by Kushagra Mittal
In today’s world, cities like Dehradun are neglected because most important media houses focus only on metropolitan cities. The social and educational issues in Dehradun remain unreported by most of the local and national newspapers; this is what drives the situation to a worse state. It has become an irony over the years that Dehradun has always been considered to be the educational capital of India. There was a time when people used migrate from all over India to Dehradun, for the sole reason of getting their children into the top schools of Dehradun, however, the sad truth is that, we have failed to live up to that status; slowly yet steadily, Dehradun is losing its charm.
An important issue that Uttrakhand has been facing lately is that, under the influence of neighboring states, schools in the state have been accepting donations to speed up the admission process. The school administrations have been keeping themselves safe behind the department of the enhancement of the infrastructure within and outside the school premises, but taking donations instead. Parents might start saving for their child’s education even before he is born. I wonder, does this entail world leave the parents to genuinely save up for the education of their children, or it finishes up the huge sums to bribe the school authorities in the name of donation.
It’s a bitter truth and a universal paradox that even though we have succeeded in upgrading our standard of living yet, we are strained to lose our morals. In spite of raging against the corruption all their lives, parents are compelled to bribe the school authority to ensure that their child’s future goes in absolutely safe hands. It’s ironic that at an instance, we look up to government system that is committed to serve for the people, making new laws, launching different schemes for every society to ensure the high standard of living and at the same time it has allegedly failed to raise the standard of the education system that is under its direct control.
The government school employees do not themselves put their child in the same school chain which they have been devoted to in their jobs at the farthest errand of the hilly state in order to serve to the children in the isolated area. They prefer educating their children from a private school that in turn has very smartly taken advantage of the common mindset of the people about the government schools, charge them heavily. They in fact, fail to understand that some way or the other, they (govt. school teachers) are directly responsible for the sub standard of the education in their respective states. I wonder how the conscience of the people who serve the government to educate the children of this holy land, marking themselves as the messenger of the goddess Saraswati allows them to bribe private schools for the admission of their children.
Education system of Uttarakhand is most affected by the changing mindsets of the common people, and craving of the private schools who have turned the holy practice of education into a corrupt filthy business for money. The other thing that drives my mind to this issue is that a very harsh law against the donation and interviews in school for the admission of the children has already been enforced by the government under the section 13(2) of the Right to Education Act. The act states that- no school or person while admitting a child can collect any capitation fee and subject the child or parents or guardians to any screening. Any school contravening the provision shall be punished with fine which might extend up to ten times the capitation fee charged. Unfortunately, it is a fact that government has failed to enforce the law congruously. In spite of having such a hard-hitting law against the donation practices at school, it still exists and prevails under the table, away from the public’s conscious eyes, marking its roots deep inside; this makes the issue tough, very tough indeed, but not impossible to pull it out and throw out the system.
In the rat race to get their child the best education available, parents stoop down to any level to get their child through the best of their known education institution and taking advantage of the helpless parents the schools charge them huge sums. A very reputed school at Dehradun had been in the headlines of the local newspapers lately for a quirky rise in the school fee. The parents alleged that the school authority does not have a bank account and demands the fee only in cash. They have been charging huge amounts for a long time. Parents of a class six student of Summer Valley accused the school of charging the fee as fifty thousand and showing the same as twenty thousand in the income tax return papers, the rest amount goes in black.
St. Joseph’s Academy,Another renowned school asked for huge sums as donation for the admission in kindergarten. It’s quite saddening how the schools and teachers have turned themselves into money making institutions, keeping the future of this young state and the country at stake. However, the school authorities are not the only ones to blame; the parents and commoners are responsible equally. It is a human tendency and bitter truth of the times that one takes advantage of the weak and it is absolutely wrong if you give it a push for your personal interests. People should not forget that the children they have been doing it all for, bribing to mold and shape the future, learn the same things from them. Apparently, we have some way or the other contributed to the bribery, keeping the future of our generations at stake. To my shock, in spite of knowing the wrongs we have been doing the same things time and again, because to us, vanity comes before anything else.
The truth is that getting procedures and systems right is a much harder task, requiring marshaling of resources to address shortcomings in the present systems. It’s high time and we put our hands together to save our young state before it drowns in a filthy tar of corruption. It’s time to save our education and culture. We have to fight against the odds and believe in our state education.The government school employees will have to open their eyes in time to encourage education.A complete generation is in their hands, and it should not feel neglected among the huge private schools.
Private schools will have to be checked for the corruption, to ensure the growth of the state and overall growth of the Dev Bhoomi. The legends of our culture like Dronacharya cannot be forgotten. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education’.
It’s high time indeed, and we have to pledge to give our mother state, the Dev Bhoomi, a restored glory.