The two tales of Primary Education

All of us are aware that among the various stages of education, primary education is most elementary and crucial. That is the reason why it is taken to be mandatory to stand anywhere in the world, the reason why a lot of organizations serve to help the children get it, the reason why government proposes, rejects and re-plans various laws and facilities to help people get one of the basic needs in today’s world – education (children and adults alike). The curriculum of primary education does not make the child a learned man, but it is the first step towards developing wisdom and analytical skills. It is the first stepping stone to learn the ways of the outside world. Moreover, the people of our country are roughly divided into two basic economic strata. They are the rich and the poor. And according to it the educational conditions of the people varies too.

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For the poor, especially in the rural areas, the day of a child will be a rough one. Living in a suburban or rural area with no basic amenities, his family might go days without food. He sees his parents struggling and lends a hand too wherever and whenever he can. He might have seen the kids of the rich dressed in uniforms going to school. He might have wished for the same. But he knows no one is going to pay a heed. That would be because his parents would not be able to afford to lose a helping hand by sending him off to school. That would be like cutting some fraction of their income. Though his parents might also wish to provide their son with the same, they do not have enough money to feed themselves regularly, leave apart setting some aside for education. So, when they come to know of the various sikhsha abhijaans run by the government, they feel blessed. And that is how their child is enrolled in a free school. But, this is also a fact that the quality of education imparted by almost all of those schools in the rural areas is extremely poor.

On the other hand, there is the other class of people, the rich ones. Did you think they got it all figured out in a simpler way? You should witness the scene during the first day of admissions of primary schools. There will be parents standing in a long queue along with their restless child who has got tired of complaining about the long tedious wait. While the parents have gone through so much of discussions with various people to finally decide which school to put their child in, the child understands none of it at such small an age. Finally after hours of waiting when the school gate actually opens, there is a rush to get the forms. The submitted forms might be filtered by the weight of pockets of the guardians who have submitted it or the power of their contacts and references. Further, the parents are judged in an informal interview by their communication skills, their attitude towards various affairs, the way they handle their child etc. On being screened through all these levels comes the process of testing the child. Even before he has been enrolled into a school, the first step of education, he is expected to know some minimal basics like his and his parents’ name, counting numbers to some extent and a few rhymes would be excellent. Thanks to play schools and pre-primary institutions, no child is left behind.

We belong to a country of diversities – social, cultural and economical. We have a long way to go before being able to bridge these gaps. But, however different the scenarios in the different families may be, we must make sure that the importance of education is understood and no child is deprived of it. This is because they are the ones who are going to shape this country and work further towards filling up these very diversities.

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