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Is India Ready For New Education Policy? What Prayaas’ Experience Suggests

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Last year I used to give tuition to one of the girls in my neighborhood. She was in primary school and a student at a prestigious school. But every day when she came to my home, she used to say, “Ma’am aaj nahi padhao, school me bahut padhaya (Ma’am don’t teach us today, we’re already exhausted by doing a lot in school today).”

I was helpless as her mother told me, “Mayuri, Gauri ka test hai Kal aur last time marks achhe nhi the so isko padha dena‘ (She has a test tomorrow so teach her as last time she scored very less).” I felt pity for Gauri as she was such a small kid but was bearing a lot of load on her shoulders.

Gauri hated doing mathematics. The reason being the need to mug up tables that had been haunting her from the beginning. Her mother always used to scold her for forgetting the tables. The same situation she had in English Literature too, as she had to rotely learn the question answers and word meanings to score good marks and most importantly to make her mother happy and feel content.

So, I used to do some energizers with her so that she gets motivated to study. Environmental science used to be a good energizer for her. She loved knowing about nature. I gifted her a children’s science encyclopedia that she loved. I felt content being a teacher when I saw a beautiful smile on her face and she said, “Ma’am aap to best ho, I love you (You are the best ma’am, I love you).”

But her mother said, “Mayuri environmental science me to grades hi milte hai. Isko Maths aur English padhao (Only Grades are allotted in environmental science instead of marks, so teach her Maths and English).” Hearing this, I felt helpless and very surprised that Gauri being a little girl wanted to explore her interest but because of her parents, she was under constant pressure. What are we providing to the kids in the name of Education?

What is the Purpose of Education?

This question we have to ask ourselves, “Are we providing the right type of education to the children?” Education is not just about providing knowledge, but providing knowledge of the interest of the child. Every child is potentially unique. Every child has individual differences and interests. Education is something that enlightens the path so that we can be more compatible and skilled to choose the right path and can take decisions of our lives.

Some Popular Impractical Presumptions of Parents

  • The other kid speaking English is more intelligent:    

While NEP 2020 promotes study in the mother tongue and Prayaas is already working with it, the parents think that my child should be fluent in English so that when we stand in our community it should be a matter of praise. Parents should understand that the child can learn how to speak and write when he grows but let him explore and grow first.

  • No bag means no study:

Prayaas has no baggage and burden of books and copies policy. The curriculum is also not a burden on children as they are free to decide what they want to learn. The focus is on nature learning and holistic learning But what about the parents? They think that no bag means no study? “Kya! school me padhai nahi hogi, koi time table nhi mila, koi books nhi le ke jana hai? (No time table being provided, no books will be taken to school, this means, no studies will be done in schools or what?)”

  • School is all about books, classes, boards and benches only:

Frequent breaks between classes. Prayaas also focuses on learning while playing. Our brains need rest, continuous learning is unfruitful. Children get proper rest time so that they can warm up and then energize for the next lesson while self doing and self-exploration but parents take it differently, “Kya bs khelne k liye school bhejte hai hum log? (Do we send our children to play in school?)”

  •  Parents should decide their kids’ interests:

Education according to interests and needs. Prayaas focuses on individual children so that they can explore themselves in a better way. But does this also change the mindset of the parents? There have been numerous parents who think, “Future kya hoga iska agr painting, singing ya football hi seekha to? (What will be their future if they don’t study and only play or sing?)

  • Soft skills and societal values are not worthy to be taught in school:

Everything is evaluated in terms of money. The knowledge of the subject that feels a burden to them is highly valued but everyday life skills and values the child will need at every step of its life are not worthy in the eyes of parents.


Help them find their interests and let them follow it passionately. So, how did I discover the interest of Gauri? The answer is her questions. She used to ask me many questions related to the environment and the science behind it like, “Miss, in my school rabbit has given birth to very cute babies, but why birds lay eggs and rabbits give birth to babies? Why are plants said to be the best friend of human beings?” She was more inclined towards the biology of natural processes.

Every parent dreams that their children become more successful than themselves. They want to give the best facilities, the best schools, even the best socially acclaimed subjects. But are every child’s interests the same? The answer will always be “No”, as every child has his interests and wants to explore in their different way.

That’s why our government has taken a step ahead and brought a change in the prevalent education system. Parents must understand that as we are growing, we need to adapt to the changes to survive. Similarly with education. We cannot give our children the traditional way of education. We have to analyse by looking towards ourselves. What have we got from our education?

Education is not only about holding degrees and getting good marks and mugging chapters as we all have done. Education must give a person a perspective, make a person self-aware and responsible not only towards his family but towards his country and bring a difference to the world through his decisions. Think, how capable are we to make our own decisions and path? Are we able to do so? How can we become torchbearers for our future generations?

Written by – Mayuri Mishra

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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.”

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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