Vikarabad Collector leads by example

Admits daughter in a government residential school

At a time when more and more parents are opting to admit their children in private schools rather than government institutions ostensibly for a better future, here is a District Collector who chose to chart a different path.

It created quite a flutter but drew appreciation as well when news was out that District Collector Ayesha Masrat Khanam chose to admit her daughter Tabish Raina in class V in the Telangana Minorities Residential School Vikarabad Girls-I. “The real gems are children and their talent and potential can be brought out by any institution through proper nurturing. We have excellent government residential and day schools now and their students are making their mark in every field on par with those from private institutions, or even better.” she says.

Choice based on faith

“It is a misconception that government schools are not good. In fact, the SSC pass percentage in Vikarabad went up by 18% this year,” she points out. Apparently she did not admit her daughter in the government school to make a point but is truly convinced about the quality and standards in government schools. Declining to comment on parents’ preference for private schools for their children, she says every one has a right to choose. “ I made my choice based on my faith in government institutions”.

There are many reasons in favour of government schools – teachers are better qualified. Care is taken to impart quality education, include extra-curricular activities, provide training to staff in government residential schools for various sections, SCs, STs, BCs and minorities, she told The Hindu.

Incidentally, Ms. Khanam, herself a product of government school till 12th standard at Kagaznagar – now in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district – believes that with the kind of thrust being given to improve government schools, they are set to regain their past glory. Moreover, her son, in Class X, too studies in a government institution – Kendriya Vidyalaya in Hyderabad. For government employees with frequent transfers, its is easier to get admission into government schools, she explains.

Like any another child

Does her daughter get special attention as the Collector’s daughter?

“She is like any other student in the school. She is a happy child and enjoys her school and the academic session has started. Government schools are monitored any way whether bureaucrats’ children study there or not,” Ms. Khanam quips.

Scribe angle

Ms. Khanam always did things based on her conviction than following the beaten path. She started her career as a crime reporter in a popular English daily when not many women opted for that beat after doing her BCJ, and later an MBA from Nagpur University with a gold medal. Married to a businessman, she rose through the State civil services as an MPDO, Deputy Collector and was conferred IAS in 2009.

She feels as Collector, there is a lot one can do due to the direct contact with people, and change their perceptions about public institutions.

Quite a few bureaucrats are getting convinced to avail services in public institutions. Be it IAS officer Murali or even Governor E.S.L.Narasimhan who availed medical services for self or family members in government hospitals, are sending a positive message about government institutions, and remove deep-rooted prejudices.

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