Friday, April 2, 2010

“Ring A Ring A Roses….A Pocket Full of Posies”

Effective 1st Apr 2010, nearly 200 million children living in this elephant like - mammoth, lumbering, sturdy - vibrant nation called India, can quiet literally sing along on the tunes of the folksong “Ring A Ring A Roses.” On this April Fools day, the government of India spins out a decree making the Right to Education (RTE) a fundamental right of every child.

It is indeed a whopping project undertaken by the administration, which promises free and compulsory education as a right of every child of this nation whose age group spans between 6-14yrs. This initiative will beget equality and diversity amongst children irrespective of sex, religion, standard of living, or status in society.

Quality Education for all
The Prime Minister of India makes the RTE act an important part of his agenda and takes the lead to announce the proceedings of the act, enforcing it upon the nation saying, “The Right to Education Act (RTE) will realize the dreams of many children across the nation and it is a key to progress and empowerment of the children to become better citizens of the nation.”

Spread the word to fight illiteracy
The enactment of the law is finally done…and now it is the role of not only the government to facilitate smooth roll-out of the project…but we as citizens of this country and guardians of our children need to do our little bit as well.

When I spoke to a few people like my vegetable vendor, the milkman, my domestic help, and the office boys, I received a glowing response from each one of them. Every parent and guardian – rich or poor - wants their child to go to school to get their share of education. Underprivileged parents and families from the backward class also have dreams synonymous to the families from the elite class…it is a hope of giving the best education to their children and helping them realize their dreams. But their financial condition mostly comes as a bottleneck towards fulfilling their dreams.

Socialistic ideologies pertinent in segments of society
Detractors from the elite class of society argue saying that 25% reservations in private schools will eat up their share of seats. They may be absolutely correct when they say that ‘Reservation’ is a bad word and that it shouldn’t be used to violate the rights of others. However, you cannot pigeonhole this act on the same parity as the quotas chalked out for- women in Parliament; scheduled caste and scheduled tribes; or for religious minorities.

These are reservations for children who have the same nationality, who are ambitious, who have merit and the IQ to move ahead in life, who want to flaunt their own house and car when they grow up, who want to be treated equal, and who want to speak the global language that the world speaks today….So why not give them a chance!!

We need to mull over the nitty-gritty’s of this act and support the children of this nation in receiving quality education across the board. Rich or poor - girl or boy – majority or minority, it should be education for all.

In the same vein, the Indian government needs to do wonders with Healthcare in India. Medical Insurance to each and every citizen of this country should be made mandatory and should be moderately sponsored by the government.

Come one, Come All…

Thanks for visiting my blog. Do write to me with your reactions, opinions or critical comments at or leave your inputs in the comments tab below.

Before I sign out, as I always say take very good care of yourself and God Bless!


Uma said...

Hi Mearl,

Well written article in which u have touched on the essence of Education and the Empowerment for the children of the next G.
I have following more to add:
Six decades after India’s independence the GoI now seems to realize the Power of Education. Never the less it is a bold initiative which will have its share of challenges during the implementation process. Wondering if our politician where naive so long ??? or was it a deliberately attempt to keep Education out of the masses for their vested interest??

I have my own apprehension on some of the challenges which the Govt will face during the rolling out. Viz : a) Infrastructure, b) Finance and last but not the least the driving force c) Resources (Teachers).

While urban India will somehow b able to absorb some or most of the above concerns, it is the rural India which will be hard hit. We have the more than half of the 200 Million children in the rural India where even getting a square meal is a luxury. How will the agencies be able to vow the children and convince their parents to send their wards to the school which lacks even basic amenities, forget abt proper Infra/Finance or Resources.

The only solution I foresee for a decisive n effective implementation will be through
PPP (Public Private Participation), o/wise this Act will merely be a piped dream/illusion.

How do we achieve this :

PPP can invest into the Infra. Finance, I am afraid has to be shared by both the Centre and the State which has always been a contentious issue. PPP can top up their bit of Finance.
The current Resources (Teachers n Teaching aids) are just no match for the projected demand. With dearth of Teachers one side and a Universities churning out a lacs of Graduates every year it is an Irony that we do not attract teaching talent.
Quality resources can be bridged/factored in from PSU’s, MNC and other bodies who are pursing CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) or Co’s who desire to contribute.
I am sure we could draw in a rich pool of highly committed professional from various disciplines who could like to get associated with such projects provided their employers agree for sanctioning Sabbatical leave for a year or two. This way it is
Win Win formula for both the Co pursing CSR, the Govt, and also the employee who will in a year to two come up rejuvenated with a new perceptive and experience.

I could like to conclude by sharing my experience which haunts me everyday as I travel to the office by bus. I get jittery as the bus passes Juhu circle, it is here that I daily see these group of children in the ages group 6 to 14 years neatly sitting on the pavement for their teacher to takes the classes. I have been seeing this year after year and am helpless. Deep down within me, my conscious keeps pricking for turning a blind eye to these social problems. Campaigns like Teach India movement set up by TOI could help in garner the support.

Let me end with a quote fm Herbert Spencer “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.”
Jai hoooooooooooo India.

Mearl Colaco said...

Hi Uma,

Thanks for your inputs and I must say, we need to forward your views to the govt. body...because you have come out with possible solutions.

My feedback:
As rightly said, enforcing State and Govt. partnership to implement this project is showing negative effects already. Look at the recent backlash from Mayawati, who is reluctant to spend on this project, thus weakening this project from take-off....while in the same breath, she raises funds for her serpentine NOTE-worthy gale-ka-haar and splurges on increasing security to guard her waxy-lifeless mannequins. The centre should take this responsibility wholly and solely.

Teaching is indeed scarce and like our Tigers, may become an endangered profession. GOI needs to make this profession lucrative and on-par with international standards, in order to attract youngistan into this profession.

About the CSR option (either Individual or Corporate) that u mentioned is good......but must admit that CSR initiatives are floated by the rich only for gaining promotional mileage or maybe simply to fan their ego. It will never work until we show them the moolah like T20 Cricket promises to its owners. Private and Public partnership with then effectively show its impact.

Re. the Juhu incident u talked about...its sad..really sad. Try getting pics and footage of this if possible. We need to send it to Ethical media to expose this story. Let's do it because this is the appropriate time.

Brilliant quote to sum it all up Uma.....and to add to it education should help you broaden your imagination and should not burden you with know-how only.

Thanks again for your constructive feedback and keep reading this space for more.

Jai Ho!

Mearl Colaco

Rajat said...

Applauds. Education is just the first step but is the most important one.

Mearl Colaco said...

Hi Rajat,

Thanks for your feedback. U've got a good blog too. I tried commenting but was boomeranged with an error.