News published on Bihar Times (Online news of Bihar) on 7th of Oct 2009
Patna, (BiharTimes): The state government is planning to completely dissociate teachers from the Mid-Day Meal Scheme as it is taking a huge toll on the education of the children. It is also working on alternative mechanism to monitor and run the Scheme. Help of some NGOs are being sought in this direction. The state government has sent teams to Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Tamil Nadu to study the implementation of Scheme in those states.
The move is in response to the growing demand for dissociating teachers from the job as it harms teaching in schools. The report of the Comptroller And Auditor General (CAG) had also pointed out at loss of precious teaching time due to involvement of teachers in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
Besides, the Scheme has encouraged widespread corruption and in many schools there are reports of poor quality of meal being served to the children. One of the headmasters posted in Buxar district told bihartimes.com that the Scheme has become a headache for honest man like him as he is unable to keep everyone from panchayat to education department in good humour. Besides, he said no class is possible after the fourth period as teachers get involved in serving meal.
Associating teachers in any other activities other than teaching will be disatrous for the education quality in the govenment school.
Teacher-students ratio is already worst in the sate and pushing extra activities will take their time off from teaching. An NGO prabhat in Sarmera Block of Nalanda is conducting a survey of government schools and we have some primary data which shows following trends:
1. Unsually high number of registered students, sometime more than the total children in the school catchment area.
2. Attendance registers are showing inflated number of attendance.
3. In many schools midday meal is never given, in some school it was distributed last year for some time (and in same period there was visit of some officers to monitor the school).
4. In all schools visited there was no seperate kitchen. In side of a class room there was small earthen stove (chulha) and often children have to study in the same class room if some day they decided to cook some midday meal.
5. Material were sold before it arrived to school.
6. One teacher (normally head teacher) has to be busy in bringing grains, selling grains, attending meeting etc.
7. Most of the schools under monitoring have 1-3 teachers and often only one teachers are present controling more than 100 children. In some cases the school is upper primary with more than 300 registred children with 2 teachers (1 teachers often present).
8. Often result of those schools are very good (more than 90% pass with some 50% excellent result).
9. In one particular village where NGO is running a school, the attendance of the children in the government school has dropped to 5-10 (froms 200+ ) but they are still showing high attendance of the children.
Now one can guess what is happening there…
They have to show high attendace for getting more grain, to show good record of the school which serve objective of Bihar Govt as well as school teachers.
In recent year performance record of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan from Bihar has been excellent however reality is very different.
In next few months we will be publishing our survey…
Currently in UK
(Guiding and monitoring activities of Prabhat in Bihar)