Pitiable education sector
The world’s political and economic history bears witness that power paradigms have been shifting continuously. What used to be seen as lever of absolute power steadily lost leverage to something else as the world evolved toward higher degrees of civilization. Drawing from the Hindi cinema, for instance, there was an era wherein someone wielding physical might would be shown calling shots. Someone riding a horse with a rifle around his shoulder would silence all and command their support without much ado. A subtle lesson: ‘might is right’ and physical strength (muscle) is the absolute lever of power.
But steadily this notion changed and there were movies wherein even a frail-looking guy would be seated behind a desk and dictating terms. The person no doubt lacked in physical strength but he nevertheless was very powerful and his power would spring from the wealth he had at his disposal. Again, in a very delicate manner, it was communicated that money is the better lever of power. Obviously it was because the moneyed people could do things which even those with great physical strength wouldn’t have been able to do. Indeed these moneyed people would even hire those with physical strength to get their work done.
However, as has been the norm with all evolutionary processes, this lever too wasn’t going to hold ground for long. Soon it came to be replaced by yet another and this time more potent and powerful lever of power – the knowledge. In other words mind. Whether it is the muscle, money or the mind, it remains a fact that there is one thing that allows access to and command over all these and whatever other levers of power there are. And it shouldn’t be difficult to understand that it is the person’s ability to master and maneuver these levers which, in the ultimate scheme of things, determines his or her power.
Education is the magic wand that not only allows access to levers of power but also teaches how to work with these levers. No doubt if one opts to count things which differentiate rich from the poor, advanced from the backward, healthy from the diseased…, it is indeed the access to the avenues of education and with it to all other spheres and vistas that come with it – progress and development. Today whatever ills are plaguing the poor, underdeveloped countries are in some way or the other direct fallout of the peoples’ limited access to the education. What has been the major contributing factor in development of the developed countries and people is that they were able to invest in the vital sector of education well in time. One could certainly say without any fear of being disputed that the developmental lag of the third world countries is in essence the educational lag they have suffered.
Now have a cursory look at the education sector in Jammu and Kashmir. Look at the sad realities plaguing it, including of course the incidence of large-scale corruption together with institutional unaccountability, it should not be difficult to understand why we are among the wretched lot. Even today when world has made huge strides owing to their timely investment and prioritization of education sector, here in J&K hundreds and thousands of schools are still without proper buildings and other infrastructure. If there are no roofs on some buildings there are others which are without walls and toilet facilities and even blackboards too. While there are schools without teachers there are yet others where there are teachers without any children to teach. And mind it, there is no dearth of funds, in fact the money is there in abundance, but the unfortunate reality is that those vested with the responsibility of spending this money for betterment of education have no idea how to do it. No wonder every year whooping sums are lapsed and reverted back to the government exchequer because the bureaucrats heading this important sector are simply unable to utilize them within prescribed time-frames. In such a pitiable situation, if people are constantly treated to a slogan of progress and prosperity, one can’t help but simply laugh at the hollowness of such political sloganeering!