There has been a constant debate on which school provides better education- Government schools or private schools. There is definitely a difference in the quality of education between the two schools which is measured by the difference in the learning level outcomes of the students. In a study conducted by James Tooley, it was found that the children in private schools performed far better than government school students. However, the alarming feature is that the difference between these two education providers is very minute. A report published by ASER in 2010 suggested that a child going to a private school has less than 4% probability of having better learning levels as compared to a government school student.
What is causing this growing dissent towards government schools? Why are private schools considered better than its public counterpart? One of the prime reason is that the teachers in private schools are more motivated, hardworking and most importantly, accountable. It is not that government schools lack talented, educated teachers. In fact, government schools are blessed with highly educated teachers however, they seldom discharge their knowledge and teaching records of these schools are very poor. With the assurance of steady job, high salary and almost no accountability, government teachers have become more lax and reluctant towards performing their duty.
“To aim high is not enough; you must hit the target as well.”
There is no doubt in the fact that Indian government is trying its best to improve primary education in government schools. They have been aiming high all this time, but every time they are missing their targets.
Almost 22% of Indian population lives below poverty line. They cannot afford expensive private schools and thus low-cost government schools are their only option. But what if these schools do not impart quality education? And what if the education being imparted is not sufficient to make them eligible to survive in the harsh world that is waiting for them? How will they be able to cope with those students who have gone to expensive private schools and received the best education available? The disadvantaged demographic and no-detention policies are often regarded as possible reasons for the depleting learning environment in government schools. In recent years, government has initiated a number of centrally sponsored schemes to improve the educational quality of government schools. However, they have hardly shown any positive results.
What we need now is academic monitoring rather than monitoring of infrastructure and schemes. We need to invest in competency or learning assessments and internal governance of the system. A successful management with decentralized authority and highly motivated student-teacher body is the reason private schools are pulling ahead in the race to attract more students.
Salaries should be linked to an individual’s work output which would then motivate them to produce better results. A government teacher knows that once he gets a job, he will not be penalized or terminated until he retires. Such a lack of incentive immediately affects his performance and he fails to deliver his duties appropriately. Holding public school teachers accountable for poor performance of schools and imposing suitable penalties will be a huge step towards improving the performance of government schools.
The most important thing our education system needs today is dedication. Poor quality of education is not just an issue for government schools but for the whole educational system as well. It is quite urgent for the government to review its policies that are hindering the growth of education system in India. It is time for the government to focus on students rather than schools.