By M.C. Linthoingambee
Even though all things go, knowledge will still follow each of us as shadows. Knowledge is one of our propounding capacities which arise in the course of our existence through experiences. This self attained intelligence is what puts us in the front lines which is exactly why the field of education require our immediate outreach so that more and more people learn the power of knowledge and its capacities. Literacy is one of the most important basic and fundamental human rights. Now, why is it so? It is because when we are not educated, our economic and social stratum suffers a backlog. My father belonged to a family that had 8 offspring but I believe that to my Grandfather and Grandmother, more than the numbers they felt the need to educate their children rather than leave them as illiterate. Not many families get lucky, for even in the modern world today, there are many who suffer from illiteracy especially in the third world countries, where even food and water are like a mirage. Observing the dire urge to attain the maximum number of literate people, UNESCO has been observing September 8 as the International Literacy Day for more than 40 years highlighting the value of education in the hope of eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality, ensuring sustainable development, promoting the idea of peace and democracy and much more.
Today, education is still an increasing challenge in various parts of the world. We are still centered on the superiority of certain groups who are opposed to measures that are aimed at educating young minds, and more so girl children. The assassination attempt on Pakistani teenage educationa activist Malala Yousafzai highlighted the immense challenges faced by young women in parts of Asia to acquire an education. The need is imperative to provide a quality basic education for all children, youth and adults and, therefore, to give as many as possible the best possible foundation for their future.
For a country with immense capacities like India, human resources often suffer from the cause of being illiterate. Due to their lack of education, many are still left in the turmoil of poverty. A large part of the country is education deprived. The southern tip of the country takes the lead in the literacy charts whereas in the north, states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are still striving to touch the mark of basic literacy rate. On the eastern front, people are still outlived by old social insecurities. The Western states are financially good enough to support the basic necessities in which education has no place. As per the Human Development Report-2003, Youth (15-24 years of age) literacy rate in the middle-income countries is 87.8 per cent whereas in India, it is 73.3 percent. Out of 94 developing countries, the position of India is 76th as far as educational development index is concerned.
The Government has taken various measures to improve the education scenario over the years. The 86th Amendment of the Indian Constitution stands to mark forth those steps in it thereby providing education for children in the age group 6-14 years and for children prior to 6 years assigned to the States or local bodies. Right to Education has now been incorporated in the list of Fundamental Rights in Article 21-A, a sub-clause to Article 21, Right to Life. Recently, a large amount of money has also been contributed to the Sarva Siksha Abhyan. Special measures have also been taken to exhort the young children and their parents to support actively for the success of the program. Some state governments have made extra efforts such as sending people door to door on carts, loaded with books, to educate girls who are not allowed to leave their homes. Night shifts have been introduced to promote adult education, so that they can earn their living during daytime and be educated simultaneously. Additionally, the mid-day meal scheme has been implemented to attract more and more poor children though its success is still a cornerstone in terms of their delivery and effective implementation.
Children should be encouraged to bring in their own success stories. It is highly unlikely that we can force someone to go for a medical career when he has Hemophobia. Sometimes, parents often tie up their children to an obligation to go for only the science streams, this certain pessimistic ritual should be outnumbered as those hidden talents become locked in the closet. The higher education platform is open for the promotion of course structures in fashion designing, media and entertainment, etc. fulfilling the need of the generation. A huge part of the country is still in a dire need of a worthy guidance to its talents and capabilities. Support and not resistance, should be offered to the mavericks who have tried to break the shackles of old beliefs and unsocial dogmas.
As a result, it is essential that as many children as possible go to school, learn to read and write and acquire the numeracy skills necessary to thrive in our technology-drive world. But who says only basic literacy skills are provided in schools? There is also a huge structure of learning divinity with the introduction of various extracurricular activities making the school grounds more pensively wanted than ever before where we earn our lifelong memories.
(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)