By YKA Staff:
“Jab tak bachche shikshit nahi honge, tab tak vikas kaise hoga? (Till the time the children are not educated, how will there be progress?)”
Niranjan Mandal says gloomily to our YKA video correspondent in the Araria district in Bihar. A resident of Kharhat village, Niranjan wants his children to get educated so they can get out of the glaring poverty and dejection that he could never escape and is now his life. He wants better for his children.
But the situation of the school his kids go to in his village puts him in doubt about their future.
From teachers who don’t teach, to concern being only about ‘enrollment rate’ and not about actual education, government schools are close to useless in Araria. And this is a problem that plagues all of the state. Despite the claim of high enrollment rates, Bihar lags behind severely when it comes to the percentage of children who complete their schooling. Apart from the compulsion of helping their parents in earning a living, problems like teacher absenteeism and indifferent attitude of teachers towards children also contributes towards the cynicism that children and their parents develop towards schools.
And while, aspirational and a good first step, implementation of RTE in 2010, that makes elementary education mandatory for every child between the age-group of 6 to 14 in government funded schools, has only led to attendance becoming a bigger concern than actual teaching.
Who’s losing out in the end?
Thousands of children living in rural areas who do not have the resources or the access to private schools.
The above factors clubbed together have led to a situation in Araria where numerous private coaching centers have sprung up which are milking the inadequate and inefficient education system in rural areas. Aware of the sorry situation in schools and wanting to provide their children a chance at a decent education, parents end up spending a considerable part of their hard-earned living on sending their kids to these thriving coaching centers.
There is ‘vikas’, but at the people’s own cost.