‘And just because you have colleges and universities doesn’t mean you have education.’
– Malcolm X
Public Education System is a mechanism of delivering education to the children of the community at public expense. This includes of a chain of schools and pre-colleges delivering free education to the citizenry, throughout the hinterlands of a country. Due to a variety of reasons, the quality and nature of this education varies to a large extent across locations and across institutions, sometimes even depriving select sections from this basic public good. Oftentimes, it is more convenient for the governments to attribute this variety and exclusion to the discrepancies on the demand side, while assuming the supply of public education to be absolutely perfect. These claims, however, are baseless and have no standing at all; largely refuted by the researchers in the field of Inclusive Education (Shukla Bose: Teaching one child at a time – TED Talk). The basic aim of Public Education System must be to develop a system which fosters an effective and inclusive education. Inclusive education means an education system that allows all students and prospective students to receive education without any discrimination in their age-appropriate courses and classes, supported to learn and contribute to the society.
The system of public education is a recent phenomenon which dates back to early 19th century. Since then, there has been enormous improvements in the dynamics and methodologies adopted for the delivery of this public good across the globe. In India, the system of formal public education was introduced simultaneous to British Raj, and even at the beginning there was a huge diversity to the provision of delivering education across the country largely due to difference in taxes across regions. This diversity continues to be an endogenous part of public education system in India even after Independence (and after bifurcation as well). These discrepancies and discriminations were carried forward by the leaders as a legacy of British Raj. No efforts, whatsoever, have been taken by the governments to overhaul public education system, largely because that is not what allures public into voting them to power. The only tangible improvement witnessed in the public education system in India has been increasing the number of oft-hazardous dysfunctional schools, rolling down numerous politically motivated schemes and recruiting endless unqualified teachers adding burden to the exchequer with disproportional or no contributions at all.
Kashmir, governed by obtuse and apathetic masters in New Delhi, caught in the middle of two narcissist rivals, thus, has a strong case to defend for not being able to provide a prudent and effective public education system. While some part of the defense is true for the valley has witnessed more troughs than crests in its fight to survival, but most of it is totally unreasonable, manipulated, idiotic, self-serving and unacceptable. Hypocritically installed governments in the disputed region play to the tunes of their masters in Delhi by being more loyal than the king, who are least interested in the development of the region. Consequently, for being responsible for nothing but crushing the voice of dissent in the valley, the conflict ridden valley of flowers has become nourishing ground of corruption, flourishing corrupt institutions, practices with not even a speck of remorse.The valley has become breeding ground for hypocrite individuals to go on a power-trip in this rotten system where they are responsible for nothing but crushing the voices of dissent. To enjoy this power-trip, they can go to any extent, no matter what it takes. From being insensitive to human suffering to inflicting pain and tormenting the society as a whole, they have got a lot of exercisable options to their avail.
Public Institutions have become the largest victim of this iconic tragedy, and more so has public education system. Building on the momentum, the heritage of ill functional and discriminatory (politically motivated) public education system has been adopted from the masters. The public education system in the State is, thus, rotten to the core, only to serve a purpose to these puppet installations. A huge amount of money is being pumped into this, only to flow back to the installed puppets. This extravaganza is totally self-centric with no purpose towards public good, I would rather like to refer to this spending as a leakage. The social-cost-benefit-analysis of the projects don’t even get a back-seat, and thus the results can be well predicted. The politically motivated schemes and statistics are being camouflaged as progress and precisely weighed on a scale which reads votes in place of CGS. Towards this objective, the valley in the recent years have seen explosive numbers of schools and colleges built without adequate infrastructure, and sometimes without even teachers. Oftentimes, the structures created are unsafe and hazardous; while in some parallel universe, teachers are recruited and made to deliver education under open skies. And all this is happening at the moment when the rest of the world is looking for advanced means of education. While in many countries, the traditional system of teaching is being discarded, and is being replaced by alternative and more creative methodologies like Kinesthetic and activity-based learning, we are still lingering on to provide even the minimum possible education.
To surprise you more, the Chief Minister of the State Miss Mehbooba Mufti, ready for a photo-op, has come up with schemes like Subsidized Scooty, Subsidized ATB’s at select locations while completely ignoring the much needed basic provision to education in demographically unfortunate hinterlands. And she doesn’t stop here, she has come up with coaching programme for some 50 less unfortunate children of the soil. The coaching center model which has remained highly debatable, and often witnessed a public and government opposition, is now being promulgated as a policy by the government. Had she ever had even a speck of grey matter in her head, she could have thought of the implications of this policy… but oops!!!…it is Kashmir… and we don’t have a system here… forget policy…and what prudence?
‘The authorities of this so-called education take pride in their ship shape structure where they manufacture dumb manikins.’
Khaki Audil is an Assistant Professor of Finance, serving somewhere in the Middle-East, interested in Inclusion-Exclusion Studies, a staunch Kashmiri, pathetically pained at the suffering back home…