From hostels to the schools:
Reality check !
Rules and regulations for school boardings and hostels. Call to ensure safety and security of young boys and girls staying at many of the hostels run by different schools and enterprising individuals and suddenly it is clear that Manipur has still a long distance to go as far as the safety of the young students staying at different hostels, especially in Imphal, is concerned and perhaps this is also the right time for the Government to take one more step and see how the schools function. And when one talks about the functioning of the different schools, it needs to be kept in mind that one has to go far beyond the performance of the students of the different schools in the Class X and Class XII board examinations but see if the schools can exactly be called institutions imparting education to the young students. Are the different schools equipped with proper laboratories for conducting practicals for the Science subjects, especially at the plus two level ? If yes then how safe are the laboratories ? These are fundamental questions but nevertheless very important for remember till date the State Government does not have its own rules and regulations on how hostels and boardings should be run and has instead been using the specifications laid down by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Nothing wrong with this but doesn’t it become imperative for the State Government to have its own guidelines taking into consideration the fact that each State is unique in its own ways and what may work for Tamil Nadu may not necessarily be ideal here ? Now that the State Education Department has invited suggestions and feedbacks from the stakeholders, it becomes important for the stakeholders to give in their inputs. This is where parents and elders of the family need to apply the right pressure on the hostels where their wards are staying so that the necessary inputs are submitted by September 10, the last date given by the Education Department.
It is ironic and a sad irony it is that it has taken the death of a young school girl to jolt the Government awake to its responsibilities, but as stated earlier, perhaps the Government may take one step more and apart from studying how the numerous private schools function also take a look at the pay structure of the schools. To make the task at hand more practical, the Government may designate schools into groups such as Group A, Group B, Group C and so on, on the basis of some laid down criteria. One basis could be monthly fees charged from the students, the number of students, the number of teachers and administrative staff and accordingly list out a pay recommendation for the staff and teachers. Once the staff are paid in line with the work they do, then this can go a long way in ensuring that teachers pay more attention to the plight of the students. This will also have a trickle down effect in the sense that teachers will take as much interest in teaching in the classrooms as in the tuition centres and coaching institutes. This will work both ways as parents and guardians will not be under undue pressure to send their children to coaching classes for each and every subject. Pay the teachers adequately and obviously they will dispense with their work as much as they do in the coaching classes. Lay down rules and regulations for hostels and boarding houses, but take one more step and work out the pay structure for the school staff. This is a job which the Government should take up with the needed energy and attention.