India has made substantial effort to bring education to rural India. However, what it could not bring is quality education. There are a multitude of reasons for it:
- Money: The government spending on primary education is not sufficient to provide quality education to rural population which still makes up over 65% of Indian population. Even the budget sanctioned is routed mainly to cities.
- Infrastructure: There are less number of schools. There is one school for several villages. Many schools lack proper buildings, classroom, benches, toilets and blackboards. The lack of other infrastructure like road and rail connectivity make it even more difficult to source things. No need to talk about libraries.
- Planning: Although educating rural India is one of the most important task for the govt, there is no special body in place for overseeing this. There are no measures in place for checking the quality of education. No feedback mechanism. No initiatives have announced recently for improving the quality. Poor planning(or no planning) is responsible for very inefficient outcomes.
- Teachers: We lack in terms of both quality and quantity. Many schools have insufficient teachers. I found the teachers also poorly trained(some are even untrained) and very bad. It gets worse for higher classes. The good teachers go for privatisation and the bad ones come for govt. Unattractive salaries may be partly the reason for this.
- Poverty: Forget paying fees, many parents do not send their kids to school so that they can earn bread for the family. They lose money if they send kids to school.
- Quality: Most of the students of 4th and even 5th grade can’t read a sentence properly, let alone making one.
- Dropouts: Since the quality of imparted education is very bad, the students find it increasingly difficult to understanding things as they go up the education ladder. And as age increases, they are expected to start earning too. So, makes little sense for them to continue education and ‘waste time
- Lack of Political Will: No politician or anyone has come up with a good idea to improve the situation. No doubt the Midday Meal Scheme has improved the enrollment of students(and their health too) but again the real issue here is quality education where it doesn’t help. The students will drop out once the come off age when they earn more than what is fed in school. Apart from that improving primary education in rural India hardly finds space in any political manifesto.
- Corruption: Officials eat off the money meant for schools. Books meant for distribution to kids are sold off for scrap value. Infrastructure is built only on papers. There are schools in UP and Bihar and other places where teachers only draw salaries but never go to school to teach.
The difference in enrolment to schools in different states has also varied significantly . Northern states have showed less enrolment compared to the southern states . For instance, 29.4% of both boys and girls are not enrolled in chhatisgarh dsitrict , compared to 4.5% and 3.9% respectively. in kerela. It is said to see that even today the rural population is low on education and literacy . The parents are more concerned that their children are able to contribute to the family income through manual labour . This results in the children looking to become drivers , factory workers or simply domestic servants. They think that dreaming or hoping to become something big is meant for the rich.
We call ourselves modernised , but somewhere along the road to development , we have forgotten about rural India. We talk about equality and feminism , but just looking at the female literacy rate or female infant mortality rate , a harsh reality hits us. Despite being in the 21st century , India stays divided between the rural and urban .It is our responsilblity to find a connect between the two . It is high time that we take astand and do something about rural India ‘s future in order to make our nation a better place to live in , where every child in any remote part of the country can also dream big.