It is indeed praiseworthy to note that the Government of Tripura is taking and innovating steps towards development. Healthcare and Education being two key sectors, how about having a ranking mechanism therein?
Read more from the article published in Tripura Observer, dated, 23rd of April 2018
The original manuscript, the JPEG and PDF versions are present below.
Why should there be a ranking for the healthcare and the education sector of Tripura
Dr. Manishankar Chakraborty
Kudos to Tripura leadership for making the gradual metamorphosis towards development
The new government of Tripura is taking innovative and bold steps towards development, so as to make a holistic change that is not a momentary one. It is indeed a welcome move, especially when sectors like health and education that forms the backbone for the society of Tripura, is getting attention from the law makers. It was never seen earlier in the recent memory that the Honourable Chief Minister and the Honourable Health Minister visiting GB Hospital so very frequently, in order to understand the situation prevailing there for the “common men”, first hand! The starting up of centrally supported Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) is another feather in the cap, especially when the state has exported quality human talent nationally and globally to leading IT behemoths! All these could be just the beginning of the massive change all Tripuraites were anticipating, however, as citizens, we need to be patient and show perseverance, as the government does not have a miraculous sword or a magical wand to do away with processes or practices responsible for the rot, that too when they are prevailing for decades. Our support and contribution in our own small ways by accepting changes in our lives, would be the morale booster the government would need at this point in time to bring in the change we had been yearning for so long.
How about ranking the schools, colleges and universities, private tutors and tutorial homes?
The government is trying to improve every aspect that impact the common men of Tripura. Education is right there up in the priority list of Tripuraites. Therefore, people never think twice when it comes to doling out money to educate their family members. This is probably one big reason why the state despite being a small one that too when it is disadvantaged in terms of geography, has successfully produced brilliant talents across domains to cater to the national and international demand, year after year. The never say die approach of Tripuraites against all odds have time and again proved to be a boon, while shaping up their career, in the state and outside of it. Parents and guardians are always on the lookout for that extra bit of support and coaching pertaining to education and career building. Even though their wards are admitted in the best schools, colleges and universities, private tutors, coaching centers are part of the educational ecosystem promising to offer that “value-added” benefit to the learner. While employed teachers running private tuitions is another important aspect that is to be decided upon from the perspective of ethics and integrity towards the contribution in their designated profession, the ones who earn their livelihood solely on the basis of private tuition or/and tutorial homes should be supported, while ensuring the major beneficiary (read the students and parents) interests forms the center stage in every endeavours. Private tutorial homes especially those who have the financial might owing to their strong brand equity should not be allowed to implement marketing blitzkrieg under the garb of social benefits. The real contributions of private tutors, tutorial homes and even the employed teachers and professors working with colleges, universities and schools should be annually ranked by the state government (Ministry of education and/higher education). The state government can form a task force, rope in experts from the national and even international level to form the task force that would put in place the practices and procedures to make this happen. The factors that would be considered could encompass, the value addition offered by the tutors that were not part of the school/college/university set-up, the real contribution towards the development of the pupil from a holistic standpoint and not merely making them clear an exam/entrance/job related test, as this myopic approach while making an individual employed, devoid him of thinking from the perspective of the welfare of the masses and the society. Problem solving and entrepreneurial mindset are arrested with this shortsighted approach. Furthermore, the ranking should include the amount of “real” community service rendered by those tutorial homes to the deserving section of the society who have the intellect, but lacks the resources to leverage their inherent traits. Marketing the tutorial homes by showcasing the successful candidates in print, electronic and social media should be allowed to be done only after thorough analysis is made to realize, whether the candidate got meritorious position on his own, or there has been a substantial contribution on the part of the tutorial homes. Furthermore, the fees charged from the candidate’s vis-à-vis the holistic transformation services rendered should be analyzed from a cost-benefit standpoint. The contribution of such tutorial homes and private tutors towards the development of the state and the country by making citizens employable and entrepreneurial should also be an important factor in the list of yardsticks. The employed teachers or professors indulging in private tuition should be seen by using a more powerful microscope and the regulatory body should understand the real reasons for students flocking down at their corridors. Moreover, their contribution towards their employer should also be screened minutely vis-à-vis their approach and effort in the private practice. Such tutors should be ranked lesser to start of, simply because they are already employed with an institution. Their contribution towards private tuition or even as a private and unemployed teacher in general should be given a thumbs up, if and only if they contribute towards the mentoring of unemployed private tutors from the society, especially while they try to earn their livelihood or when those established private tutors/teachers go out of the way to teach the economically needy sections of the society for free of cost! They should also be ranked for funding events of societal and developmental significance and this should also apply for the tutorial homes, owing to their deep pockets. The ranking should be released once a year by the government on the basis of the detailed factors considered, keeping in the mind the students, guardians, and the intellectual capital development index needed for the state along with the emergence of entrepreneurial culture in the society. The top 10 tutors or tutorial homes should be felicitated and while these would form a strong marketing credential for them to draw students and increase their businesses, these top rankers should also be tasked with developmental challenges from the overall developmental prism of the state.
On similar lines even the colleges, schools and universities can be ranked with criteria that would contribute towards the development of the human capital of the state from the ethical, professional, GLOCAL (Global +Local) , entrepreneurial and employable standpoints.
How about ranking the private medical practitioners, private/corporate hospitals and nursing homes?
Health too forms the bedrock for the people of Tripura and the efforts of the new government towards the improvement of the sector is indeed praiseworthy. On the lines discussed above for private tutors and tutorial homes, private medical practitioners, private nursing homes, corporate hospitals should also be ranked, albeit with a tad more stringent approach, especially when it relates to the life and death of the people. Doctors employed with hospitals but indulging in private practices should be seen with powerful binoculars so as to compare their contributions in overall terms, at their workplace vis-à-vis that of their private practices. The show can be managed by the state ministry of health by roping in experts from the state, the federal bodies and if required even from the international arena. The yardsticks that should be used to measure these breed of professionals should include, but should not only be limited to holistic success ratio of the patient rather than treating them only to cure of the symptoms and not the underlying causes. The doctors and hospitals should also be ranked on the basis of the savings generated for the patient by prescribing formulations which are generics, rather than focusing on expensive branded ones, cases of medical negligence culminating in handicap or death (only after a thorough investigation is done by a professional body) . A similar mechanism should also be done for the diagnostic sector and the study should also bring under purview all investigating and diagnosis labs in the state on the basis of allied and diversified criteria. These joint ranking of doctor-laboratory duo is essential as both forms an integral component of the overall patient success. The medications and their efficacy, side-effects, risk-benefit study should also be considered in the ranking procedure. Furthermore, like their teaching peers, doctors and diagnostic institutions should have a criteria that focuses on integrity, honesty and ethical professional practices, while serving the masses and the downtrodden of the society. The ease of getting appointments for seeking services from reputed doctors (this can be done by mentoring the junior doctors so that they too can share the workload of the reputed physicians, while reducing their stress) should be a factor to decide on the overall ranking. The commitment of the doctors while serving patients during distress at awkward period of time should be given a higher weightage owing to their professional pattern. The ability to spread awareness campaign through mass media or by collaborating with various government and non-government bodies to improve on the reduction of sufferings, enhance longevity, reduce addictions, promoting healthy lifestyle by being role models to ensure quality of life for the people in general should be given adequate weightage. The fees charged or the prices of the hospices, nursing homes, laboratories, medical practitioners should also be a strong indicator. Yearly publication of the ranking, felicitations, through the world-wide-web and other publications would go a long way in changing the overall effectiveness of the sector.
Challenging but not insurmountable
To kick start such an initiative is definitely a challenging and monumental one and every stakeholder necessarily should pull in their weights, rather than relying solely on the government. However, once implemented many problems faced by the common men today would be a thing of the past, and since the new government is focusing on technology and transparency, everyone concerned would be able to take an informed decision, while opting for a private tutor, a tutorial home, a private medical practitioner, a hospital or even a diagnostic laboratory. Somebody rightly said, customer or the major beneficiary or the masses are the king! It would also contribute towards the generation of employment, simply because setting up the infrastructure and the monitoring bodies would call for additional skilled manpower. Let’s make Tripura a Knowledge Society as there is no dearth of education, knowledge and abilities.
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