For four years in a row, Bidar came last among the districts ranked according to the performance in the Secondary School Leaving Certificate examination.
With 67. 95 per cent of students passing, the district stood 34th on the list. Last year, it stood in the same place, though the pass percentage was slightly less at 63.32 percent. The results of 2011 examination were similar. Concerned citizens say it is time the State government focussed on this issue. It has remained among the last five districts for over a decade now.
“The question is not why we are here, but what to do next?” says Channabasappa Halahalli, president of the district development forum, an NGO. He feels the government should come up with a special plan for the five districts on the bottom of the list or those with less than average results. “The government has to commission a study to understand reasons behind this failure and then come up with district-specific solutions to address those problems,” he said.
V.B. Chandrashekar, head of the Vidya Education Society, objects to the non-retention policy from classes 1 to 10. We don’t assess students properly at primary classes. “There is no system of reward for hard working students nor punishment for the lazy ones. We push them to the next class till they reach 10th. The number of students appearing for SSLC increases, but their performance suffers,” he said. “Over 90 per cent of schools in the district are government schools. Their quality has been falling since the State government stopped the system of school inspections 13 years ago. Now, teachers in these schools are not answerable to any authority, including the local government bodies like zilla panchayat, the department of education or the State government, Abdul Quadeer, secretary of the Allama Iqbal Trust, said.
Basavaraj Biradar, a member of the Zilla Abhivruddhi Horata Samiti, feels the problems begins with the recruitment of teachers. The system is not transparent. We routinely hear of allegations of corruption and favouritism in the appointment of teachers. The government should fix it, he said.
Some leaders seem the general neglect of Hyderabad Karnataka by the government is evident in its educational performance. “It is not just Bidar, but all HK districts suffer from low pass percentage. Continued neglect of the region by successive governments is reason behind it,” says Baburao Honna, Communist Party of India leader.
The district administration is putting in place a series of measures to improve the results, P.C Jaffer, Deputy Commissioner, said.
“Any attempt to improve our results should have to be planned with a long-term perspective. That is why we are looking at starting summer classes for higher primary classes. If such an intervention is organised for five years, it will strengthen the foundation. There are around 650 vacancies in primary and high schools. We will have additional teachers on a temporary basis till these vacancies are filled by the State government. We will start bridge courses for students who join secondary classes. As a short term measure, we will organise remedial classes for students who fail in Kannada, English and science,” he said.