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Updated: October 12, 2013 02:27 IST

Where knowledge is poor

Krishna Kumar
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The role of education in reducing poverty is widely recognised but our planners are yet to realise how the impoverished struggle with a learning process that is unresponsive to their needs

In a society where poverty is far more common than prosperity, one would expect the implications of poverty for education to be widely recognised. What we find, instead, is that poverty is seldom mentioned directly in policy documents on education. Policymakers feel more comfortable using euphemisms like “economically weaker sections,” the “marginalised” or the “deprived” to refer to the poor. No wonder the impact of poverty on children’s life at school and learning is understood rather vaguely not just by educational planners, but teachers too.

Incompatibility

The reason poverty must be treated as a factor of education arises from a basic incompatibility between the two. Education necessarily demands long-term horizons. Poverty, on the contrary, compels people to remain embedded in immediate or short-term concerns. India has now recognised eight years of compulsory education as a right of every child, but endemic poverty and social inequality are posing tough constraints in making this law a reality. Elementary education by itself means little; it can only serve as a foundation for further education over many years. The informal economy on which the poor survive forces them to live from day to day. They want to — but usually fail to — plan for the distant future in which their progeny might reap the fruits of education. The children belonging to poor families find it difficult to cope with the regularity that schools demand. This is because hunger, illness and insecurity interrupt their life at home all the time. Their parents have to use most of their energies in order to deal with everyday emergencies.

Life under poverty is unpredictable and prone to sudden losses and traumas. For the poor, there is no such thing as normalcy. Anything can happen anytime, and all you can do is to cope as you suffer. In big cities, municipal authorities can suddenly clear a street of food vendors or bulldoze an unauthorised colony. Next morning, when a child fails to be at school or looks subdued, the teacher shows no curiosity to find out what might have happened to the child’s father or mother the previous afternoon. In rural areas, flood waters can drown hundreds of houses; yet the school is supposed to function and cover the prescribed syllabus! Dams or factories can mean displacement of whole villages. What will happen to children is the least important concern for those in charge of such operations. I once met children in Manibeli, a village that now lies at the bottom of the Sardar Sarovar dam. They had gone through the trauma of seeing their own school vanish under water.

Mid-day meals programme

Poverty also has a corrosive effect on children’s health and mental capacities. Frequent illness, especially on account of stomach-related problems, is common among children who live in conditions characterised by poor sanitation. A recent study has shown how filthy surroundings, in which faecal material mixes with water and food, weaken the capacity to absorb nutrition. Limited resources to eat well and regularly result in a daily cycle of anxiety and low energy which translates into poor attention to the teacher’s expectations. There cannot be better evidence of the relationship between hunger and education than the success of the mid-day meals programme. The fact that this minimalist scheme has actually improved enrolment and retention proves how major a role hunger and malnourishment play in pushing children to drop out of school. Certain State governments have recently administered a dose of deworming medicine, recognising the prevalence of parasites and the impact of this condition on children’s nutritional status, energy and attention.

Vicious cycle

Poverty often leads to children’s involvement in household work and outside activities that might augment the family’s income, on top of their school work. The burden of responsibilities at home or outside directly influences the child’s participation in school life and capacity to fulfil the teacher’s expectations. Teachers of private schools where 25 per cent of the seats are now being given to the “economically weaker sections” (EWS) category seldom know with clarity what life at home means for children in this category. From looking after younger siblings to sweeping the floor and cooking, an EWS girl often shares major tasks her mother is supposed to accomplish on a daily basis. Whether children work at home or outside, their effort to juggle work-related responsibilities with classroom routines makes their life at school porous and thin. Absence from school or inability to focus makes a direct impact on performance. Once a child starts to lag behind others, he or she becomes a relevant object of stereotyping by classmates and teachers. A vicious cycle sets in. Common stereotypes about the poor get invoked in the teacher’s mind and the child’s behaviour resonates and reinforces these stereotypes. Some of these stereotypes are rooted in caste-related beliefs or in religion. Of course, no principal or teacher would ever acknowledge being guided by these stereotypes.

Education alone cannot address poverty. However, it holds an important place among the numerous strategies that a welfare state must adopt to loosen the grip that chronic poverty has on its victims. A recent British study led by Anand Mani shows how poverty saps the energy of its victims. They often fail to keep up with the effort it takes to avail the state’s benefits. The daily struggles and anxieties of life reinforce the cycle of ill-health and missed appointments. In India, the state’s efforts are quite often mainly symbolic. The distribution of iron tablets or syrup to overcome chronic malnutrition among adolescent girls is a good instance. Had the famous mid-day meal been aimed at middle class children, it would have been priced more realistically. Greater flexibility to cope with price rise would have been permitted. Schemes for the poor are themselves so emaciated and stiff that they cannot be expected to make a significant difference in the lives of their beneficiaries.

Nor are strategies to combat poverty sufficiently contextualised or flexible. Rigidity and uniformity are said to be necessary to avoid corruption and misuse. Even a distinction as broad as rural and urban is overlooked when plans to address the educational problems of poor children are designed. Whether a school has drowned in a dam or been blasted by insurgents or it has been demolished because it was collapsing anyhow, the officials in charge make no distinction or find ways to compensate for the loss of classes. Children studying in government schools are deemed to be poor and, therefore, unimportant. I remember visiting a village in Haryana where the children told me that their best teacher had been transferred away two months ahead of the annual examination. All over the country, government school children cope with the absence of their teachers during elections. It is the children who subsidise the cost of democracy while their parents enthusiastically cast their vote, hoping that it will lead to improvement in their lives.

For better training

Teachers can make a significant difference in the educational experience of poor children, but only if their training equips them with the awareness of what poverty means. Our training programmes are so wordy and wasteful, they make no effort to get into specific issues like poverty. A widespread belief in the ideology of social Darwinism prevents teachers from realising that children of the poor are like any other group of children, with individual differences of interest and motivation. According to this ideology, survival is the proof of being the fittest, hence only the exceptional child from a poor family is endowed by nature to succeed. Training courses don’t engage with such attitudes and beliefs. Teachers who work in mixed classrooms don’t expect all children to succeed in their own different ways. They focus on the few who look exceptional; the rest are believed to lack any potential. It is hardly surprising that the system of education makes so little impact on the majority of children from poorer backgrounds.

(The author is professor of education at Delhi University and a former NCERT director. This article is a shorter version of his silver jubilee lecture at the National Institute of Open Schooling.)

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A very rare and wonderful article. Education and healthcare are most
important things that should be discussed while we discuss about
development or progress. India is too keen on assuming that economic
progress can eradicate poverty which can never happen. Economic
progress if not coupled with social development will only lead to
further widening of gap between rich and poor which in turn leads to
expenditures on subsidies. As Mr. Manmohan Singh said, India spends
more on giving oil subsidies than the budget for education and
healthcare put together. And we will keep doing so, till we realise
that there are no shortcuts to progress. The progress has to be
through hard work and dedication. The progress that education and
healthcare can ensure may be slow but its the progress thats going to
stay with the country in the long run. So, its time we start working
in this direction. And government alone cannot do anything, if only
people are committed in this direction, there is hope.

from:  Rahul Choudhary
Posted on: Oct 15, 2013 at 00:18 IST

Thanks for this article.....A poor child is worse victim of poverty
because he has very immature mind and chicken heart,who are not meant
to deal with curse of poverty.Almost all kinds of problems can be
found in a poor household.Deprivation in a poor child's life begins
right from the womb wherein mother, herself, is suffered from
malnutrition and during birth and after birth,child never gets any
medical aid or care,forget about basic amenities.As he grows,he
witnesses domestic violence,abusive language and social discrimination
which continue in school also.
His parents are mostly uneducated so never provide him healthy
environment for study and force him in to economic
activities.consequently child faces repeated failure.All these
hardships kill his confidence so he accepts poverty as his fortune.
Even limited opportunity, with discrimination and corruption at every
stage, kill his faith in the system therefore he never feels ashamed
even in doing unlawful activities..

from:  anoop kumar bhardwaj
Posted on: Oct 14, 2013 at 23:28 IST

Thanks to the hindu for publishing this article. This seriously a eye opening article.
Yes, definitely reforms in teachers selection, training are imperative. It s wake up call
to state . one suggestions would be to introduced ethics in school . It will enchance the
value based education .However for short term problems like illness, in
security,uncertaninty etc need to review the social sector programmes.

from:  Deepak A.E
Posted on: Oct 14, 2013 at 20:54 IST

Sir,
Take my bow first for this awesome piece of writing.
But i have a concern people who already know these facts are reading this
article and in my opinion its doesn't going to make any change.
This article should be sent to the teacher of every school(every possible
Government school) so that they could realize their importance and could
help to make the India of tomorrow more strong by giving their best at
their JOB.

from:  Gaurav Jain
Posted on: Oct 14, 2013 at 01:15 IST

I am an avid reader of Krishna Kumar. I am also victim of what all mentioned by him and those are haunting me from child hood till today.
On 9th of this month, I visited Laknavaram forest area in Warangal district. I saw a 11 year old boy herding 100 plus buffaloes.This shocked me and agonised me. Are 25 percent seats in private schools on mere paper,Mid-day meal of poor quality and quantity, De-worming tablets and Iron Folic Acid tablets of doubtful action and doubtful safety are the real solutions for our children.
What our children really need are socialized education, socialized health and justice of eating.

from:  ARAVEETI RAMAYOGAIAH
Posted on: Oct 13, 2013 at 18:15 IST

From the very beginning education and health has been neglected.The government let in private players in these two most important public goods . Both these sectors should be homogenized and completely brought under government so that everyone is on same footing and government is not able to jerk off its duty.

from:  Satish Kumar
Posted on: Oct 13, 2013 at 18:05 IST

Many of us may be wanting to contribute to the welfare of society in
more effective way. Donations and other efforts are not able to make a
dent as this is a very complicated and indirect problem. The state and
the society have to work in cohesive manner to make radical changes.
The root cause is poverty and ignorance. The street children are
forced to beg on instruction of their own parents. The so called poor
parents are uneducated and helpless and they do not want to get out of
their routine due to ease. Unless they are trained for skills for
livelihood and compelled to lead a life which they deserve as human
being, nothing major can happen. This needs revolutionary ideas to
implement. Dedicated Volunteers could be instrumental in bringing this
change. There is need for a mechanism which can assure a decent living
for such people which takes care of their day to day needs of living,
housing, food and sanitation and then EDUCATION. KUDOS to the PROF.
for inputs on such an imp topic

from:  Vandna
Posted on: Oct 13, 2013 at 15:09 IST

This is a painfully Superficial treatment of a Serious Subject like Education of the Poor. It is even more alarming that the author is a Professor. The Basic tenet of the author that Poverty & Education are incompatible, that the Poor are wholly engaged in Short-term Survival efforts with no long-term Drive & Vision, is wholly misplaced. In 1914, my father was born in abject poverty in Mysore. As a bright student in a Christian school, he got a tiny scholarship which sustained the family. Over years, he graduated, got a job, all his siblings completed
school, got married & moved on in life. He got an Overseas Govt Scholarhip in 1940's & went by ship to England to get his Masters from Manchester. He returned & became a Professor of Electrical Engg. We his children were far more secure but no match to his Zeal to overcome Odds. The Poor Only need an Opportunity to Learn & give them a fair shot at Realising their Dreams. But the Poor do have Dreams they want to Work for. Make no Mistake.

from:  S.Venkatesh
Posted on: Oct 13, 2013 at 14:21 IST

Nicely captured the different aspects other than Education which
impacts detrimentally the lives of the children. If we are to progress
to a developed country in the two decades coming, then children of
today will play a vital role in that. We need our children to grow up
strong and knowledgeable to handle the challenges.
More workforce will be required. Touching upon the training policies,
it's aptly pointed out that the programs lack proper motivation to
improve conditions of children from all sections of society. Focus
should be on all. Policing needs to be molded or changed to be
inclusive of all children.

from:  Raja
Posted on: Oct 13, 2013 at 08:54 IST

The condition of poor or illiterate people(children, mainly students) , mentioned in this article is quite familiar to what we observe in our daily college life. Being a student ,I feel the role of a teacher as this article says ,is very important for the betterment of poor children. But, to our surprise we find, in well known universities and colleges teachers drawing line between rich-poor, literate-illiterate. A teacher is not just there for teaching, but, to broaden the level of thinking of students. But,if a teacher himself is stuck in finding from which particular class a student belongs and accordingly treating him, nothing can be worse. I am not saying that all teachers do this and I apologize for this but, its sad that it happens. Thank you ,sir ,for such an enlightening article.

from:  Anupama Pathak
Posted on: Oct 13, 2013 at 02:24 IST

True.....

from:  Shubham Jain
Posted on: Oct 13, 2013 at 01:15 IST

Lack of inclusiveness and attitude of stereotyping ,these two factors needs more attention in behavior training of teachers and the society as whole.

from:  Saravanan
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 19:32 IST

Quality Education is the solution of problems, what India are facing. Whether is social, economical or political. Person who merely can read and write is not totally educated one. Second things today our government provide education which is capable to create clerks only. The education needed for top paying job is being sold in our country, what the poors can not acces.

from:  Vishal BADVE
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 18:14 IST

It is rightly pointed out by the author that education & poverty
constitute a vicious cycle. poverty leads to no education & no
education leads to poverty.The law making education compulsory (RTE)
is in place & in my opinion there can be some amendments done on it.For example if the poor or the EWS have to avail the benefits of the various schemes & the yojanas that the govt offers then it must be compulsory for them to send their children to schools failing which they will be barred from the state's benefits.Attendance in schools can be monitored after which various subsidies which they are entitled will be available to them.

from:  rashmi
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 18:10 IST

Excellent article. Analysis of MDM scheme vis-a-vis education and
poverty is pinpointed.

from:  Rohit
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 17:49 IST

Forget the poor. Even a middle class person in a city does not have
access to good quality free education for his children. I lament the
fact that good higher education in the form of IIT and IIM is subsidised
but good basic primary education is not.
The poor among the voting population do not know their rights and the middle class do not care.

from:  Rahul Garg
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 17:35 IST

A precise and timely well written article, i do have experiences of
observing the poor students in my native village Sitamarhi Bihar, the
time is ripe not only to make the education system more accessible to
poor children but also to make teachers more aware of their
responsibilies particularly in behaving the students . Some times its
felt and found that teachers also treat on the basis of caste and
religion . We need a better society with a better education system in a
peaceful , friendly and honest environment.

from:  Md. Sanaullah
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 17:35 IST

Blaming a bad teachers training will take you no where. nor god will send new bunch of teachers.If they create a sensitive system, these people will deliver the goods.
Do you think government really want to educate the masses? Are they ready for that? If they can create a full proof security system for more than thousands VIPs, Its a big efficient network. They can create a result giving system in education also. Do you really think our system honestly try to provide education for kids. To be honest if they have 10% political will to do it, I am sure thousand other social
group will help them. Truth is that they not want to educate our poor kids.

from:  Rajesh Bhardwaj
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 17:32 IST

In order to uplift the education conditions of the deprived children the primary school teachers must be devoted to the teaching profession but as is earlier pointed the persons entering the teaching field are not of good academic background and so may not realize the necessisity of imparting a quality education to the poor children and motivate them for the uplift of their social conditions. The only solution to this i feel is education department must be given of top prority and handsome packages must be offered to the teachers to attract determined and knowledgible persons and make them happy first so that they can contribute at their best. Also policy makers should think for more innovative methods of attracting the children to schools like establishing a well equipped play ground in the schools. My opinion is that the artical editors and researchers at universities have much deeper understanding of the various social issues than the policy makers in the government.

from:  A ABILASH
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 17:25 IST

Nice article bringing out the problems in providing proper education. Next to that, "education" itself is largely useless for the vast majority. Take for example building a house. How many "educated" people do we need? May be just one, the architect. The rest, the maistry, the labor, the electrician, the plumber, the painter etc., are all "uneducated". Those who take to one of these professions after passing 10th class are jokingly called "educated fools" by fellow workers, because their education has given them no skill. We need PRACTICAL education. Education that creates big engineers and scientists is fine, but ignoring the bottom of the pyramid and trying to drive _everyone_ up the the pyramid is not going to yield results.

from:  Somasekhar
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 15:50 IST

This is where CSR iniatives will be helpful. Let us accept that a child in the poor man family is also a bread-winner by doing some work. Let us not prevent it. In each area where industries/factories/building construction/cultivation is going on we have to ask the employers to create a school for providing basic education. 3 hours they have to compulsorily attend school and learn. Food should be provided free. In that process, the child is also feels confident that he is not begging, he is working and getting education. Parents burden also lessens and ultimatley the objective of providing education is achieved at lesser cost. It also provides employement opportunity to unemployed graduates who can teach such children.

from:  murthyb
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 15:15 IST

Very good article.... this is the time to examine our educational
system; govt mostly concentrate on the education system which corporate
needs. But if we want to build up a nation, we want a integral system of
education which help the children to develop in knowledge, attitude,
behaviour, self confidence and etc... and our attitudes towards the
teaching has to be change.

from:  Mohamed Aslam
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 14:39 IST

Investment on education has manifold returns compared to investment in
real estates and related ventures.The saying is" when you educate a
man you educate an individual, but when you educate a women you
educate a family"- the implications are many.Creating awareness among
parents, heads of "grama sabhas" ,religious heads and heads of
"Gothras" on the need for educating young ones are needed for a
welfare state."Angan wadies" are doing a splendid job.There are
privately owned and operated pre-primary, primary and upper primary
schools run by Missionaries-Hindu,Muslim,Christian and Jain-doing
great service.The most literate state of Kerala has primary schools at
walking distance.The Fisher men Island Village of Kumbalanghi(Cochin,Kerala) from where I hail has St Peters School established in 1843 owned by Christian Mahasabha.This school upgraded as a Secondary High School made Kumbalanghi as a model village.The Alumini include a Union Minister of State,A famous cardiologist and a VC.

from:  Dr K V Peter
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 14:37 IST

I doubt what kind of food children are getting under Mid Day Scheme at
Rs. 4 per meal. I strongly feel the urge of incorporation of
nutritious foods like millets and honey. It will serve two fold
purpose. Increasing the demand of millets and helping farmers to grow
it especially in rainfed areas. Further it will help improving
nutritional status of children. Millets being cheaper than rice and
wheat and generate surplus funds which can be allocated in procuring
honey. Considering the haemoglobin level in girl children and the high
nutritional status of honey can make a good deal in terms of social
development

from:  komal preet kaur
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 14:32 IST

Literacy seems the only means to eradicate poverty from this country. The steps taken by our govt looks promising on paper only, since there are no measures taken to monitor its working.
I wonder those who makes laws saying right to education is mendatory for every child doesnt go out on streets and see still millions of childeren vendoring on streets, finding it difficult to make day ends meet forget about the education. I have a serious doubt regarding 25% qouta of poor childeren in private schools since i have never seen poor childeren making it to big private schools, and even if they do who is going to take care of the expenses that follows after taking admission in such school.

from:  Rishi Raj Chauhan
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 13:53 IST

Whatever the professor has stated is absolute truth; but, unlike he has interpreted, the policies for education under the different phraseologies do target the poor and the deprived. There is a saying that if one wants to take bath in the ocean he should no wait for the waves to subside. While you address the poverty, education should not wait for poverty to subside. Poverty alleviation programmes and Mid day meal scheme and eduction for all should go side by side.The points made on the adverse impact of hunger and poverty on education of the poor children are noteworthy, but how do you reconcile both? There shall be certain
casualties in such circumstances of misfortune, the instances of which the author has dwelt in detail; here it would take a little longer to acieve the results, but to stereotype this scenario does not help in solving the twin problem of education and poverty. There are states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala that have shown good progress. Other States should emulate.

from:  M.R.Sampath
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 13:45 IST

The author rightly pointed out the reasons which impeding the children of poorer section.policy maker should conceive the plans which comprehensively address the issues ralated to elementary & secondary education.Hunger & malnutrition is prevalent in india so only mid day meals programmes not enough to cope with situation but also needs complete package of all essential articles & livelihood programmes to their parents.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 13:23 IST

Poverty arising out of lack of adequate economic means to cope with
problems of survival hurts a large section of India's population and
poverty of another kind arising out lack of concern for the economically
poor hurts most of the others which include our opinion makers, law
makers, administrators, teachers and a whole lot of others. Educators,
sociologists, administrators and most importantly opinion makers have to
play constructive roles in poverty eradication. In this context one
appreciates Krishna Kumar's article.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 12:21 IST

A welcome lead by Mr. Professor & the Hindu. My experience says even
the persons who are engaging themselves in primary teaching education
are also mainly from lower middle class or middle class section of the
society if not totally. A job seeker with a decent academic background
usually doesnt prefer school teaching job. Most of the job seekers who
finally get into primary school teaching either doesnt have a good
academic biodata or comes from lower middle class. Those families with
a decent economic condition are trying to engage their children in IT
or banking or even BPO profession. One of the reason the craze for
teaching profession has come down is because the remuneration paid is
too low to attract a person with good academic knowledge and is well
acquainted with the economic condition of the weaker section of the
society.

from:  Pritam
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 12:01 IST

Excellent article. This particular article has hit bulls eye about the subect of poverty and how it affects children especially in its myriad forms and how we refuse to acknowledge it.

from:  Praseed Nair
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 11:40 IST

Our education system has to address these serious issues as it has not really empowered the poorest of this country.We find the number of government schools without requisite teachers and infrastructure,as we find the state supporting commercialisation of education by giving permission to too many susbstandard Matriculation and CBSE schools everywhere.It is hightime,we have a common admission policy to make sure that the unusal donations and excessive fees being collected from the economically weaker sections.The union government must set up at least five schools in every district giving high quality school education with an effective monitoring system in place.Unless,we focus on these changes,no possibility of craeting an egalitarian society is feasible in India.

from:  Mangalaprathaban.M
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 11:38 IST

Sir..this was really enlightening. Most of the people in urban India are completely oblivious about life of significant population of India. There is a need to spread awareness among the well endowed sections about those who are lagging in development and struggling for daily livelihoods.
I have been a supporter of capitalism, but blind focus on income growth of a chosen few for the sake of numbers is not appreciable. Can we build up a society that always focuses on welfare of people around rather than pushing only for selfish gains.

from:  Dushyant Singla
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 11:26 IST

A great lecture/article on relation between poverty and lack of education. The people sitting in big cities who make policies and those who comment/appreciate on them are usually unaware of the ground realities.
The fact is that Mid day meal may have increased enrollment but it has substantially decreased the level of education. Every time we blame the teachers for poor standard of education but have we ever wondered how much a teacher, who is busy thinking about what vegetable they have to cook for the afternoon(in reality teachers have to manage this meal scheme), can give to the academic side??
Why can't we start with cash benefits in education. Everyone should have the right to approach the best school in area and Govt should pay. Then only will some good come. Else this Darwinian society will never let people from poor villages like mine to grow and join the mainstream.

from:  varinder
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 10:45 IST

An Education systems in India conceive atypical citizenry among the
society, Those who have enough money,have a preference to go Private
schools with high standard. Similarly, Lower-Income people choose
Government schools. It will create huge gap between Lower-middle class
and Upper Class standard of living.Role of education reducing poverty
on because of getting better job.Here is some limitation to get good
job in rural people.
Financially strong candidates because of there quality of education.
It seems to change the complete system of education not only in
teachers. Knowledge is not poor but our system is giving poor quality.

from:  Subeesh Kumar S
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 10:21 IST

Professor Kumar outlines the issues involved with such clarity that
it's amazing how and why the planners can overlook such glaring facts.
In my opinion the advisory council of the Congress President that
included sensitive and sensible experts from various fields was a very
good idea. People who have actually seen the ground reality and have
the ability to think of solutions to improve it, need to be in touch
with the state mechanisms.
Read together with the other article from yesterday that talked of the
relationship between mental health and poverty, this article is a
must-read for anybody who has any interest in our children.
Thanks Hindu!

from:  shraddha
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 10:13 IST

An insightful comment that dwells into the meaning of development and its contrast with the subsequent reality as we see today. Education by design should resonate the idea of liberation and equality. It is only then that we can aim for seeing the coherence between policy making and the results ensued.

from:  Prateek Saxena
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 09:58 IST

(conbtd form above). Six decades later, when Tony Blair of UK’s in his
‘knowledge economy’ said the pupils must learn the family trade and
occupation., the society hailed him for his New Labour imagination.
Contrast this with the way politicians scoffed at Rajaji in TN by DK
propagandists.

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 09:24 IST

The author observes that the children of the poor find it difficult to
cope up with the regulatory the schools demand. An incident reported in the past needs to be narrated here. When a teacher checked with all pupils of their homework compliance, he found one who has not complied,. On being questioned by the teacher, the boy cried and showed his hands which were swollen. When the teacher probed kindly further, the pupil narrated the miserable story of his chores of the
hapless boy- of his ill-treatment at home by his stepmother. Because the treacher was understanding enough and propbed into the causes for his failing to do home work instead of blindly canning him, the situation was understood Another experience of the fifties. When Rajaji admionstration changed the hours of schooling to suit children helping the family work, the political opposition pounced on him for trying to strengthen the caste foundations. Six decades later, when Tony Blair of UK’s in his ‘knowledge economy’ said the pupils must learn the family trade and
occupation., the society hailed him for his New Labour imagination.

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 09:22 IST

We often say/ bemoan India is poor with illiterate population. We can
overcome this dreaded menace if we seriously implement RTE (the way we
enacted this law), we can get startling results in 10 to 15 years, no
doubt at all. The onus is now on Congress party which is in power for
most of the period and its commitment is to sustain poverty and
illiteracy for its own survival. India needs a change for better ?

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 09:10 IST

The writer’s analysis is perhaps generally known to most people who follow the education system and social conditions in India. Such analysis is appropriate if one is looking for funds for a charitable organization. From the national development point of view, a strategic plan with a vision, key goals, resource requirements, and implementation plan would be a better contribution. As a professor at a Delhi University, the author could pull together a team of planners and publish a plan as a Strawman. Such a plan can serve as a guide or a challenge for political leaders, officials, and philanthropic organizations to come to the table and work with it.

from:  Som Karamchetty
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 08:16 IST

A long overdue analysis. I thank The Hindu and the writer for highlighting the issue. While, good and universal education may not be the panacea for all our country's problems, but I feel its the most-important factor for development. We should learn from China, and other East Asian countries who are not reaping the benefits of introducing a strict education policy 3-4 decades ago.
Its has been completely our fault, as we lacked and are still lacking the motivation and not the resources to empower our children.

from:  Manas Sahu
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 00:59 IST

The writer has rightly pointed out the key problem and its proximate
solution. Teachers has the ability to transform life of any student.
Teachers must be trained well to underlying principle of teaching.
Teacher is the only person for a child whom he/she trust blindly apart from their parents.
India has very large proportion of youth most of them are lacking very basic knowledge which could have enabled them to secure a good Job. Half education promotes unemployment. Our Government must start training to primary school teachers (mostly) to prevent development of half-educated youth.

from:  sushant
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 00:49 IST

One more nice article by The Hindu.
It's indeed true that poverty is not considered while preparing any policy. Besides problem like malnourishment, inadequate facilities and social discrimination, The increasing cost of education (because of privatization of education and inflation) makes it even more difficult for poor students to continue their study. and, our Government is simply doing things keeping in mind only vote-bank.
And, One more true statement in the article is that government school teachers are always busy doing different different activities like census, election preparation and data collection for Aadhaar etc. Government should think about student's education while assigning any extra work to Teachers. Or, it would be better if they assign this extra work to some third party.

from:  Sukhbir Singh
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 00:49 IST

Reading this article broke my heart. I thank Dr. Krishna Kumar for calling a spade a
spade and once again reminding us that the Indian state does not care for the children
of the poor.

from:  ArunMkherjee
Posted on: Oct 12, 2013 at 00:46 IST
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