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Bureaucracy is derived from the Greek word which means ‘desk rule’. Max Weber defined bureaucracy as a product of rationalization. In Weber’s view industrial revolution and capitalism led society to think rationally, moving away from traditional ideas, values and beliefs. With the shift from small scale to large scale organization, the need for bureaucratization increased in order to achieve efficient economic growth. In contemporary times, bureaucratization is seen in almost every large-scale social system. One of which is Education. Given below are some of the features that will explain how bureaucratization has come into the education system:
There is no doubt that bureaucratization of large systems in a complex society is reasonable. As per the state report cards of Elementary Education in India (2015-16) there are 1.4 million schools in India. In order to make so many schools run efficiently it is important lay proper rules and structure for efficiency. That is why the 1986 New National Policy on Education structured the 10+2+3 system, equal access to education and common core in the curricular programme. Further, there are well-written rules set by Right to Education, 2009 for smooth functioning of schools. It tries to create equal system for all by universalising the access to elementary education by laying down uniform guidelines regarding ‘teacher-student ratio’, comprehensive and continuous evaluation and so on so that every child learns well in the classroom. This makes the teacher responsible and accountable towards their job.
However, considering the above example there are downside of such a system. In 2015-16, there were 7.5% schools with single teachers. In this case it would be difficult to maintain the set rules. Thus, indicating that one size fits all approach might not work well with such stringent rules. Bureaucratization in a complex society where specialization is the core feature will not work well with limited number of teaching staff in a school. The bureaucratic system limits the creative potential of the child and teacher in a classroom. Most teachers lose their motivation because they are assigned to do many other administrative tasks other than teaching. Such a trend makes teachers feel alienated towards their own profession. In my opinion, bureaucratization is important in large system but there can be democratic ways to ensure formal standard without the risk of impersonal alienation. Lack of accessibility and affordability to all with continue to create a hidden hierarchy, power and a dominant culture. Some educationists like Gijubhai Badheka have experimented through Montessori approach where the focus is on every child’s self-development. Such experiments have been happening in the education system in smaller groups through alternate schooling as well. Now, educationists need to understand how this system can be applied to all the schools across nation keeping humanity and formality intact.
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