Mehraj Udin Ganaie
“Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great,” Niccolò Machiavelli. It is an immense pleasure to know the academic scholars are intensifying their concerns over the quality and value of education.
Investment in education is the most beautiful concept on earth raised by Javid Ahmad Ahanger in his article titled, “Of Education Crisis and Possible Solutions” published by Rising Kashmir on October 7, 2018. I won’t hesitate to say that we are unfortunate as we restricted this phrase for others not for ourselves.
It was great experience to read the author and his articulation on the situation in Jammu And Kashmir State and its education system. Investment in education needs little more clarification in-terms of its scope and responsible stakeholders (state, social organizations, intellectual people, teachers, parents, students, and self-claiming caretakers of state).
While, the author has very decently identified the loopholes in state administration with special reference to education system and has held political parties responsible at the grass root level.
Although author is agreeing to the fact that political parties are same all over the world, but missed to highlight the other responsible agents for failures and success stories. The important question is, are we really conscious and ready to develop our State and education system?
If yes, then we need to analyse the role and responsibility of every stakeholder in State not just shooting one of these. There are hundreds of examples around the world, to illuminate us with strategies of education development.
The only thing is we need to open our mind and embrace the change. This is very clear that the State is a system and need to work on change but at the same time the other stakeholders are very critical factors in maintaining and sustaining that change.
When we talk of development, it demands a condition of balanced approach from system, society and individuals. Even if one of the pillars is not sounding strong, we need to change the place of rest to confirm a balance.
At the failure of one party, non-involvement of rest cannot be justified like author has highlighted in his write-up, but in unidirectional approach. I am not in a mood to defend any of these stakeholders (political or non-political).
The matter of concern arises when multiple stakeholders are responsible for the failure of education system and we remain selective in highlighting a particular group.
Having world class infrastructure won’t solve our problem but yes a developmental mind-set will. Now the question is why do I reject the notion, the world has agreed upon. I need remind you that our system has been hampered by sudden cramps, which paralysed us at times technically and other times physically.
We wake up in the morning and find no mobile network and internet, what are we gonna do with the world class infrastructure.
While kids are getting ready for school and suddenly a message pops up from school, it’s off (no excuses)
I need not to tell you the stakeholders responsible for this.
Now coming back to the problems highlighted by author like corruption and improper deployment of bureaucrats at strategic positions in education system, and the challenges of academic liberty.
The author has articulated his views and came up with some possible solutions, like; establishment of hi-tech schools and colleges and enhance the monitoring system.
Development of education system, state and its people is only possible when people and the state both become socially conscious. Here the author was tried to remind the State Heads their responsibility towards State development and has relatively linked this with the education system.
Now the State Heads need to take a look at the dysfunctional avenues of the system and take immediate possible measures by utilising its best human intellectual capital available with them.
As we have witnessed very good examples of bureaucrats who have headed different departments and their work has been marvellous.
We also agree to the fact that it is not easy to run a state like Jammu Kashmir, but ignoring the basic and vital issues like corruption and relation based deployments of bureaucrats in important sectors like education and healthcare is not fair.
Education is believed to be one of the important sources of sustainable development, only when the real objectives of education being understood and implemented.
State has recently shown its concern over the value on education by suspending the recognition of some best private schools in the valley on the grounds that they charge huge fee, which otherwise is far less than many other institutions in the Valley.
And monitoring on one of the oldest educational trusts in Kashmir (FalaiAam Trust) and let me say the best alternative for poor children at time. At such interventions the public has raised their eyebrow over the developmental approach of the state towards education system.
We witnessed the great initiative of FalaiAam Trust (FAT) by society as responsibility towards educational development despite various hurdles. Unfortunately the trust remained rigid towards its functionalities, appointments and funding mechanism and has remained silent and irresponsive towards changing environment, global demands, and technology.
We cannot blame the state all time and in all avenues somewhere we ourselves have missed chances to develop a part of society as our responsibility.
We need to understand that change is the only thing which keeps on changing. Urgency is to work on some of the basic concepts to eradicate the huge gap in education system, economic stretch, and educational facilities.
We (the State, society, society organizations, teachers, parents, and other individuals) need to work hand in hand for the sustainable development of state through education.
Change is required at grass root level; as we keep losing a lot intellectual human capital till they graduate due to lack of facilities in schools, parent’s income source, government and public support and many more like.
Almost one third of school children dropout when they are about to move from primary to secondary education due to one or many above mentioned reasons and those who remain in schools are not getting proper education.
- Government must work on proper facilitation in educational institutes especially at lower level
- Financial support should be arranged locally, by both society and government for the deserving and needy
- Small libraries and reading halls should be introduced especially in weaker (economically) localities
- Initiative towards equal education for all (regions, religions, castes, and genders)
- Teachers must be well equipped and trained all the time
- Make sure schools are places of creativity, innovation, and also behavioural workstations
Let’s take a pledge to develop a mindset of change and develop ourselves and future generations to come.
Author is working as Senior Research Fellow at Faculty of Management Studies and Research, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.