Why do we prefer to admit our children in private schools? Is it worthy or a inescapable extravagance. For many of us, the answer is both and it raises further questions. What makes this decision worthy? The answer(s) to this question are self-explanatory. So I will write few of them here, the students in private schools are paid extra attention, given a competitive environment, personality development is done, communication skills enhanced and so on. Another question that remains to be answered is: how it becomes a matter of inescapable extravagance when we send our children to private schools? Well, the answer is simple; in absence of any active regulatory authority, the charging of exorbitant fee and funds from the students needs no introduction.
The issue of overcharging by the private schools is not new in Kashmir but the disclosure is newer. Reporting by the media on this matter becomes highly unlikely because the private schools spend huge money on the advertisements and no media organisation would like to incur the loss of not getting those advertisements from these schools. There is no denying the fact that mostly children of bureaucrats and political elites join these private schools that are into money-making business and this fact has led to the belief that it makes these private schools immune to public criticism and thereof any legal action.
The problem is there; not because the private schools demand hefty amount for the admission, but because the parents are ready to pay the same. Given the fee structures in private schools, It is appropriate to say that education has no value but high price, it is no more an opportunity but a desire. Being rich or poor is a matter of inevitability in every society but the affordability of any sort is very much evitable as it is socially constructed. By putting a high price on imparting education, the private schools in Kashmir have been successfull in creating an impression in our society that ‘better educational opportunities’ can be only availed by the haves.
It Is More Than Just A Social Problem
At a time when government run schools are failing to improve the standard of education, the private schools have become indispensable at it. The nonperformance of government schools has provided the perfect opportunity for private schools to fill the educational vacuum. It is ironic that the teachers and officers in education department whose negligence is responsible for sorry state of government run schools; prefer to send their children to private schools.
The overcharging by the private schools is not a problem but nonperformance of Government run schools is the actual problem
In order to improve the standard of education in government schools, it was devised so many times that the government teachers and other government employees should be directed to send their children to government run schools and thus providing a clear evidence that official apathy lies at the root of the problem.
Kashmir is experiencing a rapid growth of private schools; I believe that the time is not far off when private schools will outnumber the government run schools. It is definitely not a good indication for the educational authorities because the increment in private schools manifests the failure of government schools to fulfill the responsibility of imparting education.
If it is not possible for the government to provide better educational opportunities for the students at a lower cost then they should at least implement some strict measures to curb the unauthorized fee structures in private schools so that the poor students can also get a chance to study in these institutions.
(The author a student of Int’l Relations at IUST Awantipora regularly contributes for the Edit page of “Kashmir Horizon”.His views are personal)