I am hearing this sentiment more and more, at least in Karnataka….
I hear that in kolar district, the government officials themselves acknowledge that government schools are running out of favour of parents. Parents today, in rural areas clearly seem to favour Private English Medium Schools. They perceive that the poor quality of education in the government schools and moreover, the local language being the medium can be a disadvantage to their kids in the long run. They seem to be going far to pay significant amounts of fee to get their children admitted to such private schools who teach in english medium. The problem though is that this is spawning many poor quality english medium schools. Even then, the medium of instruction seems to hold enough value and parents are willing to bet on it. Last year, apparently, many government schools got closed down since their strength came down to less than 5 children in total. More are said to be in the risk zone.
I heard the same sentiment in Hassan. I understand that many government schools are running with less than 10 children in a class. Here too, the english medium seems to be the main factor.
I am sure that no state government in India would acknowledge this trend and switch to english medium in their schools. I am not saying that we should do so. There is actually a big potential for promoting local language heavily. Today, unfortunately, jobs seem to be highly skewed towards the population that knows english. The government should also strive sufficiently to make studying in local language viable by promoting such businesses and services which create jobs that can be handled well with the local language. There is little on the internet that one can do without english. This also needs government intervention and promotion.
Another factor is India’s structure itself. We are a combination of states that speak different languages. Hence, english becomes a unifying factor. If one knows english, he/she has a better chance of getting a job in many states rather than just knowing the local language and being restricted to his/her own state.
Government itself functions in the local language and that is good. Unfortunately though, government in itself cannot create enough jobs for the burgeoning population.
Given this scenario, a parent would certainly feel that if he/she is betting on the education of their kid, then why not bet on english medium private schools even though their quality of teaching may be as poor as that in government schools. Obviously, this leads to the fact that government schools in India could be dying a slow death unless revived.
The right to education act, 2009 seems to show the will to provide a big push but how much difference it will really bring in is to be seen. The karnataka government recently announced that 8000 school teachers would be recruited. This is required to see that the right to education act can be implemented well. The government has said earlier that they would implement the act starting in the academic year 2011-12. Lets see what happens.
The fact though remains that the government schools, even though constituting about 93% of all schools in the country today are an endangered species just like our tigers.
Jai Hind !!!