With the hectic competition today youth want to be perfect in whatever they attempt to do whether it is in academic studies, sports or cultural activities.
Therefore the education in A.P. Municipality Act 1965 under section 130 with Rule 42 of Taxation and Finance, rules appended to the APM ACL 1965, have become more flexible in the establishment of their schools and bringing perfection in their approach.
According to this policy the municipality can incur expenditure connected with education on the items like training of teachers and maintenance of schools etc. Aiming at perfection the municipal schools also aim at excellence and that is possible by introducing the following policies:
Establishment and maintenance of schools
Construction and maintenance of school buildings
Training of teachers
Excellence would mean giving our best in whatever we do. Our best efforts are different from another person’s best efforts, and these cannot be compared because everyone has strengths and limitations. Therefore, “education in the A.P. Municipality Act as mentioned in the section 31, would appoint committees to tap the inner resources of their staff and students. They would appoint committees to formulation of reviews, and general superintendence of development programmes, relating to education and welfare of SCs, BCs and women and children among others.
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The post – Independence India placed great significance on the education of its citizens, and reaching literacy to the nook and corner of the country. The founding fathers of the nation and the constitution makers did not feel the necessity to make education a fundamental right as they thought that the State will leave no stone unturned in making everyone educated all literate. But the State and the central Government failed to live up to the expectation of the founding fathers of the nation and both fell flat on this basic and fundamental duty. Education is not even mentioned explicitly as an area of core concern for municipalities in A.P. and it is a grey area. It is taking cue from section 31A above that the role of municipalities in “managing” education is restricted. The administrative function of appointing head masters and teachers in the municipal schools, managing and disbursing their salaries, promoting and transferring the staff, and maintaining the upkeep of the municipal schools under their management is taken care by the municipal authorities. But most of these academic functions rest with the education department.
The target of universal education remained a mirage with large sections of the society unable to send their little ones to school. Even primary education, not to speak of higher education did not reach the door – steps of larger number of people. In A.P. Municipal schools exist only in 13 districts of the 23 districts in the state. Nearly 2100 Municipal schools are functioning in the state. About 1400 primary schools, 400 Upper primary schools, and 300 Secondary schools are functioning in the state. Over 3.5 lakh children are enrolled in these schools, and 8100 teachers are working in the municipal schools with teacher – pupil ratio of 1:45, 1:49, and 1:40 in primary, upper primary and secondary schools respectively. But one tends to question these students who are enrolled in these Municipal schools, how far they have acquired knowledge in self confidence/ one tends to question the regularity of the teachers to the school and the credibility of their work.
1.5.2 Municipal Schools in Vijayawada – Krishna District, A.P
Vijayawada, also called “Vidyalawada” (place of education) occupies a large amount of the educational infrastructure of Andhra Pradesh. The city was named “the educational Sahara” by a foreign ambassador.
Education in the city is implemented by both the government and private institutions. Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) takes care of the government educational institutions.
Municipalities responsible for opening / up-gradation of schools in the urban areas are under Municipal Corporation. A Municipality is a unit for all purposes. All teachers in a municipality are under one unit for purposes of promotion or reversion etc. Panel committee in the municipality has the authority for promotion of teachers. Teachers are transferred from one school to another in the same municipality. Municipal authorities inspect the schools. Salaries of teaching and non teaching staff are paid by the government. But it is reduced to the extent of educational tax collected by the municipality.
RTE Act 2009, reminds the schools to include in the curriculum “basic hygiene, environmental cleanliness, good social etiquette and political behavior.” (Act 6.5) as well as life skills (Act 6.6) together with the emphasis on, not only on one’s rights but on one’s studies specially to society. (Act 6.8)
(Act 7.6 B) insists on developing and enforcing “standards for training of teachers”. The policy (4.14) states that “thorough periodic training the teachers are equipped with up – to – date knowledge and pedagogical skills including the use of new educational technologies. In the changed and rapidly changing scenario good habits of work-ethics are inculcated”.
Trends in enrollment show a clear shift to private schools in urban areas like Vijayawada. The municipal schools lag behind in the following areas – lack of motivation to the staff, poor infrastructure, lack of sanitation facilities, lack of subject, lack of adequate teachers, teacher absenteeism, usage of the age old methodologies in teaching English, faulty examination system etc are some of the factors leading to poor performance of students, resulting in low demand for these municipal schools.
It is said that teachers must dare to learn things beyond the syllabus and make learning enjoyable using some useful teaching aids. There is a slow and gradual realization among the educationists, that the families of the poor students who attend municipal schools still remain poor in spite of their going to school. This is due to lack of proper teaching facilities in government schools which stick to minimum education.
Professor Martin Woodhead also said that there is a need to reform government schools to deliver quality education at least for the sake of those poor who will still continue to send only their boys to private schools. Government schools will still be a boon to girl child education.
While the reality reflects the above expectation what is noticed among the municipality schools is much distant and out dated from the reality.
Class rooms: Inadequacy of rooms to accommodate is a problem in municipal high schools. Problems exist with regard to ventilation and sufficient space for all the children in all the class rooms.
Headmaster’s office and staff room: In the urban municipal schools in Vijayawada there is one room that is used as the Head Master’s room as well as the office with the files stacked behind. There is no adequate place to store and exhibit the various shields, trophies and mementos won by the school and its teams.
Laboratories: There is no exclusive space for a laboratory in any of the schools visited. There are a small number of demonstrable aids and equipment in high schools, but the same are stacked in cupboards inside classrooms. In the case of an upgraded school, laboratory equipment is being borrowed from a neighbouring school and the same is returned after demonstration in the class.
Library: Libraries ideally provide access to books in addition to the classroom texts and create a link with the developments taking place outside. Storage of books in the best of municipal schools is found not satisfactory. Books are not made accessible to the students for whom they are meant to be additional reading material.
Common rooms for girls: The Government of India has embarked on a mission to retain girls in schools through the National Programme Education for Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL). Urban slums in Municipalities and Corporations of the four districts including Krishna district was covered under the programme. It was seen that such room existed in one high school, but was not being utilized for the purpose. The newly constructed rooms were being used as staff rooms for female teachers.
Drinking water and Toilets: Drinking water for children has not been uniformly provided in all municipal schools. Sanitation facilities or toilets in schools are shared by the students and the teachers. This is a cause for concern as drop out among girls is normally attributed to poor sanitation conditions in schools.
Playgrounds: Due the scarcity of space in urban areas, it is hard to find municipal schools with adequate space for play ground for the students.
Furniture for Staff and Students: Municipal schools have been lacking in furniture for its students. There are hardly any municipal schools, at all levels, which have been benches for all the children. This could possibly be one of the reasons for the parents in shifting their children to private schools.
Performance: Looking at the results achieved by municipal schools over the years, it is found that the pass percentage has been a mixed bag of success and failures. Some of the students of VMC have excelled academically despite adversities.
The performance of Municipal School students in SSC Board exams over the last three years is consistently on an average 60%.
Performance of Municipal School Students in SSC Exams
2008 – 09
2009 – 10
2010 – 11
As is seen from the table above the performance of municipal schools is around 60% while the overall performance in all schools is consistently around 74%. Inspite of these results which indicate quantitatively good performance, their performance in English language appears to be qualitatively poor.
As per the recent G.O. Ms No: 76 (2008), English medium has been introduced at all levels in municipal schools. However, the system is not adequately equipped to handle children who wish to enroll in English medium schools. A four day training programme on Communicative English has been organized by the Education Department to all the teachers to enhance their knowledge and skill. But this does not seem to fully equip them to handle the classes.
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1.6 The Problems of Teaching / Learning English
The way English is taught in schools, especially in municipal and government schools to a great extent responsible for the lowering of the standard of English in India. The aim of teaching/learning English language is certainly very high and the means are inadequate to realize them. The following are some of the problems faced by the teachers of English in Municipal schools:
Dearth of Competent teachers
The teachers of English at municipal schools do not update themselves with the recent developments in the field of linguistics and latest methods of teaching; hence, they are not able to teach English on par with the English teachers in the private schools. Though the education officials conduct training programme once a year, the teachers give least importance to equip themselves with the latest methods of teaching English. And also these training programmes are conducted together along with the other subject teachers. So, the English language teachers are not given much importance to equip themselves with the latest techniques.
Teachers are not satisfied with their job. Most of the teachers look at their work as a burden, do not take much interest than what is mandatory. They are also engaged in lots of activities other than teaching. They are very much comfortable using the translation method of teaching English.
Competence of Teachers
Most of the teachers’ competence of English is low. They have very limited or no pre-service training at all and had undergone hardly any in-service training for the English language. They are conscious of it and hence seem to suffer from low self-esteem.
Constraint of time
The teachers focus on syllabus completion. They do not have sufficient time to do other activities like pair work, group work, dramatization etc. in the class. The teachers do not interact with the learners. Teacher is the centre of the language class.
The size of the classes everywhere is considerably large and thus, students’ participation in the class work is quite impossible. The ratio of students in relation to teacher is not proportional. This is one of the reasons why the teachers are unable to pay individual attention to the students.
Lack of Creativity
Learners usually live in less supportive (for education) family and social atmosphere in material, emotional and financial terms. Most of them are first generation learners.
They prefer to use the age old readymade notes for the examination to pass. The students are not tapped to use their creativity.
Teacher’s and Student’s Regional Dialect affecting proper pronunciation
This is a very crucial problem with most of the teachers teaching English. When the teachers try to speak English, they carry their own regional dialect into English. They have difficulty in pronunciation and are not cautious about the stress and intonation of their own speech. They teach incorrect phonetic transcriptions, pronunciation, stress and intonation to the students.
A large number of teachers teaching at school level are incompetent. They have little idea of correct usage and none at all of correct pronunciation. Their vocabulary is as limited as their reading. They are not conversant with the use of modern teaching techniques.
Though the text books prescribe for different classes are skill-oriented, teachers are not adequate enough to teach them.
The frequent changes made in the policy regarding English by the state and central government has also proved to be greatly detrimental to the teachers and learners of the language.
Class room teaching aids and materials are generally in short supply in schools, not to talk of audio-visual aids like tape recorders, lingua phone programmes of film strips. In some cases even pieces of chalk and black board are difficult to obtain.
It is a pity that most of the examinations are in content oriented rather than skill-oriented. If at all any skill is required to be displayed by the examiners, it is their writing ability. Though reading, listening and speaking skills are given in the text books, they are neglected totally in the examinations.
With the establishment of bodies like National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National syllabus has gained popularity and being increasingly adopted by more and more states. Many of these syllabi provide enough scope for the development of the learner’s abilities. However, the unfamiliarity of the English teacher with both the aims and objectives of these syllabi and their use almost always succeeds in defeating the very purposes for which they were initially framed.
Teacher’s education is one major area which needs drastic changes if quality teachers are to become available to develop the English language skills of the student.
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