Private Spoon Feeding

It's a menace. Period. 

By Riyaz Kazmi

TIME again, a wave of moral depravity starts spreading its tentacles and underpinning the current sad state of affairs.Once the board exams were over, the private coaching centers couldn't wait for a day or two to give some space or breather to all those dead tired candidates whom they aim to tempt and trap by their aggressive marketing gimmicks. When business or weather vagaries are out of gear, at least this sector has created such a hype and urgency among the parents to shell out their hard earned money and enroll their children in these centers without giving a second thought.

For me, coaching centers or companies are one and the same thing; they know how to achieve sales targets by aggressive marketing campaigns. Since 5th Aug 2019, when all other businesses were incurring huge economic losses and continue to do so, private coaching is one of the pursuits which is in full bloom and mushrooming rapidly.

It is annoying and astonishing to be a witness to this unending rat race. Earlier it was STD outlets, now building malls, investing in diagnostic centers or establishing coaching centers have become the norm of the day for most of the Kashmiris.

There are certain things which have not changed or have created this situation over the last 3 decades and if we do not take a call at the earliest, things will turn uglier in near future. Some of the lacunas that we are still facing are as under:

Tunnel Vision

Here in Kashmir, a majority of parents cannot think beyond MBBS and BE/B.Tech. It seems as if they have put on blinkers and are unable to see the other good things around. It doesn't matter to them whether these reluctant or aspiring doctors and engineers have the ability or not but most of them are being pushed against the wall and they haven’t found the way or the freedom to do that which they like the most. There are hundreds of new emerging fields which if pursued sincerely, will not only help students sustain but they can shine and prosper as well. Parents need to be very realistic about suitable fields where children can willingly work hard to prove themselves.

Lack Of Counseling

It should be one of the responsibilities of the schools to counsel all those out going students who had spent more than 18 long years to pursue their studies there. Who better can understand these kids than the teachers who had taught them for years to guide and help them to choose the fields where they can easily excel and be independent. By this initiative, poor students will not become an easy prey for exploitation.

Lack of Exposure

Had there been proper life coaching lessons being imparted among the students to guide and groom them reasonably, things would have been very much different and bright. They could have enough confidence to try new fields and never remain stuck to medical/non medical fields only. Unfortunately, we are only after achieving academic excellence without trying out the experience and exposure to various life changing and challenging experiences.

Brawling Hotspots

It does come as a surprise for us to see teenagers fighting quite frequently in the areas where coaching centers have sprung up. These have become their favorite hangout spots. They are rough and rude. There is so much of chaos on the streets due to traffic snarls when these young boys get involved in road rage and medieval duels for teenage romances. Shouldn’t there be a check and tab over such incidents? Those at the helm of affairs should understand that no other girl should have to suffer like our martyr Romana or are they only concerned about their course fee?

Exorbitant Fee Structure

When the entire valley is bearing the brunt of economic strangulation, it seems as if these centers are left unbridled to charge as much as they can without any rule and reasonability. “Chalta Hai Chalnay Do” (who cares). This has become the mindset of people who have the power and authority. Orders remain only on papers while the ground action and implementation is a distant dream.

Excessive Intake

Unfortunately, when the enthusiastic parents out of their hard earned money arrange the course fee, they forget to take other things into account while enrolling their wards. They overlook the class capacity in these tuition centers which is always stretched beyond the maximum limit. Shouldn't these parents introspect and see whether their children will be receptive and responsive in such a crowded atmosphere?

Derailed Education System

One of the major reasons for this mess is the poor quality of education in the secondary and higher secondary schools run by the government. There seems hardly any accountability on behalf of the government teachers, lecturers and professors. There is no check on their performance and nothing has been done to evaluate whether they are capable enough to deliver or not.

Mere delivering of one or two lectures is not going to work, given the hefty monthly salaries they are drawing from state exchequer. It should be the moral and social responsibility of the state employed teachers to create such a competitive, convenient atmosphere in the government run institutions that the enrolled students shouldn't feel a need to rely upon private coaching centers. This is not only going to save their precious time but can ease off the financial burden on their families as well. It is high time for the government teachers to come out of their comfort zone and start delivering for the greater good of the society. In this regard, district administrations should assign duties to a team of dedicated officers who will regularly monitor the attendance in these institutions.

It is noteworthy to mention here that even students of elite private schools, where fee structures always keep skyrocketing, also take tuitions in the private coaching centers. Are not the administrators of these schools answerable and accountable for the quality of education as well? In the West and the Middle East, we hardly see students being encouraged to take private learning lessons. Everything is done then and there in the schools. Why can’t we implement the same system here to put an end to this nuisance of ‘private spoon feeding’?

Conclusion

First and foremost, it is the responsibility of the administration to see if there is an adequate competent staff available in the schools and colleges who can smoothly meet the requirements of the students. In every college, new state of art teaching tools like language labs, smart classes are being procured and placed at the disposal of the teachers and students so that the teaching process becomes easy and effective. But if some scrupulous elements still create loopholes that push students into the trap of private coaching centers, then it will be nothing but a sort of moral corruption and ugly blot on those who could change these mal practices despite having the authority but lack concrete action.

Let’s not be so ignorant and irresponsible that we create a space and hand over the helm of affairs to those who are trying to convert our 'Makhtabs' into money minting entities, enterprises and exploitation units!


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

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