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It is good news that Tsirangtoed Central School has now started to function as a proper school. The school until recently had no classrooms to deliver academic lessons to the students. While the schools across the country were rushing with lessons and other activities, students of Tsirangtoed Central School were basking in the sun with small intermittent co-curricular engagements.

The concern of the parents is whether the time for teaching and learning in the school has not run out. The school will have to prove that the decision to wait until the completion of construction of classrooms and hostels was sensible. But then, the school authority had little choice. The problem was with the planning of the school.

The real problem with the idea of central school was the unnecessary rush. We went hurtling with it even as we knew we might not be able to handle it. The school is still waiting for the budget from the ministry for uniform, additional teachers and caregivers, among others. Tsirangtoed Central School is the sample of a problem facing most of the schools in the country today. We must, therefore, question not necessarily the school reform idea but the implementation of it.

Because we are talking about education where we all have a stake, it is imperative that we give special space to this debate. Our inability to plan well has been the missing link. There is today a need to look at education reform holistically. We need to look at why joblessness among young people is growing and why there is perennial shortage of teachers in our schools. In this critically significant debate, the popular view is that short-term adjustments must not find a place in the bigger national dream, especially when the matter in our hands is education and the future of our nation builders.

At the core of the idea of central school is that the state will sponsor all expenses, down to toothbrush for individual student so that quality of education that we provide in our schools is maintained and serves the needs of the nation. Are we making this happen in our schools?

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