Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Friday, January 23, 2004

SOCIETY : At cross purposes


There was a recent directive by the Supreme Court to the Government to start dealing with the education system at large at a more micro- level instead of the global "Primary education for all sermon" level which it has been. The first directive was to look at schools which had been built on DDA (Delhi Development Authority) land in Delhi.

As per the agreement drawn up, between the school and the DDA, when land was alloted to these schools, the schools were to have 25% of the students from the lower-income groups.

While the intention was good, it was never executed until this directive came from the SC. But to look at such an implementation, we have to wonder what the objective of a school is.
  • In some way a school is like a company, where expenses and income matter. To the extent of funding coming in based on performance.
  • On the other hand, the primary objective of a school still remains education for all those who are willing and liaising with the government for that purpose.

To draw a line between these two purposes is extremely difficult. On one hand, if the atmosphere of the school or worse, the quality of education degrades, schools will no longer be able to enroll that cadre of students who can ensure rich rewards in terms of performances and finances. Both of which are crucial to the functioning of a school.

In India, there are a lot of schools which are funded by Christian missionary groups. Convents and churches that are contributing to India's education. And perhaps, the fact that they are educating children to a Christian way of life is detrimental to the social fibre of this nation. But that doesn't take away the fact that for every 2 children converted (?), there are 8 being educated paving the way for a better India. It's a tough bullet to bite.
I, for one, studied in a school run by Christians and paid measly fees for the same. The highest it got was Rs. 10/month when I was in the 10th standard. And I don't know anyone who got converted. But that's of course urban India and my experience is limited.

So the question remains - how does a school manage between it's dual objectives of success and purpose?

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