Bihar has glorious past in education. Its society had been driven by continued learning. In ancient times Gurukul was the only education method for high learning and it was further replaced by the institutional education system. One of the oldest universities Nalanda was based on this line followed by Vikramshila. As we know students from different parts of the world like Japan, Burma, Tibet, and Sri Lanka used to come to these places for quality education.
A long history of education suggests Bihar as an education hub. Not only Valmiki scripted Ramayana here, but scholars like Kautilya, Arybhatta, Brahamihir and many others continued to give a larger than life shape. Besides this, there is a long list of scholars who glorified the soil of Bihar since the beginning of the civilization.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad was developed on the soil of Mithila, a part of Bihar. It is in the form of the dialogue between the sage Yajnavalkya and Gargi. Maitreyi was another women philosopher who lived during the later Vedic period.
In medieval India, Bihar ornamented by the scholars like Vachaspati Mishra, Mandan Mishra, Bhamati, Jaydev, Vidyapati and so on. It can be judged how towering scholars Bihar had during this period. The “Brahma Sutra Sankara Bhashya” could be commented only by three scholars in the then India. They were Mandan Mishra, Vachaspati Mishra, and Kumaril Bhatta. They all belonged to Mithila. It was finally written by Vachaspati Mishra, named after his wife Bhamati.
Even during British India, several scholars of national and international repute born on this soil. Maha Maho Padhyay Sir Ganganath Jha handed over the charge of the Vice Chancellor of Allahabad University to Amarnath Jha, his son. This is the only record of this kind in the world history.
In Hindi, Bihar had several known scholars like Ram Brikachha Binipuri, Gopal Singh Nepali, Fanishwarnath Renu, Nagaarjun and not the least national poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Patna University was the premier university of India. Bihar Institute of technology Sindari was second to known. There were several excellent educational institutions in Bihar till the end of last century.
This is not the secret that the education system of Bihar has got notoriety for several bad reasons. The glitters of education in Bihar started fading in the last decade of last century and progressively reached to its lowest ebb. Its glitters completely faded by CM Nitish Kumar region which was accelerated by Rabari-Lalu regime. Now the educational institutions under the Government have become a factory of generating certificates. It seems that the Nitish’s motto is just to make the people of Bihar ‘Literate’. One can count the number of teachers in universities and colleges by the tip of a finger. Ironically, these teachers have nothing to do and getting fat salary package for seating idle. There are hardly any classes in colleges because students choose to appear only in respective exams. Neither teachers nor students are interested in attending classes.
The condition of lower, middle and high school are not different. Of course in these schools, students attend the school till mid-day meal is over. Teaching is so pathetic, most of the students of class 7 and 8 even not able to read the books of class 3 and 4.
Nitish appointed schools teachers in large volume, as soon as he became Chief Minister, but the quality was completely ignored. Appointment of teachers was proved to be a political tool that could be turned into vote bank and the result is here. Nitish’s action must be termed as the last nail in the coffins of education of Bihar.
One of the teachers on the condition of anonymity said:
“There are no students in most of the colleges. If any of them having students, it appears only in the register. Now see how pity it is! They are getting the salary in lakh without contributing anything to the society. Is it not corruption? How can it be justified?”
In a country where two crores youth are added in the line of getting employment in a year, teachers are enjoying facilities without working meant for.
Recently I had an opportunity to spend a fortnight in my native village of Bihar. I tried to understand the mentality of students and their respective guardians there. I was amazed when I saw the small children moving in the street of villages in the severe morning cold, just to attend the so-called public schools. Those schools charged a certain amount from the guardians although they did hardly have the leveled infrastructures. This movement of children of different ages starts from early dawn and continue till dusk. From this movement, one conclusion I draw that both students and guardians are interested in education. Then what is the missing link?
It is not difficult to find this missing link of poor status of education in government institutions. Neither government nor teachers are interested in education. The teachers either lack skills or just want to wash their hand in the lazy flow of education system. If one can get hefty amount without work, why they will opt to work?
Education in Bihar has reached ever lowest level. As I have written in previous paras that these institutions are made to create simply certificates and nothing else.
I would suggest Nitish government just to close all educational institutions. One institution of distance learning is sufficient to issue certificates. A huge amount of exchequer would be saved and the same can be incurred on some other heads like health.
Although Nitish has several feathers in his cap, such as good road, improved law & order, excellent power distribution but on the education front, his achievement is zero. Our leaders have the data to prove their claims of excellent performance in different fields, so Nitish too has, but the truth is bitter. No society can achieve the lasting prosperity without best education. Let’s hope that a time will come again when Bihar would reclaim its lost glory of education.