To school principals, parents & students
By Rev. Fr. GL Khing
Representation image only
The worth of right education is better than wealth or money. But if education is diverted only for financial benefit, there will be less space for formation of students. Surprisingly, some educational institutions are heading only for financial profit. Profit is priority. Students are secondary. This has placed education upside down. Instead of learning lessons for life, students learn only how to pay fees of different kinds from January to December. Financial burdens are increasing day by day. I say this in regard to post selection exam trauma of Cl. X and Cl. XII students in some schools across Nagaland.
Selection exams for Cl. X and Cl. XII are over in most of the schools in Nagaland. But after exams, there appear various fee collections. I still wonder as to why some schools have to collect money under numerous reasons or agreement with parents. Some of the best examples are Caution/security deposit, Coaching fee, Re-exam fee (if failed in 1/2 subjects), etc. Such collections of money have become normal routine in some schools.
Parents accept this illegal routine blindly because it cost the future of their children. Many parents must be paying such amount ranging from rupees 6000 to 10,000 or even more after selection exam. The amount is high enough for many poor parents. Students who passed selection exam pay lesser amount because they are intelligent enough. With-held students are forced to pay more as per the number of failed subjects.
In other words, payment is done according to the performance of students. Is this a healthy education? Is money equivalent to intellectual caliber of students? Do students perform better when they are forced to pay money to the School? Do Students pass their examination just because they have paid the said amount to the School? I do not think it so. The Principals and heads of Institutions are free to think otherwise. But it does not suit well under the banner of quality education.
Parents are worried about the future of the children, while the school is worried about collection of money for various reasons. Yet, most money collections after selection exam are illegal and unnecessary. Schools must collect only what is necessary (eg. Board Exam fee). What is not necessary must not be collected. The aim of getting good result need not be substituted by collection of money.
One student said that he has to pay rupees 200 per failed subject to re-write the paper. Another student said that they were asked to pay rupees 50 per subject. All the more, some students were asked to pay rupees 3000 per failed subject with the promise of getting back the amount if they succeed in board exam. This is not true education at all! What if they fail, who takes the money? It is a shame that some educational institutions see failure and success in term of money.
If rupees 3000 per student is collected in the name of Coaching fee, multiply the amount according to the number of students in Cl. X and Cl. XII. Rupees 3000×150 students=4,50,000/- only. May be the whole amount is paid to those teachers who take extra classes to maintain good reputation of the school. All the same, students have already paid 12 months tuition fee. I hope there is no 13 month in the yearly calendar of the school.
Caution/security deposits are collected from students (rupees 2000×150 students=300000/- only). If a student absent himself or herself from coaching class, rupees 100/200 per day is deducted from it. Is this not a funny education? I am sure no school pays back the amount with interest after holding the money (7/8 month) till the declaration of result. Deduction takes place, but interest is not paid to students. One side of the coin does not match the other side. Are we heading for ‘financial education’ or ‘education of students’? There is much hollowness in our educational system.
Few points for further reflection:-
If students have paid 12 months tuition fee, do they still have to pay coaching fee?
If they are to pay caution deposit, does the school return the amount with interest after holding the amount for 7/8 months?
Can student pass his/her exam by paying re-exam fee (in case re-exam is held under payment as practiced is some school?)
Is money equivalent to success and failure?
Are we heading for financial education rather than formation of students?
The day to day running of educational institutions are solely under the care and guidance of the principals or heads of institution. All rules and regulations in schools are aimed to discipline and form students in the best possible means. But many schools have numerous untold laws and rules like the above mentioned realities. Let no school become institute of ‘educational extortion.’
There are better ways of succeeding in life. Education is just one way. There are better means of forming students rather than imposing financial burdens on the weak shoulders of parents and students. The above dirty face of education needs some cleansing for the betterment of students. All schools do not come under this dirty blanket.
All the same, what happens in schools and colleges are best known by the Principals, Parents and Students. In the process of aiming for best result, let us not deform young students. Change can best begin in schools. Let us not chain the expected change in our schools.
(This write-up was published in local dailies of Nagaland)