(Written by Prasad Bhopale)
Even today, nearly 25 per cent schools in Maharashtra do not have computer facilities, said a team of education experts, adding that in 2010, the state had computers only in 12 per cent schools, which went up to 64.4 per cent by 2018.
Talking about poor condition of education in the state at a press conference at Patrakar Sangh recently, Chanakya Jha, Dean (research) ISB&M Engineering College, Pune, and senior member, IEEE-USA, said, “Only 35 per cent schools have computer teachers. As a result, only 19 per cent students can use computers. In 2010, 83.1 per cent and in 2018, 88.4 per cent schools had libraries. In 2010, 62.4 per cent and in 2018, 34 per cent students were taking advantage of the facility. Even today, 30 per cent schools have drinking water problems.”
Jha, an educationist, said in 2018, a survey found that in Class V, 66 per cent students could not write the Marathi alphabet. “And 31 per cent students could not solve math problems. It raised questions on whether we approved of such an education system. Did Chhatrapati Shivaji dream of such a nation? Did Veer Savarkar dream of such a nation? The answer is no.”
Jha said Maharashtra made the maximum contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) at 35 per cent. “Yet, the education system of the state continues to be in a dismal state and its teachers are worse off. How do you imagine the future of such a state whose younger generation is being imparted education that has no merit whatsoever?” he asked.
“It seems in the last eight to nine years, there has been no improvement in the state of education in Maharashtra. Also, it seems that those who were elected from the teachers’ constituency have done nothing to make any improvement,” Jha said.
The experts said teachers were not responsible for the present condition, but were victims of the same system. “It is disconcerting to see that teachers have to beg before those who run institutes or before the government for their salaries. There are thousands of teachers who do not get their monthly salary on time, which is shocking. It is worth noting that neither education facilities nor merit has improved over the years in the state. Teachers don’t get salaries on time, pregnant teachers are deprived of special facilities and concession meant for them, forget about PF (provident fund) and pension plans for teachers… Teachers are working on a salary of Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000, akin to the amount that a daily labourer draws… The government deserves to be criticised for keeping the education system in such an abysmal state…” experts added.
Jha added, “What we need is classification of the education system, but instead teachers have been classified. Teachers have been classified into 30 categories, which include full-time teachers, contractual teachers, aided teachers, unaided teachers, old pension teachers, permanent teachers… The government should bring an end to such policies…”
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