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Say no to private tuitions

The tuition ban and shifting of the exam session shows that the government is reforming the ongoing educational scenario here

Post by SHEIKH SHABIR KULGAMI on Monday, May 8, 2023

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Where should a student receive the light of education from — school or private tuition centre?  Agreed, the latter has emerged as an effective medium of educating students but school education realistically has no substitute:  it trains children in facing the challenges of life bravely and treats them equally.   But private tuition takes a different route, exposing its own harmful side for society.


Needless to say that there  have been reports  regarding dozens of government employees who do private business in broad daylight to feather their own nests ; legal fear and public interests  do not deter them. These selfish employees can be seen in every public office. School teachers included.  Such employees are time and again warned by the government; yet most of them continue to deprive their educated but out of government service fellow citizens of earning their livelihood.


Additionally, these self-seeking government employees trample government norms on impunity, promote bribery and favoritism on impunity, and murder the government's noble goal of quality education at schools (on impunity). This situation creates social and economic disparities, leading to insecurities, read disharmony, in the lives of people.


To ensure that the government school teachers just confine their work to schools and not work for their personal benefit at coaching centers, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has banned private tution/ coaching by the government teachers. Appreciable is the step by the government authorities: Rule of law must take its course to prevent chaos in society and cement the place of the government writ.


One can expect that the tuition ban is respected — both on paper and on the ground level—providing absolutely no room for complacency and its violation. Defeating human mind is a challenging task; past experience stands witness that the instructions for no private tution by government teachers could be seen surrendering before the corruption network as an academic session walks ahead.


Not a single government servant can ever justify practicing private tuitions— neither morally nor legally. And finding a teacher — of school or higher education — doing tuitions at a coaching centre is throwing mud at the rosy face of school education.  Implementing the ' no tuition directions' calls for a courageous heart and a visionary mindset. Should the ban weaken or face any unforeseen situation, school education is likely to become the first causality; classrooms at schools, especially at the high and higher secondary schools, may remain hungry for students.


Although the previous elected governments also had banned government teachers from doing private tuitions, the ban failed at the implementation phase. Private tuitions or coaching continued. Even the much touted provision of facilities — toilet, drinking water, heating, separate tuitions for boys and girls and waiting rooms for students at the centers— just remained confined to official orders.


Agreed that some coaching centers were closed, some teachers were taken to task and even some facilities were made available, but with the passage of time, things returned to where they were before the ban. Why? Obviously because of bribery, favoritism and official apathy. One hopes, the same does not happen this time. The school Education Department — which has thankfully done brilliant for strengthening school education— needs to ensure follow up actions so that the ban shuts the door for the government servants.


Notably, most people as always have welcomed the government's decision for a few right reasons: one, with no government employees doing coaching, the educated jobseekers should employ themselves to earn a respectable livelihood at the tuition centers. Two, the ban signals that the present government looks firm for reforming the school education sector. Infact, government teachers are mandated to teach at schools, not at tuition centers, and for that they are paid fat salaries out of the state exchequer. Stopping them from tuitions can make them work harder at schools. And the student community, especially those who cannot afford good tuitions, will be benefited.


Additionally, the private-tution ban has injected trust in common people, expecting that private practice by doctors may also be banned strictly. After all, the doctors are paid to treat people (at government hospitals) from the same treasuries as teachers and it is no secret that they are seen at private clinics even during office hours though they are paid higher salaries than most teachers. If doctors are banned from the practice and transferred to far flung areas, the poor villagers can be treated well. They are fleeced by quacks at villages in the absence of doctors at health centers — during daytime or at night time.


 A question: why do govt teachers go for tuitions?  Yes, some do so because of greed, not need, for money though they earn handsome salaries. However, most of them do so out of very poor financial conditions. Make no mistake, we have a huge number of school teachers from a very poor economic background and they need enough money to make modest houses, get their brothers and sisters married and pay medical expenses of their parents. So they join tuition centers to supplement their low income.


This author knows a few teachers who live in abject poverty. Their salaries notwithstanding. They need enough money to buy a piece of land for a house construction, repay bank loans and pay the other expenses incurred while fulfilling the family responsibilities. Doing tuitions, especially in winter’s chilly conditions, is no enjoyable activity for these teachers. It does not make them richer. It just keeps their hearth burning and meets their basic needs the number of which has expanded in the present times. Will it not look bad and painful if a teacher is in poor financial conditions, affecting his /her mental health, social status and social appearance?


What is noteworthy is that the establishment—which is looking serious to see its 'no-tuition measure' prevails— is likely to find it difficult to implement the ban: There is no guarantee that the executive hands will remain clean handed and impartial in implementing the tuition ban. And besides, it is not written on the foreheads of teachers or the other employees—working at the coaching centers or doing any other business during office hours— that they are getting government salaries.


To ensure the strict application of the ban on the teachers, the government needs an honest watchdog backed by a strong political will and coordination at the executive level. Above all, the tuition ban and shifting of the exam session shows that the government is reforming the ongoing educational scenario here. More to be done.


(Author is a teacher by profession and RK columnist. He can be reached on: sheikhshabir518@gmail.com)



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