Editorial

It is widely accepted that accountability is a major concern and plays a vital role for any programme to be successful. Not only in India but for the last two decades in the United States too, there has been regular effort to move to a standard-based accountability system and encouragingly, success to some extent has been recorded. Many social and educational reforms are under marked due to the lack of accountability. It is quite frequent and persistent these days to learn that students collapse in the examination halls of heart attacks. We come across other incidents where any compelling and influential person in favour of any trust and as a secretary running a number of schools, engineering, M.B.A. and B. Ed. Colleges, badly treats and punishes a child admitted to the school. As a result the child leaves the school and never gets admitted anywhere even if the ‘Right to Education’ (RTE) act has already been passed. In spite of the ongoing reforms in education we are unable to withdraw pressure and fear from the formal set up. Government through RTE act came with a vision of Education for All at elementary level. Getting rid of examination-fear and mandatory promotion from standard one to eight are two of the provisions of RTE. Where is the provision needed at the secondary level to overcome the pressure of the formal set up? Is everything fine regarding examination after standard eight? No, the suicidal attempts and the other social and psychological pressures are more prominent at secondary and higher education. There is a big difference between the presence during examination and the classroom presence at college level. At many places the college faculty conducts the exam seriously but does not seem serious and devoted to the teaching. The exam oriented education has been prominent for last few decades and so we lack the natural association between study and life and thus the pressure builds in the minds of the students or learners. The rote or mechanical memorization and the knowledge based approach are the key factors of our exams. We should shift towards the problemsolving, creative, logical-thinking, ongoing instruction and application-based assessment instead of the knowledge and prediction-based assessment. Even in China there is a view that examination scores should no longer be the only standard for evaluating students in the future. The educational policy making authority always frames plans and releases a series of reform policies for public opinion in due course of time. After all, exams are the means not the end. Focus should be on the process whereas the product needs no extra pressure.

The British House of Commons through Children, Schools and Family Committees suggests that schools should be held publicly accountable for their performance as providers of an important public service. In India all bodies in the administrative or executive system perform their duty based on the EDITORIAL accountability towards the employer or authority and not towards the grass rooted units. This has created a sub-system to maintain records in files and computers with no scope and intention to get the schemes realized in the schools & colleges. For instance, providing mid-day meal is good and appreciable but concentrating and working for the whole day for it is not psychologically right. Conditioning the children to involve in study by linking to the foremost primary need i.e. food should be the aim. The teachers should not be only accountable to manage food but the education of the child too. Similarly the rules made for opening schools, colleges; including engineering, MBA, and B. Ed., are in line with the wishes of the money and power oriented entity. It is found now that the noble wishes needed to run an educational wing is absent in institutional managements and money-making remains the main objective of the person in power. On the other hand person with the capability to apply the social and psychological aspect of education may struggle against the irreversible constraints. If we want to make the mission of education successful we should try to make the good-wish dominant over power.

There is again a disgusting practice to assign project works these days based on internet access. We are getting our children mostly dependent on purely digital realm. The worst of all, the students are much involved in electronic gadgets and books are piled in libraries. It is a rarity these days to find adolescents bending over books, the common sight nowadays are people huddled in front of screens, small or big mobiles or tablets, TVs or computers. We need to revive bookreading practice in students so that they can feel the essence of friendliness and affability in books.

With Best Wishes