I once met a child serving tea to passengers at a railway station. Only 8 years old and the lad knew all the worldly things. I asked him why he wasn’t at school. The response was obvious and I knew it in my guts. He didn’t go to school and worked to earn instead.
The story of his life is pretty common, told a thousand times, heard by a million, shared by another million in India. After all, India has the largest illiterate population in whole wide world. That is almost one third of the world’s illiterates. The facts and figures are pretty clear as much as they are astonishing. Our country has failed in the department of delivering knowledge and that too terribly. The next question that comes up in mind is why is that? Again a very common answer, Because of the lack of proper infrastructure since India is still coming of age but is this a genuine answer? Agreed that India is not one of the richest countries in the world, but it has enough resources and wealth that can provide education to a lot more.
Talking about the expenditures made on the education system in India, it is atrociously less than 4% the total GDP of the country. What is even more appalling is that even this petty spending is not utilised properly .The point of building a school 20 km far from a village just because the land is cheap there is beyond my understanding since it’d be much better to not have a school at this “vicinity”. Some will say that the system focuses more on the “elite” institutes such as the IITs and the funding done on them are rather generous. There’s nothing wrong in that, but the point to be made is that these institutes constitute rather a small fraction of the population only. The fraction that is filtered through rigorous competitions and challenges faced in order to get quality knowledge. But I’m not talking about quality as yet, just the basic education that needs to be given much more importance.
Summing it up , The path to knowledge is not all that difficult if the best use of resources and time is to be made. Concurred that there still are social and cultural issues that are still posed in the mind-set of the nescient and that’s a tough battle to win since these issues will take a great deal of time and effort to yield at last , but if the economic issues are dealt with for the time being , that will take us a step or two closer to the final goal. Maybe then finally we can gleam the flag of a hundred percentage literacy.