Kick Out Bureucracy Not teachers from Schools and Make Schools Sure Instruments for Quality learning

Khagendra Kumar, Chief Editor

It is high time to look into the deteriorating state run schooling system in Bihar in particular and rest of India in general. It is a fact that quality of education in public schools is poor due to reasons not difficult to identify. Extreme reflctions of quality loss in school education were observed in secondary and senior secondary school examinations of BSEB for last 3-4 years which also earned very bad name to the state. Phenomena like mass copying,  toppers scam and very poor result are simply manifestations of systemic failures of the school system and major loss in quality.
Firstly it is most important to understand that the school teachers in Bihar are involved in a good number of non academic works which are supposed to be done by the bureaucracy. It is strange that almost all bureaucrats are failing in establishing connect with the people of Bihar but they are badly failing in their duties of taking various public programmes to the people. These duties are quite successfully performed by the teachers who are supposed to be in the schools for teaching-learning, the most essential service required for the development of any society. The bureaucracy uses school teachers as their immediate subordinates and take most of the decisions regarding schools and indulge them in any work they like. Our political system is swayed away by these ideologically bankrupt bureaucracy. Oblivion of their mental and knowledge status they consider themselves most intelligent and knowledgeable for the simple reasons that they are empoered to take all decisions unilaterally. They have turned schools into centres of unlearning. A teacher has been assigned 24 kinds of work regarding Mid Day Meal. They have developed classroom evaluation sheets for teachers who are required to fill these sheets for each student and submit block education offices who never make use of these sheets. More over thy are incapable of reading these sheets. Teachers are involved in building and boundary constructions of the schools as if the building and related departments are incapable of taking full responsibility of doing these works. Heads and teachers of the schools are often called by block level officers whenever they like, for one purpose or other. They call good teachers to give tuition to their wards forcibly. Teachers are reserved manpower of the bureucracy to execute their public programmes for they are incapable of executing them through their own bureucratic machinery or incapable of developing appropriate mechanism for the same. None of the bureucrats from top to bottom related to school education understs 'monitoring'. Their understanding of monitoring is limited to counting attendance and insulting teachers. There are instances in Bihar where district magistrates visited schools and slapped teachers in gross misuse of their power. The prime duty of block and district level education offices is to insult teachers for one reason or another on regular basis. Recently a  District Magistrate announced that the officers will be visiting schools and deliver quality lessons. I have every doubt that these officers have capability to deliver quality lessons. Although boon in disguise,  officers failed to listen to this announcement and never delivered lessons to the children in schools. The newspapers published the announcement prominently and with some appreciation. This instance further proves that bureaucracy has scanty regard for the school and teacher education institutions and their teachers and is in habit of taking idiotic decisions which have made irrepairable loss to the schooling system.
If we want to improve our schools, we must restore dignity of our teachers immediately.  As a first and urgent measure free schools and teachers from bureaucratic interferences.
Secondly, a protocol should be issued where status of teachers must be above any level of bureaucracy. There must be clear cut distinction between a servant and a teacher. The nomenclature of officer must be changed to 'sevak or servant', for example, panchayat sevak, prakhand sevak, anumandal seval, zila/mandal sevak etc. The word 'officer' must be deleted from the governmental dictionary. The school must be trated as a holistic unit and responsibility of school governance, teaching-learning and evaluation must go to the head and teachers of the schools. All institutions making framework for school curriculum, preparation of text books, innovations and intial & in-service training must be handed over to teachers and academicians. Bureaucracy has incapacitated all training and research institutions. Without losing a moment they must be cicked out of these. 
 Thirdly, the status of teachers can not be determined on the basis of their salary. If they are entrusted to build a nation, they must be traeted in accordance with the importance of their duty. It is also important to appoint optimum number of cadre based teachers with good salary in appropriate scale. They must be assured good life conditions. Without ensuring high salary and good life conditions we can never get talented students from our colleges and universities in our schools and classrooms. If the state encounters financial problems then it must not hesitate in restucrturing salary of all other departments of the government. 
This one measure will solve all buraucratic and other hassels of government run school education (public schooling) system.  All government jobs must be reserved for those students who get full education in public schools. 
The fund provided by World Bank is not being properly utilized on improving quality of schools and their education. A good proportion of funds is spent on assessing SMC, capacity building of SMC, school mapping and surveys, documentaries and reports etc. under the direct perview of bureaucracy. In fact, these roles will automatically become part of schools and will be done in the best way if they are restored autonomy. We must not forget most of the schools in Bihar has been started by the communities which were later taken over by the state. Even the current data say that a large number of unrecognized private schools in Bihar are run by educated youth of the community. They charge very low fees and even poor parents sent their childern to these schools. As assessed by ASER, quality of education in these schools is somewhat better than government run (public) schools. These schools are more or less free from bureaucratic hassels.
 Fourthly, the state should make policy for private schooling and teacher training in which educated youth having requisite qualifications should be given opportunities to run their institutions. Quality of education must be given priority over requirement of  huge infrastucture so that instead of corporate houses, concerned educated youth can start their institutions.
Fifthly, the responsibility of MDM, constructing, repairing and extending school builing, all other non academic works must go to appropriate governmental agencies where bureaucracy will be absolutely required to establish rapport with the people and NGOs to complete these works. 
For bringing  qualitative change in our public school system, autonomy of schools and related research and training institutions must be restored and freed from any kind of bureaucratic interference; teachers must be well paid and provided good living conditions, their status must be adjudged higher than bureaucracy or atleast they must be  freed from bureaucratic control; government jobs must be reserved for those students who studied in public schools and bureaucrats are forced to learn to visit people in the villages and towns and execute public programmes without disturbing school system.