The last few days have been rather euphoric with all the hype given to the Prime Minister's visit to the USA and his pitch for INDIA. I guess we all got a bit taken in and felt that things would change on the round in no time. It was indeed heartwarming to hear the PM talking of sanitation, poverty removal and imparting of skills to the young. The elation was short lived though as a snippet of information given to me by one of my staff made for a rude awakening. The children of our Govindpuri centre simply shared a piece of information of their daily school life probably unaware of the effect it would have on me. Hold your breath! In this new India that is being feted with super zeal, class VIII children of a Government school located in upmarket South Delhi are being taught four subjects by guess who: their physical education teacher better known as the PT Master.
This may sound like a light hearted piece of information but to me it is nothing short of scary. If good education can change a life for the better, we all know what no or poor education can do. I will not dwell on that. The fact is that in overcrowded classes, where a period is 35 minutes and with a Gym Instructor teaching all true subjects, your chances of breaking barriers and ceilings is minute. Thus the prospect of a child studying in such circumstances being able to get a school leaving certificate with sufficient marks and thus aspire to the skills mentioned by our PM is close to nil. Unless something is done for such children NOW, they are certain to miss the boat altogether and condemned to the same plight as their parents. What is sad is, that it is not the fault of the parents who took the decision to come to the city for their children's future, but of the powers that be who have allowed state run schools to come to this. What is baffling is that there is no dearth of potential teachers in our country so why does a gym teacher have to teach the 3Rs is beyond comprehension, unless of course it is part of some wily agenda we are not privy to.
When I heard our brand new PM talk sanitation and other such matters,one felt a ray of hope, but though one does not want to join the rank of naysayers who find fault in everything, it is a sad reality that many change will come too late for many children of India, as children cannot wait for change to happen.
Hearing the PM and his plans for India, one may have thought that NGOs like ours would soon be redundant and would have to either close their doors or reinvent themselves, but that is not so. As long as classes are overcrowded and teachers few; as long as state run schools do not become centres of excellence, we are needed to provide the bridge they need to cross to better morrows.