter as serious as career?” he questions.
After this Mohsin decided to join tuitions as he didn’t want himself getting fail in class 12. “I spend around 1500-1800 rupees per month on my tuitions which is often difficult to manage,” Mohsin adds.
In Kashmir it is said that people tend to follow one way direction at times. Same is with the education; modern methods might blend bad impact in it. Trends and fashion adding to its content perhaps dispose its actual meaning.
It is important to see that a thorough change is attempted without merely making cosmetic changes. Only then the education system can be revamped in the desired direction. But it has not happened so far.
“It has become a trend to go to these private tuition centers and nothing else. They (tuition centers) earn nearly 2-4 lacs monthly,” says Sajaad Ahmad, a government teacher.
He added, “These have become money earning centers and they are not interested in securing future and well being of students.”
This is not rare in Kashmir. There are hundreds of new coaching centers opened in the city in last two decades. Although, the literacy rate in Kashmir has increased from 55 per cent to 68 per cent as per the 2011 census.
According to Director Census Operation statistics, Kashmir province with total population 69.08 lakh is still lagging behind Jammu with population 53.50 lakh and with the exceptional 84 per cent literacy rate.
Srinagar city figures at sixth position of the table with 71.21 literacy rate. No doubt private institutions have helped in this regard but its drawback as it becomes mere profitable business venture with no social aim and objective.
The concept of coaching centers generated during the insurgency in 1990’s. Frequent strikes, indefinite curfews, masses remaining at home for days mushroomed private coaching centers as an alternative.
“Coaching centers are there all over the country to supplement a student with what has been already taught in the school,” acknowledges Muneer Misger a student of Islamia College, “But in the valley coaching center has become a school in itself,” he admits.
For past few years privatization of education seems a vague process. But now it looks it has went on to large lime light.
According to Fazl Rahman, retired teacher, who himself teaches at his own tuition center, says, “There are a few teachers available now who truly deserve appreciation rest all others are in an ease of earning. Give money they will teach you whether you will fail in the end or not that is secondary part.”
“I have been teaching throughout my life, but I tell you modern way of teaching is making them weak many ways,” he says.
Even if it is financially harsh on an individual still he/she opts for it. Perhaps in order to level up the standard education which the government has so far not been able to fulfill to the full extent.
However, students believe that until there is a change in the system of education, these centers will continue to shine and the curriculum of actual schooling will continue to lose its importance.