By Mayborn Lyngdoh R | May 24, 2018
With the SSLC and HSSLC results at hand, the business mood of the schools and colleges are in tune.
Forms and prospectuses are stacked and ready. Some have already been successful in selling off a good number of them. The forms come at Rs. 300, Rs 500, Rs. 700 and so on.
Students and parents blindly purchase these forms without being actually certain of the result awaiting. Most of these forms are wasted because the students do not attain the required percentage. The forms though left unfilled, can never be reimbursed. Of course it’s not the institution’s fault. “One should know of one’s potential”.
The fees structure is one which is very lucrative. The fees-structure starts with Rs. 20,000 in most schools and colleges for the XI standard and Rs. 25,000 or more for the bachelor’s irrespective of the stream. As I was looking at the fees structure of my sister, a question dawned on me for a split of a second, “That’s a lot. Can we afford this?” We are a middle-class family, both of my parents are government servants, “Yes we can!” I then realised that that is a question that is being asked by so many families. Sadly, not everyone can say, “Yes we can!”
Last year when I was on a cab, I over-heard two men talking about the SSLC. Apparently, their children had just cleared the exam, securing the first division. The two men congratulated each other and spoke at large of the hike in fees in the recent years. One of them said, “We have come to an age where instead of having tears of joy that our children have done well in the exams, we have tears of sorrow knowing we will not be able to afford for their higher education”. It was heart-breaking.
I can only wonder how many untold stories are out there with silent tears that die every single year only to be heard by silent broken dreams and aspirations of parents who cannot afford and the young students whose gleaming eyes were forcefully shut by diabolic claws of this great business called “EDUCATION”.
This takes me to the next point to be discussed –
According to the Economic Times and Times of India dated May 31, 2017 the percapita income of an average Indian is Rs 1,03219 per annum, which means that an average Indian earns Rs 8601 per month.
Meghalaya on the other hand has a per capita Income of Rs 79,332 ( “STATE WISE DATA” (PDF). rbi.org.in. Reserve Bank of India, New Delhi. Retrieved 17 February 2017). Which means that the per capita income of an average citizen of Meghalaya is Rs. 6611.
If we are to think logically, even if the fees structure was Rs. 15000 per annum, then a family having two children who’ve just passed SSLC or HSSLC will have to live with Rs. 1,10000 for a year with all the other expenses that comes along (House rent, food, clothes, washing-powder, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, taxi-fare, bus-fare, tiffins, drinking water, uniforms, books, stationeries, shoes, slippers, socks, gas, electricity bills) that are some of the basic necessities of life.
Not all of us are blessed to have both parents, what if the parent is a single mother or a single father?
Should that family cease to exist altogether?
Shillong, the mesmerising beauty tagged with the name “Scotland of the East” and “Rock Capital of India” though is the capital of Meghalaya, you’ll find a myriad families living Below Poverty Line (BPL). A good number of them are in Nongmensong alone.
There has been many efforts which has been taken to increase the literacy rate of Meghalaya by the various ministers that were short-sighted.
A classic example is when the then Education Minister of Meghalaya decided to change the education system by advising the MBOSE to make it a best of five which means students are allowed to fail in Mathematics or Science and Technology and still pass. This was in the year 2011.
This was hailed as a masterstroke as the passing percentage did improve but sadly the outcome was something that was not expected by the then Minister. The quality of education was on a downward sloping curve while the increase in fees structure started to peak.
Most students failing in Mathematics and Science are the ones coming from the urban areas. Students in the urban areas well-grounded in language. They are less hard-working because they come from well-to-do families (Note: be reasonable enough to understand it’s not aimed at everyone).
However, students from the rustic areas normally fail in English or Alternative English because of the poor quality of education.
The passing of these undeserving students has apparently led to an influx in demand for education in institutions. This influx basically comes from the passing of those undeserving students who can afford any fees structure put in front of them.
It would not be wrong to say that education is slowly but steadily becoming a bourgeois enterprise. In the next generation, Meghalaya will be divided into two sections “Haves” and “Have Nots”. One will be the reigning generation of masters that will filtrate from generation to generation, and the other, a generation of bonded servants to serve. You can argue and be try to be as delusional as you can, “Knowledge is power” and as far as India is concern, formal education is the parameter.
P.S. There are too many students that drop-out because education is becoming too expensive. It’s time we recognize.
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