Snapshots of a Government Primary School
Upon entering a Government Primary School, visitors are likely to observe the following scene – the teaching staff and the Headmaster sitting together engaged in conversation over a cup of chai while School children either copy from a textbook into their own worn out notebooks or create a racket in the classroom and outside.
On further probing one will find that teachers and Headmasters are often too busy to be effective educators or administrators. They must tend to a multitude of administrative jobs like official government paperwork, running the mid-day meal, attending to visitors, responding to circulars etc. Any mistake or delay in these tasks elicits a negative response from administration officials in the form of show cause notices, transfers, prevention of promotions etc. Response to any deviation from the norm is almost always negative.
The majority of teachers have no motivation to teach, no incentives to perform. The decision to promote a teacher to the position of a School Leader (Headmaster) is time and tenure bound, the actual competencies required to be a school leader are not a consideration. Both teachers and Headmasters are disenchanted by their work and the system. They have become attuned to a regime of “command and control” which suffocates their creativity and leads to apathy towards their role in the education system.
As a result learning levels in classrooms remain abysmally low, with students falling woefully short in their basic language and mathematics competencies. And what of the attitude toward children? The frequent use of corporal punishment to discipline children is another facet of this so called “education”. Alternate mechanisms like conversation, constructive engagement and the like are not adopted by teachers in their dealings with students.