KANCHA ILAIAH SHEPHERD | 29 APRIL, 2019
Suicides, the Education Racket, and the Beginnings of a New Society
The racketeers are government ministers, managing all the parties
The intermediate examination board of Telangana has created a massive systemic crisis. Some 20 students have already committed suicide and many more are likely to die. The solution to this problem does not lie in simply recounting the marks in the answer sheets, nor in revaluating them. The problem is much bigger.
It is rooted in the massive private college network that controls the educational administrative structures. The Narayana and Srichaitanya kind of monopoly private education rackets have destroyed the mid-foundational education system. They have now entered into the school educational racket, in the name of concept schools.
These private racketeers did four major things:
1) They established a chain of junior colleges, schools and coaching centres across two states.
2) In Telangana and Andhra, through massive advertisement capital they have pushed it to the two states’ family system up to tribal areas to think that only in private institutions is good education available. They admit lakhs of students by mobilising from villages, towns and cities by destroying the family economic structure.
They manage paid ranks for a few dozens of students, and immediately after the results pump massive advertisement capital into media networks and indulge in all-out war on the psychology of parents and children.
3) This leads to massive admission drives into residential and day scholar private intermediate and coaching centres. They have a massive residential school network. They break the nerve system of students by making them mug up, not study, and learn without sleep, without recreation, from a very young age.
They break the family economy by making them pay lakhs for this uncreative, torturous educational fraud.
4) They have come to control, at a larger level, the state governments. Unfortunately Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu initiated a bad practice by admitting Ponguru Narayana, the kingpin of this network, into the Telugu Desam Party. Narayana is the face of the biggest inter-educational racketeers in the two states.
Not only that, Babu made him minister because of the loot money he garners. Further he admitted an illiterate educational racketeer, Malla Reddy, into the party and made him MP. Reddy has now bought over KCR and become a minister in Telangana.
The private school, inter and degree college managements are virtually running the states, with ill gotten money.
In my view, although private school, intermediate and degree college education up to private deemed universities are perpetrating unethical, immoral, corrupt and substandard educational racketeering. The biggest damage has been done by the intermediate education system.
To root out the rot, both Telugu states must immediately abolish the intermediate system, and every high school must teach Class 11 and 12 students within the same school.
A terminal board examination must be conducted only after Class 12, with a rigorous internal examination after Class 10. If this system is strengthened with good English-medium and one Telugu language teaching up to Class 12, even at village level schools standards will go up, and parents won’t have to spend on plus-2 level education.
Secondly, sending children away from the village setting to faroff urban colleges could be avoided.
Permitting Sanskrit instead of Telugu at the inter-level as the second language, has become a marks management mechanism. No student learns actual Sanskrit. Sanskrit must be removed and Telugu must be made compulsory.
After this crisis the indication is that the Telangana government is thinking in terms of abolishing the Board of Intermediate, and wants to merge the 10+2 into a continuous 1 to 12 at the school level, on the SBSE model. This is most welcome.
But there is a possibility that the intermediate and private school lobbies will resist this change. The government must do it anyway, without bowing to the pressures of the private educational lobbies.
In Andhra Pradesh if Jaganmohan Reddy comes to power he must abolish intermediate immediately.
But let us not forget that the private intermediate and coaching institutional lobbies have established strong political nerve-controlling mechanisms in all political parties. They have not left any party, including the communist parties, who could never think of coming to power in these two states, but are nevertheless being managed by these lobbies.
Many junior and schoolteacher leaders of all political ideologies are involved in establishing private schools, junior colleges, and massive moneymaking coaching centers.
Government junior college teachers, who are making big money by teaching in the Narayana and Srichaitatya kind of colleges and coaching centres, push their money, muscle and organisational power into play.
They know that once the system changes in Telangana, whoever is in power the Andhra Pradesh cannot escape the change.
Such a change in the education system will reduce a lot of money that gets pushed into the election system. This is because the private educational managements give a lot of money to the parties, having looted the innocent parents of the students. This nexus must be broken.
They will not allow the change very easily. Student and civil society organisations must build the pressure. The movement started in Telangana should also catch up in Andhra Pradesh.
The very same power brokers earlier bent the back of KCR when he consistently talked about a KG to PG system of education in the government sector. He stopped talking about KG to PG free education for all.
The same people are opposed to English medium coming into government schools. Many school and junior college teachers’ leaders are running private English medium schools. No government school or junior college should be allowed in the name of a government school or junior college teacher or their spouse.
The abolition of the intermediate system and its merger with the government school system will be opposed by the junior lecturer associations, on the ground that they are not meant to teach in the high schools. Unlike the junior colleges, schools are spread all over rural villages. They will say that junior lecturers won’t go and teach in the deeper villages.
The governments have to deal with them very firmly. So long as the junior college grade teachers remain on the rolls they will have to teach class 11 and 12 within the schools. But they can be posted anywhere.
Earlier, when Rajashekhar Reddy introduced English medium in government schools, teachers played the trick that we are meant to teach only in Teleugu medium. Anti-teaching forces must be firmly dealt with.
The abolition of intermediate will begin a new phase in our education system. The school education system of the whole of India should come under one pattern. The CBSE model, so far, is the best.
If every village child completes Class 12 within the village school a new society begins to take shape.
Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is a political theorist, social activist and author. Cover Photograph: Inspired by Rohith Vemula, political street art on Mumbai’s streets