The education ministry has reportedly come up with a final draft of the sorely needed education act. An education act should have been drawn up along with the education policy in 2010, in order to ensure implementation of the policy. As it is, even with a law in place, rules and regulations are not followed in general. So it is only too obvious how harmful the absence of a law can be. Our education sector is a glaring example.
Due to the culture of coaching, teachers hardly bother to impart lessons in class, whether at a primary level or in college. Textbooks are pushed aside for notebooks, guides and other ‘quick-fix’ alternatives. It had been hoped that the ‘creative’ exam system would encourage the students to concentrate more on their main textbooks, but that did not happen.
There has been no law to curb such damaging practices. A ‘soft’ draft of an education act was drawn up last December, allowing certain ‘practice books’ and ‘supplementary books’. And it also included provision for ‘shadow studies’, which actually gave a go-ahead to coaching and private tuition. Thankfully, in face of protest from various conscious quarters, the draft was sent back for review.
It is good news that the new draft prohibits the coaching business, private tuition, note books, supplementary and practice books. Violation of these rules can result in imprisonment, fine and, in the case of government jobs, termination of service. MPO-registered non-government schools will be struck off the MPO list if found guilty of eight different violations of the rules.
The draft education act is beneficial in many ways. We hope it is approved by the cabinet as it is and then placed and passed in the parliament. However, the biggest challenge is its proper implementation. Attention must be paid to teaching in the classroom, studying the actual textbooks and developing the thirst for knowledge.