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India’s Rigid Education Is Creating A Lifetime Of Monotonous Jobs, With No Self-Growth

Career is looked upon as an integral part of an individual’s life. In a country like India, the profession of an individual determines their social status in the society. When meeting a new person, our judgment boils down to their profession and whether it fits into the conventionally ‘esteemed’ professions which guarantee ‘stability’ in life. We welcome these people into our circle with open arms.

However, what good are such conventional career options if they only guarantee security and stability in life? Important considerations like aptitude and interests of an individual are sidelined as well as ignored when making career decisions. One cannot help but notice the growing trend of students, encouraged by their parents, entering colleges or universities because of its brand name instead of the courses they offer

In India, out of nowhere, a 12th standard student is asked to make one of the most important decisions of their life – to select a course which they would follow rigidly to ultimately make a living out of it. The confused student, in their fragile state of mind, most of the time end up selecting a course in which they have either scored the most or something their family members had chosen. There is no room for self-interrogation or personal interests playing a role in the selection of courses. Lack of maturity, self-knowledge and insufficient intellectual growth results in wrong career decisions among teenagers, approved by their parents which, in turn, might cost them a lifetime of tedious, monotonous jobs, with little to no self-growth.

A way to counter this lack of knowledge among students and parents is to unfold the unconventional career options and courses available to students which might match their aptitude as well as suit their interests. Career options, to name a few like, Bachelor of rural studies, ethical hacking, food flavourist, museum studies, pet grooming, video-game tester, voiceover artist, vlogger, video-game designer, wine specialist, and so many more must get their dues instead of just sticking to professions like doctor, engineer, professors, lawyers and so on.

Students and their parents must do away with passivity and consider research as the king. In the age of the internet, we have everything at the tip of our fingers. Hence, they must consider it their responsibility to dig in deep till the time they find their perfect match.

 

 

Nevertheless, only students and their parents are not to be blamed when a wrong career decision is made. Educational institutions must be equally held responsible. These institutions, instead of giving wings to the aspirations of the students, make their flight to loving their jobs tough. Educational institutions today, particularly in India, have a rigid, orthodox system, which makes it not-so student-friendly. In India, once a course has been taken up by a student at the graduate level, they must go ahead with it and make a career out of it. Such rigidity while taking up a course must be done away with. Students studying abroad undergo a system where at every step, they get to decide what they want to do. They can take or drop any subject at any point of time and emphasis is given to interdisciplinary studies. Such a change should be brought into the Indian education system as well so that students get space to breathe.

Schools should make summer internships available to students of class 11 and 12 so that they get acquainted with the ground reality of a particular course or subject that they are planning to take up at the graduate level. Another trend among schools and colleges that needs to be done away with for quality education is to eliminate the didactic way of teaching. This way of teaching not only limits the horizons of thinking but also makes students dull. Critical thinking and logical reasoning must be introduced in schools and colleges as compulsory subjects so that they are given the space to think beyond the curriculum. Educational institutions should make student-friendly curricula and encourage remedial classes for students. As Rabindranath Tagore rightly mentioned, education cannot happen within the four walls of the classroom. It must and should go beyond the curriculum for the enhancement of the lives of the students as well as the nation as a whole.

Teachers and principals must take an active role in gauging the effectiveness of an educational institution. They must, in return, be given incentives for their extra effort for bringing about change in their way of teaching. Occasional rotation of high performing teachers to low performing schools can also reap positive results. State governments can step in and propose accountability measures so that educational institutions spur their performances for the students. These evaluations must make a note of not only assessing the contribution of higher education to the economic growth and employability of its students but also to the community and national development. Accountability of these institutions is thus very important because it ensures to the students as well as their parents that they are receiving high-quality education for the overall life enrichment of the students.

Students must be treated as the top-most priority, for they are the drivers of our nation’s future. Hence the role of education must be to grow seeds of inquisitiveness in the minds of the students instead of acting as stressors. If Indian educational institutions manage to build spaces where debates, discussions, rational thinking and free speech are encouraged and practised, students in India will not only rise but shine.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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