Are small fish nearing extinction?
BY: Javid Rather
The phenomenal thing that has happened to the valley in the last three decades is the growing number of educational institutions and verily educational institutions are the assets we must be proud of collectively. It tells about the leaps in terms of the development a state has taken. A mushroom growth of private institutions has been witnessed both in the towns, cities and their vicinities and peripheries. Credit must go to the visionaries who took initiatives in this direction long back. The contribution made by these institutions is laudable and worth appreciation. Kids have been following these institutions as ants follow the sugar but what pains and pinches the heart is that they have failed to maintain the rapport and grandeur though exceptions are there.
Since the dawn of the 21st century some big educational brands have made their entry in our valley which again is a good thing as they made an entry only when they found the pitch favourable but at the same time our schools could not cash the opportunities that they transacted. Where lies the rot and where we went wrong? is something all of us should ponder and worry about. Education liberated from nationalism and other tags is the need of the hour and our cheers must go to them as well because if they succeeded in producing gems, the gems belong to us, if they could carve the stones in a better shape, the shapes belong to us. But deep down the lanes of mind, we must wonder that why the schools established by our ancestors fail to top the list and why their caricature has got confined to the “second choice”. They didn’t fail us but we failed ourselves. We are perhaps unsure and unaware about the invasion that we have witnessed at this front. The teachers who are serving in the big brand schools of our valley are not foreigners or the aliens. They are within us, among us and from us. They have sat on the same mats in the dilapidated constructions and taken classes under the open sky at times. They have squatted much like us with one half of the candy in their mouth and one half exposed to the mites outside.
By small fish I mean the schools where the roll of the students has declined marginally and the ones who are facing the acute financial problems. I can count the names of such schools as a hermit counts his beads but that would be unfair as I am not expressing my views to lampoon them, I rather have the concerns that I want them to address. First of all, the schools which have become the very part of our heritage now need both resurrection as well as an overhaul in terms of managing the day to day affairs and we also need to enhance the vision of the founders of these institutions. We have been going on the same way as they did irrespective of realizing that the times have changed along with the needs of the children in schools. We have experienced teachers in these schools but we have to ensure that the experience transforms into the exercise inspite of the exertion.We need to train our teachers on the lines of the modern day educational policies. There must be a manifesto released at the very onset of the session which must be complied and reviewed frequently. We have to hone the talent of the kids carefully and bravely. The new entrant schools in the valley are attracting kids as a candle attracts the butterfly and all of us know that this attraction is not for nothing. Something is there that we lack and they don’t. Being part of the competitive world, we must be on our toes all the time. The slumber has to be abandoned and divorced otherwise the day is not far when the small fish will face the shortage of the feed and perish. The schools need to have an ideology, a framework, a policy to give proper direction to the sail that has taken off decades back. Teachers must be acquainted with the vision of the school and directions must be passed on to them accordingly. The best performers to be exposed more and appreciated more and the ones slowly progressing be given the doses. The vision of the schools should not be confined to the satisfaction of the students and parents alone but teachers too. Their needs have to be taken good care of too as satisfying the needs of a teacher will have a direct impact on his taught. Let us not plan, let us prepare, let us not join hands, let us bind them and emerge as better.
(The author is a former teacher and presently serving as a banking associate in JKB & can be mailed at [email protected])