Government schools need image makeover

By: Ranjan Yumnam

Are Government schools bad per se? This is a very subjective question and not all of our answers would necessarily be the same. But guess what, majority of the answers would border on the negative. And this wrong notion is what precisely this article seeks to dispel or at least try to mitigate.

The first problem that besets the Government schools in Manipur is not the oft-talked lack of quality teachers, infrastructure or even diligent students though they continue to be significant issues. It is the problem of image.

The Government schools do not have a common voice of their own; they are like the different bogeys of the same train but each conducting its affairs in its own sweet will. Many of them are excellent and if you had asked me the same question that I had posed earlier on the state of affairs of the Government schools, I would proudly say they are excellent to the extent that they have to function under trying conditions.

The reason why Government schools are more commendable than the best private institutions lies in the social mission that they have to carry out. The Government schools are not run for the motive of profit. They are there to provide a service that puts premium on access, relevance and equity. These noble objectives do not exist for the private educational business and do not stir its conscience a bit. Seen from this perspective, it is unfair to compare Government schools with the private schools: the former worships a social goal; the latter is the slave of profit.

Even though Government schools are constrained by the social obligations it has to fulfil, it does fairly well in competing against the private players in terms of performance in BOARD and Council