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Our Dilapidated And Outdated Education System Is Harming Us

When I was a child, I used to go to the holy Satsang with my grandparents. There were several times when I was told that “human beings are the best living creatures among the 84 lacs living species.”

At that time, I was unable to understand the whole meaning of this sentence, but it was deeply inculcated inside me. A few years later, some questions occurred to my mind. I wondered about how we are better than the other living species. What things do I have, that makes me excellent? I looked for a long time to find my answers. I looked at elder people around, but I couldn’t get my answers.

Then, suddenly, I started reading self-help books and the biographies of the world’s great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, etc. And I finally managed to get my answer. We are excellent because we have the ability to acquire knowledge, self-awareness and wisdom. We can develop character and self-dependent dreams or desires. We can imagine, construct and invent.

I learnt that man is a master of his own thoughts, the moulder of character and the maker and shaper of conditions, environments and destiny. We have the ability to make incredible changes in the lives of others, by our contributions and services.

Appropriate education and training is the most important tool to acquire these above-mentioned abilities or characteristics. Education and training play a vital role in any individual’s overall development.

Across the world, a large number of people spend their early 15-25 years of life gaining education and training. And as we know that India is the second largest populated country in the world, so it’s very obvious that a large number of people are spending their valuable time in getting education and training in this nation.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And yes there is no doubt that without education and proper training, man is just like any other animal. By acquiring correct and appropriate education and training, anyone can ascend to the peak of success and prosperity.

But unfortunately, the current education system of our nation is dilapidated, outdated and worthless. Marks, grades and certificates are the only measurements of a person’s ability in our education system.

Current education is all about careers, salary packages, designations and titles. There are no elements of moral values and character building. The outdated and dilapidated education system of our country is unable to stimulate the unique talent and creativity of youngsters.

The current syllabus has a majority of formal or traditional subjects but is just about collecting facts, figures and information. More than 95% students of our nation are not appropriately trained to meet the demands of the globalized world. One of the most successful industrialist, intellectual and co-founder of a leading IT company Infosys, N.R. Narayan Murthy said that “In the past 60 years we have not made any earth-shaking innovation that has been globally accepted by households.”

A McKinsey survey states that hardly 25% engineering graduates and 40% of science and math graduates are employable. The condition of other traditional courses is even worse. The current education system is generating fear, insecurity, greed, frustration, struggle and breakneck competition. And this type of worthless education is creating chaos in our society. New exposed and increased cases of corruptions, brutal crimes, strikes and riots, suicidal death and depression are the strongest evidence and examples of chaos.

According to me, the worth of real education is not related to the economy and career, the real knowledge is about the formation of character and integrity, and also associated with the spiritual and intellectual development of an individual. Right education enables people to connect with their inner self, and it helps people to identify their enormous potential and passion.

Our nation is facing numerous fundamental problems such as unemployment, poverty, economic instability, gender inequality, and many more. According to my consideration, the biggest reason for all these problems is dilapidated and worthless education. Our nation is not harmed by poor and uneducated people, but by educated, greedy and selfish people.

Dilapidated education means, education that fails to develop character, imagination, creativity, leadership and critical thinking. As of February 2017, there are 789 universities, 37,204 colleges and 11,443 stand-alone institutions in India as per the latest statistics from the UGC website. More than 90% of these institutions fail to provide what their students should have.

Rapid growth in the nation’s development is only possible by revolutionary transformation in our education system and policy. We need such type of education which can:
– stimulate the unique talent and enormous potential of every individual.
– develop dignity and self-esteem.
– develop an attitude of social responsibility and patriotism.

About 65% of Indian population is under the age of 35, and we are the youngest country in the world. And I believe that human resources are better than any other resources that exist in the world.

But rather than focusing on transformational inventions and innovations, our education system is focused on manufacturing our people to become clerks or servants. There are thousands of educational institutions in India, teaching their students to become mediocre and nothing more than an employee. The policy makers of our education system and educational institutions of our nation should have to focus on the formation of practical dreamers, transformational leaders, inventors and entrepreneurs rather than focusing on the formation of labour and employee.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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