The idiom Every cloud has a silver lining is traced to the renowned English poet John Milton (1608-1674). The expression can be of immense influence in rekindling hopes of better days in the life of individuals facing bad times and of societies struggling to restore past glory. In the case of our country, the value of keeping faith in the famed idiom cannot be overstated, particularly when the citizens are hearing from the top brass in the government that good days are coming while the air is abuzz with dissenting voices from all nooks and corners of the land. Good days, being looked forward to by every citizen across the diverse sections of society, have a price they have to pay, namely to be pro-active, instead of being passive witnesses to the ongoing game of claims to progress and counter-claims to decline indulged by those who are more visible in the public domain. The onus of damage control clearly lies in people’s court facing a virtual vacuum of mentors having the charisma of their past counterparts who led by example marked by magnetic charm as it were.
Mysuru of yesteryears has hosted people of eminence who enjoyed unalloyed acceptance in society, leaving the indelible memories as teachers, civil servants, littérateurs and many forms of classical arts. The trend of their dominating presence has snapped through successive generations for reasons not far to seek.
While the basic philosophy of taking the children on a journey of learning, ostensibly for grooming them as citizens with abilities to sustain themselves in a cohesive society, the focus of schools doesn’t seem to be in line with that philosophy. In this context, the public perception of schools under government management mirrors them at a very low rating compared to schools managed privately, more as enterprises with an eye on getting attractive returns on funds invested to maintain the schools. Families in urban spaces are party to the poor image of government schools, thus seeing their teachers in dismal light.
As if to invoke the idiom mentioned at the beginning of this column, a highly placed official in the State government has been quoted in the media saying ‘Government schools produce students who serve society’ and ‘Achievers in all sectors have studied in government schools.’ Teachers of the schools under State management can take heart from that verdict and make the silver lining dispel the dark clouds.
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