The condition of government schools and the perception of general public revolving around them have changed considerably, over the years. In a survey conducted in 2005 in the northeast part of the state of Karnataka, school uniforms and books had been obtained by only four out of ten schools at the beginning of the academic year. This number has now almost doubled. Almost all the schools procure the books and the uniforms in time, even if it means the teachers would have to sacrifice their holidays.
The attendance of students, in most schools, has increased. A larger number of students attend government schools on a regular basis. The presence and punctuality of the teachers have benefitted these government schools greatly. In government schools of rural areas, even these fundamental necessities of punctuality and regular turnout of students are noteworthy indications of a vibrant culture.
Reflecting upon the survey conducted in 2005, the researchers had reported that about 15 per cent of the headteachers were not present in the school when they visited citing reasons like they had to go to the Block Education Office for some work. But, in recent surveys done, it wasn’t the case. Almost all the headteachers were present in the respective schools. One of the chief reasons behind this is that the headteachers can easily fetch information from their headquarters by taking help from their younger counterparts who are relatively internet-savvy.
There has, in most probability, been sincere soul searching and struggle experienced by the teachers mentioned for better equipping themselves with skills to deliver the best. To improve their subject knowledge teachers take up courses and commit themselves to skill-upgrading programs.
The entire scene at government schools has undergone a significant metamorphosis. One such change is that more teachers are writing a daily diary, reflecting on their school-day – the joys and struggles of teaching. The way the teachers maintain the daily diary, introspecting the progress, is indeed a small but simple step worth emulating by all of us.
As per the report published by World Bank in 2017, India will have the highest percentage of youth by 2021. We will have three hundred and seventy-two million children in the age group of 0-14 years and three hundred and sixty- seven million in the age group of fifteen to twenty-nine years. The only thing that would determine what course these young children would take is the quality of education they are exposed to. Therefore, it is important to invest in teacher preparation and the accompanying systemic and structural reforms.
Many government schools of India, today, render hope of an improved education system, through which every child would be entitled to quality education for free. Quite to the amazement, equity and quality have reclaimed their place in government schools nowadays. We need to further push for improving the quality of public education in India because reality remains that for at least 60 per cent of our children, government school is the only option. It is only when the children who are entirely reliant on government schools, get equitable quality of education that we can expect to progress towards the ideals of our Constitution.