equal opportunities

A comment on my latest post reads: A comprehensive solution that caters for reduced population growth, offers equal opportunities to all Indians, offers a fair and just judicial system, and a fair market where people can achieve their goals with no fear is what we need. Wow! Wish one knew how to conjure that, but sadly one does not have the magic wand required. The commentator feels that we cannot limit ourselves to education and perhaps he is right, but to me it seems to be the only logical starting point that may one day open many doors.

One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realise that in today's day and age, the well educated have a head start in life and maybe the Education for All programme should be renamed as Good Education for All or Fair education for All!

While I was writing this post another comment dropped by. It said pardon me, but i fail to see the social evil of a prestigious educational institution raising its bar. the tougher the goal, the harder one works, the better the ones who qualify and the better the end result. Education is a right, but excellence is a prize one must earn. It is sad indeed that your students will now not be able to enter DU, but surely there are other places they can, and if they are not motivated/empowered to begin with, what magic is an admission in a university going to make? I am saying your students are to be blamed for bad performance, i have worked among high school dropouts and i know at least some of the difficulties and so i suggest you turn this in to an incentive for the rare motivated child, than turn it into an opportunity to complain.
I mean no ill will, this is not a rebuke, please do not take offense, i merely want you to think again.

I must admit that at first it raised my heckles. But with all due respect to the commentator who chose to remain anonymous I did think again as suggested and rather than go into a useless diatribe I chose to answer each point made.

There is certainly no social evil in any education raising its bar provided every bar down the line is also raised. I mean let us raise the pass percentage of school leaving examinations. When I was a student the highest marks veered around 65% with a low of 33. Today we see 99% at one end still 33 at the other. The tougher the goal the higher one strives is again an acceptable maxim but how does one reach that goal if one of the contestant has to run the race with his feet tied up. Let me explain in some government schools - and I have this from the horses's mouth - the entire curriculum is not even taught as iIwas told by a school Principal: only 40% is needed to pass. And I am not even mentioning minor adavantages like educated parents, access to good books, computers etc.

No Sir, most my students will not access prestigious institutions but not because they do not have the ability to do so, but because they have run a lame race from the beginning. And true there is no magic in an admission to a university, but every child has a right to this access.

Of all that has been written in this comment, the one thing I cannot and will not accept is that my students are to blame for bad performance. How do you blame a kid who has never been taught properly in school. one that goes back to a violent and abusive home, one whose childhood has been hijacked by all. Every child has potential. It is our duty as a society to provide an enabling environment from him or her to grow to its full potential.

If schools did provide that enabling environment then there would be no reason to complain. Schools today simply reflect our society. They are schools for the rich that become richer and school for the poor that seem to become worse by the day. If one has air conditioned facilities the other does not even have toilets or drinking water. School has to be a level playing field, a learning experience, a place to discover that other realities exist, a space to rub shoulders with all and share knowledge. Only then will every child have the possibility to access higher portals and contribute to the change we all seek. And only then will I accept the accusation levelled against my kids.

Yes anonymous friend I have thought again, and it has made my resolve stronger. It is time we offered equal opportunities to all Indians.