The recent news from Rewari of Haryana shook the conscience of the education department. The news was about the Right to Education. About 80 girl students fearing harassment in travelling a long distance to attend the higher education after Matric sat for the hunger strike. On the fifth day, the education department came up with a written assurance of opening a Plus Two (12th class) school for them. Well done the daughters of India. I was in goose bumps reading the news which enabled me to pen down these few lines.
Some want to educate themselves and be somebody in the society, while the others want to be where they are! It is funny and surprising that for over ten years government did not feel the need to address the situation in spite of the repeated request for the up gradation of the school, nor it heard the cry of eve teasing on the way to high school. Some raised the voice and closed their senses willingly and unwillingly.
Who is to be blamed? Government? Education Department? Officials? Parents? Eve teasers? Village Sarpunch? Villagers? Children themselves? Should we blame our system? Each one of us is to be blamed. But some are to be blamed more and some less.
Government officials say that they would consider the demand of the people. But the children are not satisfied with their oral recitation of assurances. This is just because the people have lost faith in the functioning of the government. How will the people have faith? When the government gives only bold headlines in the newspapers and TV for the publicity sake and not doing anything at the ground level, funds meant for the education are diverted to the vested interest of the authorities, schools are closed for various reasons or the existing schools are used for the political publicity, the people will lose their faith in the authorities.
Another jolt is on the minority educational institutions. For many political parties, they are money making institutions. A watchful look at the institutions where they are established will show that they actually cater the education of the last, least and lost. But the colour blind eyes of the officials find them as the nuisance to the up growing elite and fanatically oriented institutions. Therefore, in order to put a check on these, the government is back footing the funds, permission and needed recognition. Other kinds of harassment are uncountable.
Consider the present education policy. The school is not supposed to fail any student till the Matric, nor the teachers can give any kind of punishment for not doing the homework. What kind of psychological markup is promulgated here? “I don’t need to study, anyhow I will pass.” If we see the children of the elite, the majority of them are not studying in government schools. Rather they are in the highly reputed schools of the country spending thousands of rupees per day. It is Okay. But why are the ordinary people deprived of a high standard education? There is a psychological reason for it. If the minority is educated and become somebody in the society, they will be a threat to the existence of the elite. Therefore, ‘it is better that they are where they are. Push them to the periphery and do not allow them to reach the centre,’ is the ideology at work.
Another reason that we have not yet become a developed country is the stigmata that we are carrying on our shoulders. It is the stigmata of “I am not able to do it”. For the centuries, we have been telling to ourselves that we are “like this only”. Our elders said the same thing, “We are fit for washing the dishes only. We are not supposed to study. Girls anyway go to their in-laws’ house and so why to teach them? Women are for the sake of men….” We need to come out from this and boldly assert ourselves, “Yes, We Can. We Will. We are Able.” The power of positive thinking has enabled those girls from Haryana to take a revolutionary step and demand for the right to education. Today their cry is heard. India needs several such daunting girls today.
Did those children ask for something extraordinary? Did they demand gold, silver or wealth? They just asked, “We want to study without fear.” They asked for their right. The child has the right to ask for the basic necessity from its parent and it is the duty of the parent to provide what is moral and just. The government is the parent of every child. It has the duty to provide quality education and make the child grow in wisdom and knowledge. Today several children in our villages and slums are earnestly requesting the same, “provide us, teachers, provide us education, provide us knowledge, provide us schools, provide us schools of higher learning, provide us opportunities to excel, provide us jobs, provide us our basic rights….” May our parents (governments) listen to us.
Author – Raju Felix Crasta
Image Credit – The Indian Express