School education in pink of health; Really!

VIEW POINT
Report by: 
LOKNATH PATRA
Port Blair
11 Sep 2017

With Schools, especially the ones run by the government, are showcasing great results in the 10th and 12th CBSE Board exams in the past couple of years. Each and every establishment, public or private, involved even remotely, is claiming kudos for the same. Let us lean back a bit, put on our thinking caps and wait for the light bulb moment to solve the conundrum: as who should be given credit for the success of our students.
Should the administration, who gives grants, makes available educational facilities in far flung villages, provide mid-day meals, appoint the right teachers and fulfil a gamut of needs to run a school get the credit? Aren’t they already claiming it by felicitating toppers in public programmes? Or should the coaching class brigade that have sprung up all over the islands like wild mushrooms should be anointed as the saviours. Aren’t they already claiming it though newspaper advertisements, billboards etc.? So who wins and who loses, or is it the Sholay coin syndrome? Or is there a friendly game or Noora Kushti like they say in the north of India?
Whispers have been floating for a long time how teachers of schools, who moonlight as instructors at the private coaching centres, urging the students at their schools craftily to join such private centres to gain great numbers in tests. Impressionable and hungry to score good marks and gain, the gullible students coax their parents for the extra money to join so and so coaching centre. Those who cannot afford the extra fees can be sure of their dark future. Those who cannot afford be damned! No country for the poor!
As responsible citizens of this great country and these naturally gifted islands, we must introspect about the state of our education system, for the sake of our children and our nation. News floats that teachers posted at Port Blair in government schools, just do not want to be transferred to schools at faraway islands or villages to teach. They try and mostly succeed (God knows how?) to stall their transfers posing one excuse after another (children studying here, husband/spouse working here, someone not well etc., etc.). Actually isn’t the moolah here in the city? The question is, shall we let the poor students in far away villages and towns suffer for our personal gains. If we have schools that are doing so well on paper, why do we need these coaching centres? Who are teachers at these centres? Are they better than our school teachers? Or are they….? When children should be going to play in a ground for physical wellbeing for the future are rushing from school to coaching classes to end a tired day bereft of any physical activity, and thus resorting to their phones and tablet computers to play games with their fingers.
Where has “Health is Wealth” gone? Are we not pushing our children a bit too much? As for our revered teachers, they have a pedestal higher than us parents in our culture from times immemorial -“Gurur Brahmaa, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwarah, Guru Saakshaata Parabrahma Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah.” Is it not time to delve into our inner selves for the sake of our children? After all there’s no prescribed benchmark for the teaching fraternity for improvement in quality.