Some ways in which education isn’t working as it should

22 Sep

“If you wish to make an impact for one year, plant corn; if you wish to make an impact for a generation, plant a tree; if you wish to make an impact for an eternity, educate a child” – Anon

Education has been described as a key tool for the growth and development of an economy and rightly so. In a world where technology completely reshapes industries in a matter of years, educated and adaptable people have a much better chance of succeeding. Even if we leave aside pure economics, it is clear that a proper education truly broadens the mind, dissolves barriers of caste, creed or religion, overcomes prejudices and promotes universal understanding. Of course, this may not happen immediately, but the impact of education over successive generations cannot be overstated.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the Government of India is trying to ensure quality education becomes accessible to as many children as possible, through measures such as the mid-day meal scheme, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and the Right To Education Act. While various aspects of these measures can be debated, their overall intent cannot.

However, as the accompanying examples show, the road ahead is bumpy. In one instance, we see a school running out of a converted toilet, lacking facilities such as a playing ground and having three classes run from a single room. In the second instance, we see how some schools are trying to subvert the RTE by almost promoting a hierarchy within the school setting.

Admittedly, our country does not have the resources to run lakhs of government schools in facilities that are very prim and proper. Even so, surely a small and robust building with a playing area cannot be that hard to provide. If our government schools cannot be cynosures, they don’t need to be eyesores. Our growing up years should be full of learning and fun, not drudgery.

With regards to the second example, there have been many concerns of how the RTE could lead to issues of discipline and so on. Perhaps this is indeed a challenge. But solving that requires sensitivity and not segregation. Our world views are infinitely richer when we are exposed to diverse perspectives. Mixing children from different social strata may not be easy but it has the potential to enrich their minds. Why shrink from such an opportunity?

Shishir
Education issues examples.pdf

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