school admissions... where are we heading

Once again I take my virtual pen to vent my fury over the sad state of education in India, the land that has finally deigned give its children the right to free and equitable education. It took the so called rulers over 60 years to loosen their purse strings and do that. These are the same rulers who take but a day to vote an increase in their own salaries! And let me set the record straight: the right to education bill has been passed, but its implementation is still a long way coming.

But let us talk of the ground reality and here I am not talking about the underprivileged child. Nursery admissions in up market schools have just closed and once again an innumerable number of children are left in the lurch as they have not made it! In a land where education is a right, children are rejected at the tender age of three. You see they do not live on the right street, or have parents who have not been to the right school, or are the wrong gender, or have no siblings. Maybe they need to petition to God to give them the right credentials before they are sent to be born in a land called India!

Oops I forgot to add one thing: their parents do not have the right bank balance as this year again slammed doors could be opened if a fat cheque was handed out. I know of one case where a parent was asked 10 lacs (on million) by a well known school! In many cases a real mission impossible.

The writing is on the wall: there are too many children and not enough schools, an ideal situation for commercial enterprise and a quick buck. But hold on. If you look around the city, in every nook and corner you will find what is know as a sarkari school (government run school). Prime space that far too often houses a ramshackle single storied building. Imagine if each of these could be transformed into a state of the art multi storied building that was run to perfection. Utopia? Not quite. Actually the real answer to education woes. However there is one small hitch. The likes of us would have to accept to have one's child rub shoulders and share benches with the children of a lesser God.

It may not happen willingly but maybe as force majeure. When there are no more up market schools to take our kids or when the money needed becomes far beyond our shrinking pockets. Is the common neighborhood school slowly becoming an inevitable reality?