September 30, 2020

Education, kismet and monkey business

Governor Satya Pal Malik recently said that the universities in Odisha are performing far better in all sectors than their counterparts in Bihar. Although there was much buzz about this comment, I believe that Mr Malik just gave us a glimpse of the obvious. Unfortunately, we don’t want to see all that is wrong with the education system in Bihar. For true Biharis, the hollow pride of thinking that most IAS officers are from the state is enough. They don’t care about the fact that most of these Bihari students complete their graduation from some other state.

In fact, it is noteworthy that Mr Malik, the chancellor of Bihar universities, has made this comment instead of trying to improve the current situation. In keeping with the endless false promises of good governance and better education, the Sushasan Babu Nitish Kumar has done little to bring Bihar to a more education friendly state. The issues related to the sector are various and varied. Let’s analyse the plight of the three principal stakeholders: students, teachers and parents.

Students are seemingly the worst-placed of all. Exams are often delayed. The BEd course is ridden with extreme corruption and irregularities. Student’s careers are jeopardised by the indifference of the authorities. The ruthless laziness which the students have been facing thanks to incompetent, disinterested teachers and not holding of examinations can only be defined as the worst mishandling of promising futures.

Then comes the hopelessness faced by the parents. First, they are often made to pay additional fees to private universities when their wards wait endlessly for exams in state universities. The rise of private universities in Bihar has a lot to do with the insufficient education provided by the state-run universities. It seems that there is some form of collusion between private university owners and authorities of the government universities in such a way that they drive the students to desperation and make them shell out money for exams in private universities. This can be called abetment to pay for private university exams. Second, it invariably makes Bihari parents believe that their wards are incompetent and something is seriously wrong with their own kismet: a major driving force for conducting exams and other related things!

The teachers suffer a great deal too. Those who get permanent jobs are unfailingly driven towards under-performance. The education system does not enforce any form of checks and balances to ensure a competent teaching force. The majority of teachers are working on contract and their frustration can be easily understood. As underpaid, overworked and insulted employees, how can we expect them to perform their duties with honesty?

The government promises investment in education sector, without explaining what it would do to improve the existing state of affairs. Education sector is indirectly related to many other important facets of the society. Employment is related to terrorism just like it is related to prostitution and other crimes. I am sure the brilliant chief minister of Bihar who is now in alliance with the country’s Pradhan Sewak understands these facets of society quite well. Under such circumstances, it becomes even more curious as to why the Sushasan Babu refuses to take the reigns of the education sector in his hands.

The public needs to understand that mismanagement of the education sector is not just due to sheer negligence. It is a well thought-out plan which is being adopted to ensure the backwardness of one of the most fertile places in the country. With the kind of revenues which could have been earned with the harvests in Bihar, the entire state could have enjoyed a developed social set-up. But Bihar can get better attention from the world as one of the poorest places in the country!

The central government uses the under-developed Bihar as an excuse to get funds for the ever-evasive ” vikas”. It is a different matter that these funds later get swindled by businessmen friends of the party in power. Bank fraud, in the last four years, has gone up to lakhs of crores of rupees! This is a historical achievement of the Modi government which claimed to curb corruption in all possible ways. As a sign of how useless university organisation is, around 25 monkeys recently entered the Kameshwar Singh Sanskrit University located in Darbhanga district and ransacked the office for around 30 minutes. Even monkeys know how little university papers matter!

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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