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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Saturday, 23 March 2013

CHILDREN'S EDUCATION IN MESS IN INDIA !


India's education scenario is worse. Less said is better about secondary and higher education in the country.Imparting education has become a trade in India for earning huge money under political and bureaucratic patronage. Whatever may be the government statistics, over 68 percent of children, particularly girl child, are deprived of education, specially in the rural areas, thanks to the lackadaisical approach of the union and the state governments. But for rich, education is easy because they could afford huge sum to educate their children ! Four years ago, the World Bank upgraded India from "poor" country to middle-income one. Being alarmed over world-wide criticism over non-availability of education to children, specially in majority rural areas,and wide-spread illiteracy  the India government awoke from deep slumber and enacted Right to Education Act in 2009, a free and compulsory education is guaranteed for all children aged between six and 14. To some extend primary education school enrolment is looking up !Earlier this year, the independent Annual Status of Education Report into rural schools found declining levels of achievements, with more than half children in standard five-aged around 10- unable to read a standard two-level.

According to Oxfam India's Anjela Taneja; going to school, as those monitoring progress on the millennium development goal of achieving universal primary education have increasingly realised, is one thing, the quality of education you get to another. Within government schools pupils face numerous challenges. Overcrowded class rooms, absent teachers and unsanitary condition as well as insecurity to children are common complaints and can lead parents to decide it is worth their child going to schools.

A report of the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) estimated that an additional 1.2 million teachers were needed to fulfil the RTE Act requirements and last year the RTE forum, a civil society collective of around 10,000 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that only five percent of government schools complied with the basic standards for infrastructures set by the Act. Some 40 percent of primaries had more than 30 students per class rooms; and 60 percent did not  have electricity, a report of UK-based Guardian newspaper says, quoting NCTE. The RTE Forum also reported official figures, showing that 21 percent teachers were not professionally trained. Taneja further points out nor do enrolment figures necessarily reflect who is actually attending schools. The number of primary age children not in school in India was put at 2.3 million in 2008 but other estimates suggest it could be as high as eight million. According to  an Indian government report, the primary drop-out rate in 2009 was 25 percent.

 More over to put the children in 'child labour' by their parents for livelihood is also one of the major factors of drop-outs in schools.Girl child and marginalised groups such as very poor and the disabled,  are often left behind. While girls attend primary schools in roughly equal numbers to boys, the gap widens as they get older and more are forced to drop out to help with work at home or get married. Of the out-of school children in 2008, 62 percent are girls; they make up two-thirds of illiterate 15-to24- year-old. And two-thirds of those not in school were from those lowest in caste system,tribal groups and Muslim communities despite those historically oppressed groups making up only 43 percent of India's children. Taneja is of the opinion that neighbourhood 'low budget' private schools serving low income families desperate to provide children with a quality education have mushroomed. But they are unregulated and lack trained teachers and proper infrastructures..

Quality of teaching in government primary schools, specially in rural areas, is insufficient and poor. In many such schools, there are some of the gloomy bare-walled class rooms, having low benches and desks, the girls sit on the floor with books in their laps. The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a coalition 26 NGOs and teaching unions wants all nations to allocate at least six percent of GDP on education, India has been promising that since 1968, but the figure has never topped four percent and currently it is 3.7 percent. Reacting over such deplorable manner of the Indian government Taneja says, " it is issue of political will, rather than a lack of cash. Education is not a vote widening issue in a system of frequent elections, where pledges need to be delivered immediately."

Political classes  have no stake because they do not tend to send their children to government  schools. As the 2015 deadline for the millennium goal of primary education looms, there are disappointments among parents for imparting education to their children in India, particularly girl child.. Progress on the education , initially , was rapid but has stalled since 2008 and 61 million children remain out of education, resulting into marginalised citizens' children suffering in INDIA.

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