Education is a Part Time Business in Bihar: Why blame the Govt. Alone?
Chandra Shekhar Singh | 28 Mar 2008

In spite of all the new policies of Government the picture of education in Bihar is not so good. It is not always due to incorrect policies but also due to sloppy attitude in personnel implementing the plicy and public's unawareness or carelessness in the

Education is a Part Time Business in Bihar: Why blame the Govt. Alone?
Bihar government seems to have decided to say good bye to its 26 year old ‘unaided education policy’ in the interest of teachers and non teaching staff of the hundreds of unaided schools and colleges. This step would regularize thousands of employees of some 801 educational institutions. It’s really a pleasant step of Bihar government which must be applauded and welcome. Bihar government has from time to time taken good decisions for improvement of education level and literacy in the state but in spite of all the Herculean efforts made by the state government the state has consistently been reported very poor. Bihar was reported 35th rank according to the latest statistics on "Elementary Education in India", prepared by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration.
One would feel I am writing an advertorial for the Bihar government but there is another aspect of the coin. The decision of unaided education policy was taken long back to fight with the lack of funds to create infrastructure and also due to the state’s inability to create new teaching posts and pay for the same. Initially it seemed to be working but everybody knows in a state like Bihar where most of the poorer people preferred sending their children to factories and mines than to government schools providing free of cost education it was very difficult for such institutions to get financially strong students who are capable of paying enough fees for running such educational institutions.
The most glorified slogan that teaching is not a profession but a mission actually proved to be merely a slogan because everybody knows the simple fact that a person whenever joins a job he or she does so to earn something to support his or her family. Once the income part of your service starts giving you a feeling of uncertainty and insecurity you start feeling like doing a thrust upon social service on price of the bread and butter of your family and probable the same has happened to the people working in these institutions. The ones starving due to their payless jobs started to run away in search of other jobs. Many of them who belonged to farmer families started doing farming works and only few members of the staff kept the institutions running.
There was nothing wrong if they did so because everybody has the right to chose a correct job. But the wrong thing that they did was actually a crime. They kept on pretending to be working for their respective institutions. There was a general understanding between these staff members that names of all of these will be kept alive on the payroll of the institution but payments will be disbursed to only those who are regularly giving their attendance. So these schools and colleges have today many such teachers and non-teachers who are actually earning a good sum through their de facto jobs in Delhi, or Mumbai or in other metros, many of them are even in farming and other business for last more than 20 years. Now the policy change in Bihar has proved to be a gold egg laying hen for such people. Most of these have now started returning to the school and introducing themselves to the students.
Here I would also say something about the Shikshamitra policy of Bihar government. Under this policy the government has given rights to the panchayats to select and appoint good teachers from among the able and educated members of same panchayat. This program has simplified the selection process on the one side and minimized time and expense incurred upon selections and appointment on the other side. Also it has given employment opportunity to many deserving educated unemployed candidates.
But this program has its own drawbacks – not because the government has chosen wrong program or following incorrect policy. This all is once again because of the people at grass root level through whom the policy is being implemented. Government can never be said totally responsible for failure of this policy also. The public is equally rather more responsible for this failure. In most of the cases schools are very near to the residences of such teachers and most of these teachers prior to their selection under this program have been doing other business or farming work. Now this selection has proved to be a source of additional income for them and teaching once again has become a part time business in Bihar. Many of these teachers would just rush to the classroom half an hour to an hour late as convenient, give some sort of class work to the students and ask the class monitor to control the students for a moment while they would return back soon from their shop, or fields. After doing this they would rush to their fields, look after the works being done by laborers there or would do some other such works and after few hours return back to resume their so called duties.
This business is generally done by most of the teachers in the school. And it is run through a mutual understanding between all staff. Since the selection of these people is based on academic mark-sheets and many of these mark-sheets are not actual statement of skills of the concerned person my hunch is about their ability and skills also apart from their intentions and attitude of service. The government is of course spending a lot of money on education in Bihar but it should materialize in results. God save the students of Bihar.