a slap in lieu of a result

Final exams are just little over a month away and all pwhy kids are busy revising. Government schools held their usual end of term exams in December and we all waited for the results to help us structure our revision programme.

When no result was forthcoming by mid January, we asked the children to find out from their class teachers when these would be available. The next day, little Jyoti from our Govindpuri section came back telling us that she had been slapped by her teacher for having dared ask! We were ready to go and meet the teacher in question but were stopped by the children. Their scared eyes spoke volumes. They knew that our visit would result in more unwarranted abuse.

In another school, children were told that the papers had not been checked as schools had been closed for a few days because of the severe cold. In yet another school, answer sheet lay strewn on the floor at the mercy of rodents.

All in all, we could only gather half of the results.

This is but another example of the state of municipal and government schools. It is a cause of worry as marks of each terminal exam are included in the finals. We were also told that if a child has 75% attendance he automatically passes into the nest class. No wonder than that there are kids in class V who are unable to read or write. They will swell the ranks of drop outs as they reach class VI!

Almost everyday one can find some news item or the other about the abysmal state of government schools in the capital: no toilets, no drinking water, no classrooms, no teachers...One of the reasons for this deplorable situation is undoubtedly the lack of a literate and empowered parents' group. With the proliferation of shady small teaching shops a.k.a. public schools, only the poorest of the poor land in municipal schools. They simply sit on the benches - or floor - marking time till they exit the school in class V. many will never make it further.

There is something extremely lopsided or insidious about the various policies for the poor. One startling example is the reservation policy in higher education. With the present state of primary education no deserving candidate can ever make it to the portals of an engineering college or medical school. It is only when we clean up the state of primary education that a tangible change can begin to happen.