For state government schools, subject to relentless criticism by educationists, academia and media, a separate league table has been introduced this year to encourage them to upgrade and improve, writes Paromita Sengupta & Reshma Ravishanker
The overwhelming majority of the country’s 1.30 million government schools which have earned global notoriety for dilapidated infrastructure, chronic teacher truancy, multi-grade teaching and rock-bottom learning outcomes, are owned and managed by India’s 29 states, seven Union territories and/ or numerous local, municipal and other governments. Contrary to popular belief, the Central government has established and manages less than 5,000 primary-secondary schools such as the Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs). Schools promoted and managed by the defence services, Indian Railways and several public sector enterprises are generally classified as Central government schools.
It’s substantially true that Central Government schools (and higher education institutions) tend to be relatively well-funded, well-administered and ensure acceptable student learning outcomes. Therefore, much of the volley of relentless criticism against government schools by educationists, academia and media (including EducationWorld) is directed at state and local government schools which tend to be under-funded, negligently administered and sabotaged by teacher recruitment scams, examination malpractices and chronic corruption.
However, even if belatedly, some governments — especially the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Delhi state which has discovered that public education is an elections winning issue — are initiating primary-secondary education reforms. This is a socially beneficial development that promises to upgrade public education across the spectrum.