It is no secret that India’s education system is in complete doldrums with corruption and caste-based reservation being the biggest hinderances in the country’s quest to provide quality education. The bizarre turn of events which took place in the state of Punjab highlights what is wrong with our education system.Indian National Congress leader and Punjab Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was caught on camera deciding on posting of lecturers through a coin toss. Yes you read that right.
The Minister was purportedly deciding the fate of two lecturers with both of them vying for the same post of professor to a government polytechnic institute at Patiala. The controversy snowballed as the coin toss video went viral and was aired by leading media outlets prompting SAD leader and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to question the quality of ministers in Amarinder Singh’s cabinet. The Union Minister was in no mood to let the issue slide by and further added that choosing to toss a coin for such an important decision without taking merit into consideration exposes the functioning and frivolous thinking of Charanjit Singh Channi.
Watch the coin toss video:
As the coin toss incident gained traction, the Minister was forced to clarify his decision and came up with a reply that is particularly associated with Congress leaders these days after they are caught in any sort of wrongdoing, desperately trying to spin the narrative.
Channi defended himself and said that the coin toss decision was made with transparency and to ensure that corruption doesn’t take place. He claimed that the two candidates in question, between whom the choice had to be made, had the same level of merit and they themselves proposed a coin toss.
On the contrary, taking a coin toss route to decide the fate of two lecturers is the opposite of what transparency means. Channi further presented himself as the harbinger of change in the education sector by claiming that he broke down the nexus of corruption. Perhaps there exists a different definition of the words ‘corruption’ and ‘transparency’ for Congress leaders who have often gone on and proposed gems like ‘zero loss theory’ (Read: Coalgate) whenever faced with corruption charges.
Channi who holds a degree in Law and MBA and wishes to do a PhD, indulging in such practices is shocking, to say the least. As per the latest data released by the HRD ministry, in a survey of all schools across India, Punjab has one of the poorest averages of just four classrooms per school at primary level in government schools. In another data released by PRATHAM, it was revealed that only 40% of grade III children are able to read grade II text. Alarmingly 20% grade VII children were not able to read the same text with 22% of grade V children failing to perform grade II level subtraction. In a state, where so many children are failing at basic arithmetic, quality education through qualified faculties is the need of the hour. Nothing can be more saddening than the fact that the fate of the state’s children is left to a mere coin toss. This might just one of the many cases in Punjab and the question remains how deeply rooted the nexus is in the state’s education department.
Amarinder Singh is one of the most respected leaders across the state given the fact that he helped propel Congress back to power in Punjab against a resurgent AAP and even tided the Modi wave by defeating Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in the 2014 LS elections. Captain remains one of the few sane voices left in the party who is not scared to go up against Rahul Gandhi, but this incident will prove to be a major blot as his administration completes one year. The fate of the state’s education system being left to a game of coin toss speaks volumes about his administration and he must act now and sack Channi because if Congress loses Karnataka, all the focus will shift to Punjab, which would also remain the sole hope for his party to prevent PM Modi’s dream of a ‘Congress-Mukt Bharat’.