Learning has the power to transform an individual’s life but government schools in Maski taluk fail to provide quality education due to lack of teachers and bad infrastructure.
April 6, 2020
Sania who was quietly sitting on the classroom floor and looking at the broken board in the hope of learning something new is slowly losing hope as there are hardly any teachers in the small village of Benakanhal. Every day, she comes to class and sits on the floor as benches are only for senior students. As a grade five student, she should have spoken basic English fluently, but fails to live up to the expectations as there are no English teachers.
The problem isn’t just limited to the quality of education, but also necessities. Without proper sanitation facilities, Sania avoids using the toilet, unless there’s an emergency, in which case she has to go for open defecation as most of the toilets are broken or lack water supply. This is not just Sania’s story but the story of hundreds of other students in Maski, Karnataka.
While Indian villages have access to education, the condition in Maski is testament of the fact that going to school doesn’t equate with learning.
The ASER report of Karnataka (Raichur) shows only 28.1 percent can only do subtraction, whereas division is even tougher, with only 26.6 percent students able to correctly do this fundamental mathematic calculation; 56.5 percent of class 3-5 can read 2nd standard textbooks. Collectively, only 6.7 percent of government school children know basic language and numbers. The Government talks about the Right to Education but the quality of education is far fledged dream. The ASER report highlighting the other side of the coin- while enrolment of children has increased the quality of education has decreased.
Maski schools still awaits qualified teachers
Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat is a government scheme for quality education and this shows that education is really important for survival, but due to a dearth of teachers, India is regressing when it comes to education. Venkatesh B, Hindi teacher of a higher primary school in Maraladinni said, “It has been ten years since the sanction of an English teacher but to date there is none. We have been constantly complaining to the government but no action is taken as such.”
However, there is hope in the form of teacher training programs. Ali Saint, CEO of Tech Avant-Garde said, “TAG is a technology service organization which focus on woman empowerment, we have taken the initiative to train government school teachers so that the quality of education can be improved. In the last one and a half years, we have trained around 1000 teachers.” TAG equips teachers with information on emerging technologies and their application. Most of the students don’t have any knowledge about digital education so training teachers in this realm will help to improve the quality of education.
Echoing the same though Sridevi, another teacher from Maraladinni Tanda said, “Students of grade five hardly know how to read and write in most of the government schools in Maski.” She added focusing on each and every student is really difficult as there are not enough teachers.
Even though English is a compulsory language in most schools, a survey conducted by the reporter in villages like Benaknal, Maraldinni, Dignayakanbhavi, Adibi, Ubdal, Antargange Tanda, Muraladinnitanda, Katgal, revealed that they lack English teacher on a permanent basis. Even after several complaints, the government has not heeded much attention. Ambresh, a member of Zila Parishad said, “Education is really important, and we have requested the government for more teachers in government schools in their village.” The data from schools.org.in shows that primary schools have one or two teachers and secondary schools have not more than five teachers.
Infrastructure is at stake in Maski
Quality education not only includes teachers but also focuses on the infrastructure of schools. However, when the reporter visited around 10 to 15 schools in Maski they saw a totally different picture. Schools do not have proper sanitation facilities, they lack water supply, children do not have any access to playgrounds. They lack power supply so digital education fails to empower children.
Chandra Shekhar M, headmaster of government schools in Maraladinni said, “Two months back we complained about unusable toilets in the school but the government has not paid any heed to our plea.” He further added “This is not our first complaint to the government, our students either go for open defecation or we have to send them back home. And so, the attendance remains poor.”
Reddy Rayanagouda, chief officer TMC said, “There is no problem in government schools of villages in Maski. All the schools have toilets, water facilities, and playgrounds.”
Sharanappa, a youth activist from Belaknar village said, “The government promised for a playground for children but most of the schools do not have a playground. Children do not get scholarship due to which they are unable to continue their studies.”
Physical education has been an integral part of education. It plays an important role in the development of youth but due to lack of playgrounds and sports teachers in most of the school’s children do not receive physical education. Chandra Shekhar M. said, “There are no physical education teachers for students, neither do they participate in any kind of sports. We have requested for sports teacher but the government fails to provide it.”
Education of girls not as important as that of boys
SarvSiksha Abhiyan aims to empower women as women consist of 48 percent of the total population of the country but still, the dropout rate of girls has increased in Maski taluk. Only 41 percent of girls were enrolled in schools as compared to 64 percent of boys as per the data.
“I want to be a teacher just like my ma’am,” said, Rekha, a class nine student “But my mother is scared to send me for higher education. I walk down the road to my schools but all colleges are twenty km away, which is difficult to walk. Toilets are in poor condition and during menstruation, we are not provided with sanitary napkins and half of the class don’t know about periods.”
“Mamta, an English teacher at Muraldinnitanda said, girls generally do not continue their studies after the age of ten because they get married, and another reason is that basic facilities like toilets, sanitary napkins are not available to them.”
The teachers, as well as Zila Parishad, said that due to lack of facilities and lack of awareness about the importance of education leads to girls dropout
“It is very difficult for me to send my daughter to school because most of the toilets are broken and lack water supply;” said, Zehra, the mother of a student in Dignayakanbhavi village.
She added I want my daughter to be educated, but in Belaknal, the schools only have classes up to five or seven, and it is difficult for me to send her away or to the main city which is twenty to twenty-five km away.
Struggle of digital education
Digital education improves the core of learning in an advance manner, specially when computers are provided to students. Venkatesh B Hindi teacher at higher primary school in Maraladinni said, “it has been 10 years since the sanctioned of computers but even after continuous complain we have not received any. Our computer room is ready but lack computers.”
Now in the world of coronavirus when online classes are being held, students of Maski are lacking behind as they do not have any access to digital education. Pampara Gowda. G principal of Devanampriya Ashoka college in Maski said, “How can we provide digital education to our children when computers, projectors, and labs are not available to them. He added we are unable to give them digital education as there is no power supply in most schools. We have often complained to the gram panchayat regarding power shortage but no action is taken so far.
Rishikesh B.S associate professor at Azim Premji University Bangalore said, “digital education enhances the quality of education and gives depth to learning but well capacitated human involvement is necessary for digital education as well.”
Lack of awareness
“People are not aware of the benefit of education so they do not pay any attention to the education of their children,” said, Tayeba an Urdu school teacher from Dignayakanbhavi. They are not aware of the schemes provided by the government and how they benefit their society as a whole.
The data of schools are not properly maintained as Maski is a new taluk and does not have a block education officer. The Raichur district data as a whole shows most of the schools lack basic facilities and the quality of education is at risk. The survey was conducted by district information system of education (DISE), which shows that only 53 percent of rural government schools have electricity and out of 75,489 schools 27,000 schools have only two or three classrooms.
The government spends 99,000 crore on education while 4.7 lakh crore on defense, If the allocation of money will increase for education the quality of education will also increase, subsequently, the quality of education will be improved.
Dr. Wooday.P Krishna chartered engineer and president at Karnataka private post-graduate college association gave us an overview of major problems and solutions in Quality education.
He said, “lack of adequate teachers is the biggest problem as the government fails to invest in teachers. We do not have skilled teachers in rural areas so children fail to compete with the world.” He concluded with the solution that the government should spend on teacher training programs because teachers are the backbone of the education system and if they fail the quality of education will be compromised.