Free Education for Children upto 14 - how much does it help?
There are several good schemes introduced by Government. Free education is a nice thing but that is not enough for poor people to get motivated to send their kids to school.
When they can make money out of their children by involving them in their family profession, why would they want to spend their hard earned money in buying school books, bags, pencil, rubber etc. and incur additional overhead. Is free education inclusive of all the requirement a kid needs to go to school? How about reaching the school if it is too far away from home. How about the home atmosphere for him to do his homework and study after school hours? How are the kids who are slow learners and are not able to catch up with rest of their class mates, supposed to do? Will a poor family be able to afford a tutor to boost them up?
We all stress so much about educating a girl child which is a good thing. But we know the reality, the challenges she has to face specially if she comes from a poor background of an Indian household where girls are hardly encouraged. They are considered as a burden to be got rid of as soon as possible by getting them married off. With a girl educated, it becomes more difficult for them to find an educated groom!! Even if by showing some greed, parents are somehow convinced to send their girl child, her woes are not over. She is always at risk and most often the toilet facilities are pathetic. She would have been more safe and healthy at the confines of her home even if she did not get educated. We have to consider all angles before showing her the dreams of a happy future and making her ready to go to school. We have to be honest in questioning ourselves if we are doing her good or bad. Yes, we have to encourage children's education but only if overall it does them good and not just to show some statistics.
Most schools in rural areas, promote the kids to the next class without the kids actually passing the test!! This is due to the pressure to show good results and keep things simple. But the impact of this is that the higher class ends up having a high ratio of fast and slow learners. This results in an in-disciplined atmosphere in the class. Teachers find it difficult to teach students with such different level of learning abilities. They are not able to do justice either with bright kids nor with dull kids. The bright kids, who are sincere and dedicated and have good potential to become something also suffer due to this. Most of time and energy of teacher's is spent just in controlling the class with little time left to impart knowledge to kids.
We might succeed in reducing the dropouts, the Government and NGO's are doing their might to retain the kids but is that of any use? What is the use of managing to retain such kids till secondary school, who have not learnt anything nor are capable of. After they finish off their school, such kids are not even capable of reading a single sentence, forget write a sentence? Do we really assess honestly how many kids are really worthy to be called the students of the class they passed out from?
Have we ever analysed how many kids from rural opt for higher education? We need to analyse and find out how many kids really benefit from the education sponsored to them? Was it cost effective? If over several years, there has been no significant positive effect, we need to change our approach towards educating such kids.
If kids of Rural India are not standing up on par with their Urban counterparts, then we need to have a different approach for educating them. Probably have a meaningful and useful course which is easy for them to assimilate and which would be harmonious with their day to day life. Probably once they become confident, then we could enroll them for higher studies or provide them life skills based on their aptitude.
It doesn't seem right to be just focusing on increasing the numbers of educated lot. We also need to focus on how much a child is really learning. Until, our education system remains number driven, the schools will do all malpractices to show good numbers, neglecting the very cause for which the school was set up. Schools should be freed from such pressures so that they would do only what is right to improve the quality of education for those kids, who though few in numbers, but have in them potential to grow to great height. We need to do our best for such kids. At the same time, we also need to find alternate approach for slow learners to make them also literates but at their own pace!! Only then, we can say India is progressing in field of Education.