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   Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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Can each one teach one?
By Vani Manocha



Young Indians should shoulder the responsibility to educate the poor and deprived children to help them improve their lives and become self-sufficient citizens of India.


Educated youth can teach the poor kids and transform their lives

India, since ever, has been divided into the privileged and the deprived. A ray of hope that could reduce this divide is called ‘education’. But unfortunately, the access to education has not been easy for the deprived class of our country. The poor kids are either left to work as child labourers or denied education due to lack of resources and awareness.

There is no doubt that quality education is a guarantee to quality of life and a secure future. When we talk about various plans, projects and schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Mid-Day Meal and laws like the Right to Education Act to promote and ease the access to education, we actually aim for social development of our nation. But are we, the citizens, especially the youth of India, actually dedicated to the cause of making education accessible to all the children of India?

The various government schemes have plenty of funds but lack the people who can make these schemes work effectively and judiciously. They might have targets to achieve but the enthusiasm to attain them is missing.

RTE came into effect from April 1, 2010, a day when millions of children in India realised that the distant dream of going to a school was soon to be a reality.

In a survey conducted under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan in 2009, data was collected from 99,226 households in 3234 villages and 1856 urban blocks covering all the districts. The findings of the survey indicated that out of 19.1 crore children in the age group 6-13 below the age of 14 years, 4.3% were out of school. Out of this, 3.2% had never attended school and 1.1% were dropouts. However, this figure does not include the homeless children.

A World Bank report says that the number of out of school children decreased from 25 million in 2003 to an estimated 8.1 million in 2009. However, most of those still not enrolled are from marginalized social groups. Obviously, India still lags in providing quality education to children from all strata of society.

The research informs that the world needs an estimated 9.1 million new teachers to reach internationally-agreed education targets by 2015. This is a big number that requires a bigger focus and dedication by the youth of every nation.

According to data released by UIS, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, globally, girls are more likely to never enter primary school than boys. In South and West Asia, only about 87 girls start primary school for every 100 boys.

The research further informs that the world needs an estimated 9.1 million new teachers to reach internationally-agreed education targets by 2015. This is a big number that requires a bigger focus and dedication by the youth of every nation.

Another research by UIS for the span of 2001-2008 says that only 54% of children in India are enrolled in pre-primary school and 62.8% of adults and 81.1% of youth are literate. Moreover, 10.7% of government’s spending goes to education. However, the rampant corruption and non- judicious use and mobilization of resources keep the progress away.

These numbers are not just statistics. They are an alarm for the youth, the educated ones to come into action and take the initiative to bring hope to lives of millions of the deprived children of India and bring some fortune to their lives.

Apart form the plans initiated by our government or collaborative efforts made by some non-government organizations, the educated young people of our society can contribute by spreading awareness about the need for education and practising simple phenomena like ‘each one teach one’. If teams of students from colleges decide to take up the challenge, not only they would spread awareness about the need for being educated, it would also be a motivation for others who are concerned and equipped but cannot work for the cause due to family constraints.

Apart from this, the young, educated and enthusiastic brains can also play a role in the strategies framed by the government for making education within reach of every child.

The success of the goal of ‘education for all’ is possible only if the youth become dedicated to the cause and commit themselves to make a difference towards this ‘real development’ of India.

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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