Pay Bribe, Take Education
Jharkhand suffers from an acute shortage of ethical, quality and committed teachers. As we see in Mukesh’s video, students are often required to pay teachers bribes for everything from basic school supplies, to taking final exams to, well-teaching.
Jharkhand has some of the highest rates of teacher absenteeism in the nation. The much-cited Public Research on Basic Education (PROBE), a comprehensive report commissioned to investigate the nation’s public education system, found Jharkhand’s teachers as the greatest offenders in truancy. On any given day, 41.9 percent of Jharkhand’s teachers are wholly absent from the classroom. (This compares with the national average of 25 percent). This is to say none of teacher qualification standards. The dangerous implication of such high rates on both accounts—bribery and absenteeism—is that these behaviors become entirely normalized. If a greater percentage of teachers accept bribes and do not come to class, than these actions have less stigma attached to them. In other words, if bribery were a rare fraud, it would have greater social consequences. Less stigma and more acceptance allows more teachers to slip into these behaviors. New teachers learn these norms and assimilate to them. Students, making up the states’ next generation of teachers and civil servants, know this standard as acceptable and will be significantly more likely to replicate them in their future careers in education and civil service. As is frequently the case, we come back to the fresh hope of India’s new Right to Education act. The act specifies that no student or family shall incur either direct or indirect costs for school. This includes money for chalk, uniforms, and well—teachers who teach. Schools have three years to comply with all provisions outlined in RTE. We will continue to report on India’s education system and the Right to Education Act in upcoming reports. You can continue to follow these on the IndiaUnheard website.
IndiaUnheard is the first ever community news service launched by Video Volunteers. This new initiative is constituted of a network of community correspondents who are trained to tell unique stories; stories about their own communities; stories which are otherwise left untold. By feeding this community-produced content to national and international outlets, such as mainstream television channels and social networking sites, IndiaUnheard links rural communities with a truly global audience. Through bridging these worlds, IndiaUnheard empowers communities to create real change on real issues affecting their lives. You can continue to follow these on the IndiaUnheard website.