The country is busy these days with CAA, NPR, protests, and the coming elections in Delhi. Everything about politics has created so much noise that no one is even thinking about how education is going to fare in this year’s budget.
This year’s budget is vital. I am not sure of what this year’s budget has for education… but the way things have happened in the preceding year does not fill me with a lot of confidence. Education sector has traditionally been traumatized by fiscal allocation slashes. This, despite the fact that the education sector in India is estimated at US$ 91.7 billion in FY18 and is expected to reach US$ 101.1 billion in FY19. We have more than 660 universities and institutes of higher education, more than 35,000 colleges and more than 13,90,000 schools and this should ideally make things look so much better. But this is far from the truth that is staring at us.
The truth that surrounds the education sector is that out of 82 countries ranked, India is 77th in education quality and equity, 75th in work opportunities, 79th in fair wage, and 76th in social protection. These figures are from a video clip by Quint. This means that we are actually in the bottom 10 in most categories. This definitely doesn’t make me feel proud of the way things have gone about.
I believe that it is time for our politicians as well as all civil rights activists to understand that an educated nation is the only way ahead. We need to stay away from the dramatic sounding bytes that have been reverberating throughout the mainstream media for these past few months now. I don’t want to know if poha or flattened rice is a staple food of Bangladeshi immigrants. I don’t want to see agitators blocking roads and preventing people from doing their daily work in peace. I don’t appreciate public property being vandalized for serving the interests of the left or right or anyone else. I don’t like to log on to my social media platforms only to watch helplessly people getting into virtual slanging matches. Un-friending has become a norm. This isn’t the India that anyone had ever wished for.
We, the people of India must know that we are not puppets prancing about to cater to political whims. We, the people of India must be aware of what the preamble to our constitution tells us. For those who do not have the time to access it, I quote:
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”
Let me add that words are fragile baubles with multiple layers of thin glass that can explode into smithereens if mishandled or misinterpreted. We need to read the preamble carefully like a sapper dismantling a bomb and never fall for smart handlers who keep throwing connotations that can destroy what we have built over decades. This is important because real education is understanding the truth that surrounds us… and this is why we need the advantages of education to be equally spread to every individual in the country. Good education is our right.