A six-year old was sexually assaulted in her school premises in Bengaluru recently following which a school teacher was arrested. The chairman of the school was also picked up by the police from near Mumbai after being on the run.
So, the question is – have schools become just another business in India? BoomNews’s show #IndiaHangout discussed the issue with Dhanya Rajendran, Editor, newsminute.com, Dilip Thakore, Editor, Education World and Krishna Khanna, Chairman, iWatch Foundation.
Dhanya felt that some reactions in Bengaluru were mindless outrage.
Thakore said running private schools in India is a complex process. “That’s why we have people with no expertise in the area running schools. Police should maintain records of all people working in schools. There is a shortage of one million teachers in India now, and it is not correct to say schools don’t care.”
Khanna felt that strong pre-primary education is missing in India. “Our house is not in order. Only competition can clean out bad schools.”
Dhanya said that most of us, including people involved in running in schools, are unawares about legislations regarding child sexual abuse. “How do we have a registry in this country with a record of child abusers?”
Thakore made a strong point about the importance of strong parent-teacher associations in schools. “We feel education begins at the dinner table. Parents have to be involved in the activities of schools. They cannot have a hands-off approach.”
While teachers in Government schools today get 3-5 times more salaries than other teachers, there is a question of governance in Government schools. “Teaching does not get the respect it deserves. Govt schools can be handed over to the local communities. Parents have to get involved in running schools.”
Khanna said that while parents may be making a lot of money, they may not be spending time with their children. “Parents have to spend a lot of time with kids. And while we got political freedom in 1947 and economic freedom in 1991, We still have not got intellectual freedom.”