Monday, April 28, 2014

When Religious Organizations Run Educational Institutions For Money and Power, the Damage to the Society is More!

To be very frank, I am pained by the way the Indian education system has deteriorated over the past few decades beyond redemption. When I talk about the deterioration, I do not mean the physical deterioration of the infrastructure that the Indian educational institutions have. In fact, the physical infrastructure in many private educational institutions have improved tremendously when the governments have allowed the private educational institutions to charge heavy fees from the students, several times more than what existed a few years ago. So, the deterioration is not on that count.

On the other hand the deterioration I am talking about is the moral deterioration that has been taking place in the education system in India. Again, it is not about any explicit immorality that I am concerned with but about certain kinds of indirectly discernible acts of certain private school managements  that cause the students to get distorted ideas about morality and ethics that are applicable to the citizens. While publicly most schools display their concern for morality, discipline and high ethical standards, what they actually practice convey some thing else!

Most of the school managements cannot set any moral examples for the students because the ones who manage the schools are often ruthless or ignorant people who either do not believe in any moral values or who do not know what it actually is. 

The educational institutions they manage boast of high disciplines, highest standards of education and the like [There are people who can frame all standard objectives, rules and regulations for them to get all statutory clearances!] But those who really manage these are without any of these qualities in most instances. In reality these institutions kill the real creative talents and innocence of the children and reduce them to biological human robots whose ability is measured in terms of the scores or grades that  they obtain in examinations. 

Indian education system as it stands today in the schools and colleges essentially measures the memorizing capacity of students! The training for memorizing begins even before a child learns the mother tongue, killing the child's creative abilities and its abilities for understanding meanings and values! The children and their parents are pressurized and to the highest possible levels all throughout their school education years only to be repeated again when these students become parents again a couple of years later!

In the process, most of the children who are trained through these institutions become intrinsically fearful persons who either have lost their wisdom to live a life according to their inner consciousness or become clever cheaters who do not feel the mind pinch to do any thing immoral or illegal so long as they could do those without getting caught. The children and the parents have been forced to become helpless and rotten on account of the education system forced on them by people who have never undergone through such a torture. The latter are the cleverest ones who know well to control all those who want to become great through what is being cleverly projected as the 'highest quality education'. 

Some children watch the material success of those VIPs who were managing their educational institutions and many of them are intelligent enough to understand the clever games the so-called successful people play. The children also witness how some of their teachers are exploited by the school managements. Those teachers who are not pets of those who manage the schools have been reduced to persons with no self esteem! The children also watch the benefits that some of their teachers who are the favored ones of the management get and they also sense the disparities that exist among their teachers based on various factors which are not logical or justifiable to their young minds. Some of their teachers are good teachers in their eyes but they are not that way before the management or the principal. 

The principal is the visible management representative whose main function is to enhance the institutions' image so that it attracts a steady stream of parents every year who are too willing to get their wards admitted to the institution by any means. Private managements of many of the educational institutions of India are too willing to spend much on the principal and showcase him or her as a living example of pomp and show to boost the image of the institution in the public gaze! 

It is not difficult to find such principals of private schools in India who sit in such lavishly furnished offices which could even make the CEOs of large business groups feel pretty ashamed of themselves. 

Such principals, especially those of the schools,  move around in expensive chauffeur driven vehicles! 

On the other hand, within a few hundred yards away one may also find government run schools or even some private government aided academic institutions having perceptibly higher societal importance getting much less or no facilities of that kind. 

Projecting the principal is a new technique some private educational institutions have adopted to boost the image of their school and hoodwink the gullible parents. More and more private schools and educational institutions are now resorting to this technique in India. But if you happen to talk to any such VIP head of any such institution, it is likely that you soon realize the hollowness of the person sitting on the chair as a neo-aristocrat! 

Meeting such a principal of an educational institution would be perhaps much more difficult for the parents than to meet the Chief Minister of the state. Many principals are also known to show favoritism to the parents according to the wealth and status of the latter. They treat wealthy and powerful parents with visible politeness while they show no such politeness to those parents whom they consider as of no consequence. 

Such favored parents are too happy to oblige to any request the principal may occasionally request from them! This way such principals soon become influential persons of the locality. 

Soon the wards of the less favored who happen to be students of such so-called prestigious educational institutions develop a feeling of class differentiation and a general antagonism within their minds which explodes in manners that we can never imagine, sooner or later! Wards of the lesser privileged in the locality who happen to study in such schools might develop a kind of inferiority complex which gets reflected as psychic anomalies later in their lives. 

Hype generation by educational institutions managed by societies formed by groups of people with motives and objectives for building public influence and power is understandable. At least  they are not making any false claims on morality! Again, there are many educational institutions in India which are essentially family run but officially run in the name of Societies formed by select group of individuals from the same family. Sometimes the name of the society that manages the educational institution might bear a misguiding name! But such acts are done by business oriented people who went in to the profitable education business in the guise of the non-profit societies because they had no other choice to establish such a business declaring it honestly as a profit making venture! How could any body believe that some one would spend scores of millions to establish an educational institution for charity alone? It is quite unlikely. So all those private educational institutions in India run by business groups under the banner of registered Societies are run for profits in terms of money and also for gaining influential positions in the country. That is the reason why India now has hundreds of private engineering colleges, medical colleges, universities and management institutions all competing each other to woo parents to sent their wards to them by paying high fees.

But what pinches is the manner in which even many of the educational institutions run by Christian church groups and other religious organizations slowly getting adapted to the new trends!

In the process they seem to forget what they preach and practice some thing which is not compatible with their teachings! 

The objectives in their bye laws may be good but many of these societies stand hijacked by people who do not possess the moral and ethical strengths of their predecessors. This is because of the democratic nature of these societies where it is very easy for characterless people to enforce their dominance over the majority members many of whom might be good and simple people. Such hijacked educational institutions are capable of creating much damage to the social moral fabric.

Since they could perpetuate the moral and ethical decline through the students of the concerned educational institutions they keep managing, I consider it as much more serious than those doing the education business! 

It is foolish to think that our children are blissfully ignorant about these double standards of our educational institutions set up and managed by our religious organizations! When religious organizations err, the moral damage to the society is many fold!

The educational institutions which boast of high standards and proudly announce their cent percent results in the final examinations are in reality managed by narrow minded pseudo practitioners who are too eager to exploit the ignorance and anxiety of the gullible Indian middle class parents. 

These parents are under the false concept that it is the English speaking students who find success in their career. This erroneous concept has been forced upon the gullible public minds by the very same pseudo educationists of India by using various techniques reinforced by either inaction or wrong actions by the state and central governments.

Let me categorically tell you this. I am not against English medium education. But imparting the education in a second language other than the usual mother tongue or the common language of the locality for a child is highly damaging and it actually kills its ability to understand language and meanings properly in its later years.

There exists a group of people in India who try to show to the rest of India that they are different from others by speaking in a foreign language and directly or indirectly projecting this quality as one of the essentials of measuring knowledge and educational superiority. Coupled with their outwardly lavish life styles and their peculiarly accented English speaking usually create inferiority complex in those people who are not of this category, in spite of many of the latter being better of than the former. 

This growing inferiority complex fuels the fire of aspirations of gullible middle class of India who want their future generations to acquire the much needed aristocracy through the so called English-medium education. Those who cannot fulfill this aspiration then become antagonistic to the system which generates this disparity. A new caste system begins to establish.

Children whose mother tongue is not English and who are compelled to get education in English right from the Kindergarten or nursery levels are bound to develop a language deficiency which is difficult to explain. They are highly handicapped to understand higher meanings. I have seen this deficiency in grown up people who have undergone such an education. 

In my opinion, it is not at all necessary to have English medium education for getting English language proficiency. 

Of course, English is now the international language and proficiency in this language is definitely an advantage for Indians under the present circumstances. But that does not mean that the Indian children should be taught in English right from age two. By creating a situation like this, India is generating a future generation who are not good in any language!

I am pained to read one of the clauses of the a private English medium school under their 'general guidelines for students' that is published on their website. It reads like this:

"Conversation in EnglishDuring the school hours but for Hindi classes the students are informed to converse in English which is essential in developing communicative skill in English.  Other than Hindi periods in the class and in the campus and also in the bus English must be the spoken language; if not spot fine will be charged."

So this school threatens the students to speak in English only, in the campus and also while they commute to the school by the school buses. Else they would be fined. The school is honest to declare that they do it to encourage their students to speak in English! Obviously, the school tries to tell that communication skills in English is the most important thing to develop in life as a school going boy or girl for future success! 

And this school is not an exception. There are several such schools in India who frame their ill conceived rules this manner, many of them contradicting the Constitution and the laws of the country in this manner. 

This school is managed by a society formed by Malayalam speaking members of a Kerala based church located in North India. The school administration  is carried out by an elected management committee, having very ordinary folks as its members having pretty no idea about the rules and laws that the governments issue from time to time. Effectively, they are guided by one or two external advisers who pose as chartered accountants and lawyers with some contacts in the concerned government departments. The school committee thankfully take their advises and perhaps even obliged to take 'other' kinds of helps that are required to keep them safeguarded from the government officials who are likely to pounce on them for possible violations of government directives that keep coming from time to time.

Thus a new kind of game gets started. The schools do the education business and money pours in as fees. The more the schools reputation with results and the infrastructure the more the students they get. The more the students, the more the money they get as fees. The more the money, the more the government departments come in to monitor them. The more the government scrutiny the more they have to spend to be compliant with government directives. The more they try to be compliant by unfair means, the more they spend later directly and indirectly for escaping government's punishment acts. The more such indirect acts needed for compliance, the more the chances of the managing committee members to make personal benefits!

This process then leads to a kind of give-and-take friendship among the players. Both sides become influential.

This way running any educational institution could be done by any one in India even if they do not know any thing about the law or about the field that they manage. The educational institutions in India are not managed by any eminent educationist. Any teacher or professor employed by an educational institute who is in the good books of the educational society eventually becomes an eminent educationist.  

The members of the educational society need not have any experience of their own to vouch for the efficacy of English medium education. Even the teachers need not be those who are excellent in teaching in English. What they need to have is the desire to imitate what the so called Indian educationists elsewhere are apparently doing. And that desire is not essentially based on their desire to turn their students to English speaking Anglo-Indians, but by the desire to promote a pseudo aura about the school's elitist culture that would attract more and more parents to send their children to them! And that would ensure them to earn a steady future income and also maintain their influence in the society indirectly.   

But who are responsible for this situation? It is easy to blame the over anxious parents who want the best education for their kids. But personally by analyzing the situation, I consider the parents are not to be blamed. Most parents I talk to and even me myself have been mere victims of the situation. The existing educational institutions who have been doing yeoman service to the nation have been clandestinely closed down by creating situations for their closure or non-performance. 

Is it the unholy or rather ill conceived nexus between  the governmental authorities and the private educational institutions responsible for creating such a thing to happen in India? I am not sure. 

I think it is the unwillingness of the governments to open up education system in India. It is an erroneous thinking that educational societies are formed by eminent citizens with desired levels of qualifications and experience to establish and manage educational institutions effectively for the common good of the nation. Unfortunately, the Societies Registration Acts in force in many states of India are too vague and have no practically effective supervisory controls in regulating the education activity in India. The governments control the education sector by using various administrative orders and also by controlling the examination boards , the universities and also the entrance examinations.

It is again to be stressed that eminent educationists and highly educated and experienced people who are capable of understanding the psychology of children well have no role whatsoever to play in the education management in India. Just as the Indian politics, the Indian education has also degraded to such levels that people with some self respect cannot think of associating with it! Education in India is in the hands of people associated with religion, politics and the like and they would not allow those who are not of that kind to enter into that field.

Artificial scarcity in education in India has made education black market. Helpless parents are anxious about the future education of their children. Fees are sky rocketing year after year. A parent who has a transferable and non-influential job in India posted in a city faces his or her greatest ordeal in life to get a school admission for his or her son or daughter. Many young people are shying away from having children for the dread of education for their children!

Educational societies are making a kill and are not answerable to the most important stake holders-the parents and the students. Unless one is having political blessing, no educational institution can be established. Individuals or companies are not allowed to enter into the formal education field in India.

Education stands as a clandestine business just as public transport, liquor trade, petroleum trade, health industry and the like in India. Those who know the tricks of the trade, big fortunes are awaited at the cost of the poor children and their parents! What a nice country to live on. Any wonder that the Indians who go the USA or Canada for a job do not want to return any time later?

But the worst that can happen is the hijack of Indian educational institutions established by religious organizations by those who have no religious good left in them!

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