Chennai, Jun 11 (ILNS) The Madras High Court has expressed serious concern over the quality of education imparted in government schools and observed that students from marginalised sections and rural students studying in Government schools should be provided quality education on par with students studying in private schools.
The appeals have been filed against the order of the Single Judge upholding the GO of School Education Department dated September 6, 2013, by which the benefit of counting of service rendered as Secondary Grade Teachers is denied to the appellants by cancelling the earlier beneficial GO dated December 30, 2011.
The Division Bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice T V Thamilselvi on Tuesday noted, “Since the matter relates to Primary School Head Masters, it is appropriate to look into the conditions of the school students, who are studying in Government Schools, especially in rural areas.
“Though up last generation, students mostly studied in Government Schools, nowadays the number of students who are getting admitted in Government Schools, is shockingly decreasing and the Private Schools have become more popular due to quality education imparted and very good infrastructures provided.
“Lack of infrastructures in the Government Schools and poor quality of education being provided to the Government School students are the reasons for less admission of students in Government schools,” it added.
The Court said, “It is seen that even though the Government School Teachers are paid handsome salary when compared to Private School Teachers, who get very less salary and work for more hours, education being given to Government School students cannot be compared with Private School Students.
“Infrastructures including labs, libraries and toilets are properly provided in Private Schools. Due to poor quality of education, the Government school students could not get admission in medical colleges, the Government was compelled to bring 7.5 percent special reservation for the Government School students in medical admission.”
The Court held, “One more important practical problem faced by Government School teachers is that they have to face non-cooperative parents. Whenever students are questioned for not attending classes or not coming to the School regularly, non-cooperative parents make complaints against the teachers, leading to departmental proceedings against them.
“This kind of unwanted behaviour of some of the parents is also responsible for losing of interest by Government School teachers and for deterioration in the standard of education in the Government Schools. It is also stated that there is lack of enthusiasm among the teachers in the rural areas to impart education to the students as many of the teachers are stated to be involved in various other private avocations and concentrate on them.
“Similarly, children in rural areas also do not exhibit much interest due to their poor background and lack of parental guidance due to their poverty and literacy,” it added.
The Court opined that though Tamil Nadu is the hub of higher education, the standard of school education, especially in rural areas and Government schools, is stated to be substandard.
The Bench observed that a student studying in V standard is unable to write his name. Further, the total strength of Government Elementary Schools having classes up to Vth standard is said to have gone down shockingly and there are only few students in toto, who are being taught by a single teacher for all subjects. This would go to show that something is very wrong in the school education being provided in Government schools, which needs to be addressed urgently.
The Union Ministry of Education released Performing Grading Index (PGI) report on June 6, 2021, which shows that though Tamil Nadu being among top three States in School Education, has got the lowest score among southern States in learning outcome and quality domain for the academic year 2019-2020.
According to ASER 2018 report, one in four Tamil Nadu children in Class VIII were not able to read Class II level text and only 50 percent students studying in Class VIII were able to do division.
In view of the above position, the Court hopes that a committee would be constituted with experts and academicians to look into the reasons for poor quality of education in Government Schools and suggest corrective measures or the Government on its own taken any other corrective measures to enhance the quality of school education in Government schools.
Even though the Madurai Bench of this Court has given direction before five years to provide toilet facilities and compound wall to all Government Schools, it seems that the said order has not been implemented. A status report also has to be filed in this regard, the Court said.
Nalini Chidambaram, Senior Counsel, intervened and submitted that in Karnataka, Government Schools are being adopted by industries, which are operating in the surrounding areas and such model is working effectively.
Therefore, the Government could take a clue from the said submission and ask the industries to adopt one or two Government Schools, so that infrastructures and the standard of education would be improved.
It is also submitted by Neelakandan, State Government Counsel appearing for the Respondents that proper steps are being taken to improve the quality of education being provided at the elementary school level.
“The State Government Counsel has to file a status report with regard to constitution of committee as suggested by this Court or any other measures taken by the Government on its own to look into the factors affecting the school education in Government Schools, especially in rural areas and suggest appropriate measures to improve the quality of education and the implementation of the order passed by the Madurai Bench of this Court directing provision of toilets in every school and construction of compound walls on the next date of hearing,” the Court ordered. The Court has fixed the next hearing of the Petition on August 02, 2021. ILNS/AP/RJ