Uttarakhand home to best and worst schools

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Dehra Dun : Uttrakhand is home to some of the best names where schools go in the country, whose haloed portals have been walked by alumni that figure in the top of any who’s who list. Most of the hill stations abound with names of schools where parents vie to get their children and wards admitted, and it is not only The Doon School, or the Welham’s Girls.

Welhams Girls School, Dehradun

Welhams Girls School, Dehradun

Being a hub for school education, state governments in their bid to make it a hub for higher education invited private parties to open colleges, professional institutions and deemed universities, an effort in which they succeeded to quite an extent. Though of late some of these colleges have closed down or are on the verge of closure as they have not been able to maintain high educational standards.

Sadly, while the state governments have tried to woo private parties to open educational institutions, and are privy to the high norms of primary and higher secondary education that have been set by the public schools, little or no efforts have been made in improving and setting standards for the government schools in the state, so that children from the lower strata of society could also benefit.

In fact if what has appeared in a section of the press is to be believed, the conditions of the government schools are pitiable and there are even allegations that most of the attendance is purely because of the mid-day meals. In quite a few cases even the mid-day meals do not lure the children to school and there is large scale absenteeism.

There is a vacancy of 13,000 teachers in the primary and medium schools of the state and many of the schools are functioning with just one or two teachers to teach 50 or 100 students. There are even reports that some of the schools are located in dilapidated buildings, or no building at all and the students are made to sit under trees in clear weather.

In the state capital itself there is a school which has 103 children but just one teacher. Then are others with about 50 children and just one teacher and one can but just imagine the quality of education that will be imparted to the children. What is worse is the fact that should the single teacher fall sick or take leave for some urgent work, the children have to return home that day.

A rural school in Uttarakhand

A rural school in Uttarakhand

One shudders to think that if this is the sad state of affairs that prevails in the state capital itself, right under the nose of the chief minister, the education minister and the top brass of the education department, what will be the prevailing condition in the far flung interiors of the state, where no inspections are undertaken.

With this background of the public schools that is before the chief minister, education minister and the top brass of the education department to emulate, there is time and again talk of improving the quality of education in the government schools, but that is just playing to the gallery for no efforts are made to even fill up the existing vacancies of teachers in the schools.

Time and again the excuse has been that no teacher wants to be posted at the schools located in the distant and remote areas of the state. But, educationists here claim that the plea is merely an excuse on the part of the education department to cover up their own shortcomings and not making sincere efforts in improving the quality of education being imparted in the government schools.

“If they are serious in filling the posts of teachers, there are a number of post graduates and graduates in the villages in the remote and distant areas of the state, who will readily take up jobs of teachers in their schools. This will not only provide them with employment, but will also help fill the vacancies of teachers in the schools”, they claimed.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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