The Way It Should Be

The Way It Should Be

The Ideal School Competition held earlier this year in Thane city was a uniquely designed event that helped in gaining significant insights into the machinery of primary and secondary schools. The contest was a first-of-its-kind project driven by self-assessment, which provided the participating schools an opportunity for introspection. It was like self-appraisal of schools. The evaluation criteria in the competition focussed on the over-all development of the child and not just academics. Sports, extra curricular activities like drawing and craft etc., parent-teacher relations, and even sanitation facilities, were inspected.

The results of the competition are expected to go a long way in helping the schools understand their lacks and work upon them. The project has also brought to the forefront the many issues that smaller public schools face.

Some of the key conclusions are described below.

Interaction and cooperation between parents and teachers was found to be a rather useful quality. It was unanimously agreed that understanding between parents and teachers helps the schools run several useful schemes and programmes for the students. The interaction also helps ease the financial burden on the schools to a certain extent. Schools must seriously encourage such relations.

Regarding facilities, there was more bad news than good. Many schools in the city have inadequate space – the school buildings and class rooms are congested and this puts a limit on the number of students they can admit. Several schools don’t even have a playground. This deprives students of sports and other outdoor activities which are vital for the overall development of a child.

For a school to offer/maintain a certain level of service to its students, funds are required. It was observed that often aided schools do not get grants on time & unaided schools are unable to raise funds through donations as this source is looked upon suspiciously by the society.

The schools located in border areas of Thane Municipal Corporation limits are all relatively new and confront the problem of funds even more than established schools. This is because most students seeking admissions in these schools belong to the lower strata of the society and cannot afford anything beyond basic fees.

One interesting discovery that the ratio of new students seeking admissions was heavily skewed in favour of the English Medium schools. Only 25 per cent of all students sought admissions to vernacular medium schools, with the remaining opting for schools with English as the primary medium of instruction.

On the positive side, despite several constraints, most school authorities display tremendous enthusiasm and dedication. The panel of judges agreed that good leadership helps the school in pooling all the resources, motivating the staff and students alike, exposing students to different pastures and seeking active participation from parents and the society.

As we had reported in an earlier story, it is a known fact that there is a directly proportionate relationship of good educational facilities to student performance. Research proves that better facilities in a school get translated into superior performance of its students. When the concerned authorities fail to monitor and control the sphere of education, it is left upon the society to initiate self-governance. Projects such as the Ideal School Competition are good examples of what can be done. What started off as an idea that most people discarded as unworkable, went on to be quite successful. The Rotary Club of Thane and all others who were involved in organising the competition deserve to be congratulated for taking up such a noble project for the benefit of the society.

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