Dr Kiran Bedi, the iconic former IPS officer and 1994 Magsaysay Award winner, who has also served as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, feels there is a need of a standard operational procedure (SoP) for parent-teacher meetings so that a sense of accountability towards their children is inculcated among them through PTMs widely practiced in schools on a regular basis.
Dr Bedi was delivering a keynote at Lifology App’s ‘Parenting Dialogue’ event in New Delhi on July 26. Citing personal experience from her tenure as LG of Puducherry, she spoke about her own recorded observations from personal visits to many government schools in the UT, which she has also referred to in her book ‘Fearless Governance.’ As per her what she saw is the representative of a greater malaise confronting school education in the country which needs to be dealt with through parenting education and strict governance.
Quoting from her own experience, she said that the children of the poor and menial workers and others, who mostly study in government schools are send to school by their parents for midday meals and other freebies and they hardly educate. “I went to schools and posed a few general questions to them. They couldn’t write or spell simple words correctly. And, these students were in secondary classes and above. I have record of these sheets with me,” she said while adding that in her study she found that while most of the fathers were hooked to alcohol, mothers had to work for living and children were left to themselves. And a large number of these children eventually drop out.”
Dr Bedi said that PTMs can serve as a channel of reform and change as making them engaging and compulsory will bring about an attitudinal change. “The time and timing has to be another way, on a day or time when there is no excuse for not attending it. As a citizen I am very angry at seeing how children of this country are let down by parents, schools, administrators and policy makers. In my view appraisals of officers to secretary level must be tied up with school processes and cleanliness. Lack of toilets or dirty toilets are also causing many a children to give up education.”
The challenge of parenting must be owned by the society as a majority of our parents are accidental parents. They need handholding and for this gynaecologists must be involved as most of the childbirths are institutional and therefore offer a big opportunity, she added.