What Do Indian Schools Need? Better Infrastructure
The most paramount tool of development is education. The cardinal strength of a country is its citizens. A country like ours has taken many steps towards building a nation of educated individuals who hopefully, would act as fruitful assets in the future. While programs like Right To Education (RTE), 2009 provide compulsory and free education to children of age 6 to 14, adequate execution of the same is still half done.
As free education for all encouraged people to send their children to school, it also threw light upon a very crucial aspect of education that is, the infrastructure of the school. The private schools have it all! They are no less than lavish hotels and provide nothing less than quality education and extracurricular amenities. Sadly, this isn’t available to all. Being a nation that has the second highest rate of poverty, these schools aren’t accessible to many children owing to the expensive fees that these schools charge.
To fill this educational void, there are a lot of government schools in the country. More than 80% of schools in states such as Odisha, Bihar, Tripura, Andra Pradesh, Jharkhan, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Assam are run by government. Interestingly, Lakhshwadeep has 100% schools being run by the government. This puts a lot of responsibility on the state to provide quality education, which further calls for better infrastructural facilities. This is where the problem surfaces.
Basic facilities such as healthy environment around the school, libraries, spacious classrooms, toilets and open playgrounds aren’t available to many. This paints a shocking yet, quite familiar picture of educational prerequisites of the country. While we’re all well aware of these problems, there’s seldom any address made to it. Sure, there’s condemn at our part but, that’s where the effort subsides. The government too, brings various blueprints for the betterment of the infrastructure but, these plans lack apt implementation. This deepens the cleft even more.
It is important to highlight the role of infrastructure of the school in the education of the students. Providing right facilities would encourage the inclination in the children to learn more. We have to look at things from the ground level. Isn’t it scary enough to believe that there aren’t washrooms for the children in many schools across the country? Sanitation is the least one can provide. With initiatives like Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, toilets have been made in many schools but, the maintenance remains to be a great concern. The toilets aren’t always clean. Many schools do not have separate washrooms for boys and girls. In many cases, this further leads to girls dropping out of school after hitting puberty. This is not what we want for the ‘future of India’ as we call our children, and rightly so.
In addition to this, there are also many more areas that need immediate attention. These include things as basic as benches, books, a proper building, electricity etc. Children who go to private schools in metro cities or a similar environment might find it really overwhelming. This isn’t what they grew up with. In my opinion, it is really important to bridge the gap between the two different worlds that the two different kinds of education systems have created. This can only happen when we try to provide the fundamental requirements to the children going to government schools. It’s of utmost importance when it comes to preparing them for a world where competition is at its peak and education is often outshined by few mouths speaking in English. Just knowing what the books tell you isn’t enough in a world where it’s no longer about knowing math formulas. It’s about holistic development which, only a good school can provide.
It’s about time that we make our government schools count as good schools too. It is not so much to do, honestly. With the right intentions, comes the right path. NGOs like Aarambh have taken initiatives to make the lives of the government school kids easier. Aarambh is an organization based in Mumbai, which has started creating Multifunctional Help Desks. These are portable recycled cardboard desks for the students to keep their books on in class. This desk further converts into a bag to carry books home. I haven’t heard of an initiative as creative and useful as this! This is how we make changes. We become one.
Not enough can be spoken about the importance of education for everyone. It is ones fundamental right and adequate effort needs to be made so that it’s available to all, indiscriminately. While we sit in our chairs, reading this article, let’s ponder over our contribution and what we can do to help these children get educated. The least we can do is start thinking.