Whether born in a mansion or a slum, or even on the street, every child born in India has the Right to Quality Education, a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Sadly nothing is further from reality.
A recent article entitled ‘Lessons in Negligence‘ is a stark reminder of what is happening on the ground. The article is about education in Madhya Pradesh, but the reality is the same across the land.
The article introduces us to the zero-teacher and one-teacher school. A zero teacher school is a school that has NO qualified teacher and in this state there are 4,472 zero-teacher schools and 17,649 schools with just one teacher. The ‘guest teachers’ who are barely qualified run the zero-teacher schools. In the one-teacher option, a single teacher looks after 8 classes!
A school has a flat screen TV that has never been used! There is no electricity as bills have not been paid; sports equipment lies unused as there are no playgrounds. The article also mentions the existence of a locked school. The date on the board is 11/12/15. Seems nothing happened post that date: a school frozen in time. In such conditions it is not surprising that 40 per cent of students of class 2 cannot even identify the alphabet, while 65 per cent of students in class 5 cannot read textbooks meant for class 2.
This situation is not contained to Madhya Pradesh. Many Project WHY students came to us with similar problems but a little hand holding was all that was needed to make up for lost time.
Education is not centre stage. Children are rarely centre stage. One wonders why. And yet everyone knows that education alone can transform society for the better.
Children cannot wait. In no time, it is too late for them. This is one fact that we at Project WHY know and believe and that is why we have never shied away from any challenge. Whenever we come across children in need we answer the call and give it our best. That is how the Kalka Temple was set up. Today, over 35 children study there after school. Had we not done so, the likelihood of these children becoming beggars was far too real. As we go along, we will elaborate a road map for them based on their ability and needs.
Every child deserves the best; at Project WHY we strive to give her just that!