01 July, 2006

Story of Indian Children In Villages

For last few weeks, I have been watching TV program Being Indian on BBC World . It covers lives of underpriviledged kids in city slums and remote villages. It focuses mainly on child education, and how children from poor families have to work instead of going to schools. Although things are improving, lot needs to be done. Following are some thoughts in my mind.

In one episode of the program they show how teacher in villages in Orissa is NOT doing his job. He just leaves student in the class to study themselves. On second day he is absent. I heard similar stories from 12 year old's in Kolkata about how his teacher beat him and them he stopped going to school. Lack of good teachers in Indian villages is known problem for long time. Some innovative ideas are needed to improve quality of teachers in villages. Incentives ("Best village teacher in the district award" ?) needs to be designed to motivate them.

One more disappointing thing I noticed is lack of resposibility on the part of parents. The excuse they provide is "we are poor, we cannot afford to send our children to school, he/she must work in fields" etc. Well, then why did they produce them, if they know that they cannot take proper care of their children?. Also primary education in India is almost free, is it not? Why do parents want to keep their children illiterate? Do they not know importance of education, and its co-relation with quality of life? May they need to informed, encouraged to be good parents.

30th July episode of "Being Indian" told story of a girl from a village in Karnataka. I know that Infosys Foundation is doing some good work in villages in Karnataka. There might be other NGOs working on these problems. I would be interested to know your ideas.