An average Indian student chooses to write to the HRD Minister to express his anguish over the poor state of education in the country. Read on.
Respected Mrs. Irani,
Before I begin to describe my purpose of writing to you, allow me to introduce myself. I am a mediocre, ordinary and dull student; let us call me ‘an average Indian student’. I have completed my education from a run-off-the-mill school with grades no one would be proud of. I wasted 2 years preparing for JEE and did not succeed in my first attempt. I took a year off—determined to crack it the second time—but to no avail. My parents coerced me into joining a hopeless engineering institute that nobody has heard of. Did I mention that I managed to fail despite belonging to Delhi: the place that has possible the best opportunities the country has to offer?
My purpose of writing to you however is not to lament over my failings; I write to you with a sense of great concern. I write to you to express my concern for my brethren belonging to far-flung states and those who could possibly not even afford basic education. I shudder to think about their future. I am worried about the hapless 7-year-old boy from Bihar who swallowed poison in his mid-day meal. I am anxious about the 6-year-old girl raped viciously in her school in Bangalore. I am concerned about the spurt in the number of cases of ragging, hate-crimes and violence rampant in our colleges.
Does the agony of the boy not pain you? Does the scream of the little not haunt you? Why then have you not done anything to change the situation? What could you possibly have done, you ask? Bear with me while I tell you.
Urgently look into lapses in the current mid-day meals and plug the loopholes. Make books interesting. Emphasize on understanding and learning, and less on rote. Impart proper training to teachers. Our teaching staff is grossly inadequate and under trained. Set up a committee, headed by a prominent educationist, to review the implementation of the Right to Education Act. Education is no longer a luxury available to a selected few. It is a right. We must expand our network of primary schools. Give the committee a deadline to offer recommendations and proceed accordingly.
You however chose the easier path. You felt relieved by increasing the number of IITs and IIMs. The previous government did the same without caring to consider the infrastructure of the existing IITs and IIMs. You found comfort in unilaterally introducing an unimportant ‘Sanskrit Week’ to our academia without paying heed to the existing curriculum. You sought to score with the DU student and teaching community by using your political clout to scrap the FYUP. The hastily implemented programme surely needed amendments but it was only intended to offer students with practical skills. The way it is, our academia stresses more on attendance (ours, not the teacher’s) and less on learning. What reforms do you have to offer to bring our universities on a par with international standards? Nearly 500 million Indians lack access to an education system. Neither a ‘Sanskrit Week’ nor 5 new IITs would ensure them basic education. What are your plans to reduce the number?
Mrs. Irani, your alleged lack of a professional degree does not concern us as long as you deliver us results. We have seen politicians with an enviable academic report turning out to be a dud. We have witnessed your rise from a model to a popular TV actress to a key minister. You are a popular household name. We have pinned all our hope on you. Don’t let us down.
A simpleton like me does not understand the intricate political machinery and that is precisely why we elect politicians like you: to bring about holistic changes and not pander to selective interests. Come forward and announce what you have in store for an average Indian student. I’ll keep writing to you till then.
Average Indian Student.
Image Credits: http://static.dnaindia.com/sites/default/files/2014/04/18/228747-smriti1.jpg
About author: Anmol Vashisht, a 4th year Law student at University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGS Indraprastha University.