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Is The Indian Education System Becoming Spineless?

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The second wave of the corona is gradually winding down. Life is reverting to normalcy. Industry-business has started running smoothly only by crawling.   Efforts are also being made to restore the economy. People are creating plans for the future while ignoring past losses, yet, in front of the mass of the population, there is a matter of saving and sustaining livelihood, which is impossible to resolve under the current circumstances. So no, but it appears to be extremely difficult.

Amid all the crises, the crisis prevailing on an important area looks unscathed by the concern and discussion of the people, but it is very reasonable to talk about it.

That area is the domain of education, notably primary and secondary school education. Corona has ruined the country’s public education system, as well as strengthen economic, social, and gender inequities in an area already riddled with anomalies and injustices. Passing the pupils without passing the exam may appear to be the acceptable approach at the time, but in the age of competition, the consequences will undoubtedly be unpleasant in the future. 

Representational image.

In our country, we have a variety of educational systems. Which can be split into two categories: first, government-funded educational institutions, and second, privately-funded educational institutions.

There are both residential and non-residential government schools in government educational institutions, such as Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Vidyalaya. The disparity between them in terms of education and still children’s achievements is obvious. When it comes to private educational institutions, there are a variety of options, including English medium schools connected with CBSE, ICSE, and other accrediting bodies, as well as schools affiliated with state boards.  

Private educational institutions were almost non-existent in India prior to 1991. Education was not a lucrative business, and governments were reluctant about establishing and recognizing private schools. But, Economic reform and the greater influence of capitalism over time, privatization began to have an impact in this area as well, and now, private schools can be found on almost every street.

Now, Education is a billion-dollar business.  People encourage their childrenn to choose a career path by selecting an appropriate school based on their financial capacity. It’s obvious that the more jaggery you put in, the sweeter you’ll get; in other words, the more you pay, the better the facilities and education you’ll get. The difference between India and Indian in these schools can be seen clearly. This explanation is provided so that it is evident that education is riddled with disparities. This, however, will be examined in considerable depth later.  

Schools and colleges were first closed in March 2020 as soon as Corona cases came to the fore. On March 24, 2020, an unexpectedly strict lockdown was announced across the country. The new academic year about to begin in April in most states, however, due to the lockdown, neither schools nor admission to the new session can actually happen. The process of opening schools commenced in December but was phased in, however, due to the second wave, the schools were closed again in March 2021.

Schools have been closed since then, and the second consecutive academic session is currently on the edge of being cancelled. Due to two consecutive academic sessions being cancelled, the private schools, especially schools run with small capital, have suffered a financial setback.   

Representational image.

The concerned section of these schools is the same, which has lost its employment-work-business in this corona period. When there is a lack of food in the house, the issue of depositing the fee becomes inconsequential. If the data are collected, it would be revealed that most private schools have shuttered as a result of Corona, with teachers on leave. Suicides by teachers and administrators have also been reported in some areas.

For anyone, the two-year closure of a business can be a trigger of depression. They have received no assistance from whatsoever in the state or the centre.

When it comes to children’s education, we can perceive that an effort has been made to continue it through online mediums. But the question is, has online education, on the other hand, become a viable alternative to traditional schooling? Economic inequality is a major issue in our society, and its consequences can be seen in our educational system. Online schooling demands a large number of smartphones, a strong network, and a data plan.

The majority of pupils in government and small private schools do not have access to these three resources. It is self-evident that the concept of online learning is useless to them. When we talk about their number, according to this NCERT survey, 27% of students out of 34,000 students were found to not have access to mobile phones in our country. Imagine the real numbers considering all the population, especially when we know that almost half of the population doesn’t have access to the internet.

When it comes to gender inequality, girls’ education has been affected more than boys’. In a poll conducted by several groups in the name of ‘Mapping the Impact of Covid-19’ in five states throughout the country, it is obvious that boys are given more priority in online education than girls. Girls were employed in domestic work in 70% of the homes. And now the majority of them are contemplating whether to resume their education. Child marriages have also surged dramatically.

If a study is conducted, it will become evident that the number of minor girls in marriages has increased significantly in the last two years. In the report of UNICEF, it has been said that the education of girls is affected more during the Corona period.  

Children who study online are more likely to have weak eyes as a result of being exposed to adult content and spending so much time in front of a screen. There has also been a rise in the number of youngsters, many of these children, falling prey to drug addiction. Overall, the education system has deteriorated, when a nation needs to educate its citizens.

These children are tomorrow’s citizens and future leaders; they are the nation’s most valuable asset. Governments should think hard about how to improve the educational system. Vaccination of school children should be taken seriously and implemented as soon as conceivable; otherwise, school closures could become a worse disaster for the country in the future than Corona, for which no alternatives exist.

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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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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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