A thought-provoking web meeting was organised by Mazdoor Ekta Committee (MEC) on the subject – “Why not education of same quality for all?” The meeting was chaired by Birju Nayak. Santosh Kumar made the main presentation. People from different parts of India attended this meeting.
The presentation dealt with the crucial question of why there is no education of the same quality for all in our society. Santosh Kumar argued that the hierarchy of schools in the country serves to maintain the caste and class hierarchy in society.
Participants appreciated that raising this issue is the necessity of the time. The topic addressed the concern of vast majority of people — will their children be able to get a good education and have a bright future? Many participants intervened with their comments. In their interventions, the participants highlighted the following points.
Over the years, governments have set up several committees to come up with education policies. However the situation does not change on the ground. This brings us to the crucial question “Why not education of same quality for all?”
Our rulers do not consider good quality education as a right. If it were a right then a child from a sanitation worker’s family must get as good an education as a child from a doctor’s or lawyer’s family. If good education is to be a right then our country must have a common school system.
Good education requires trained teachers who have regular secure jobs. Only then can a teacher put his or her energy into imparting good education. There is a severe shortage of teachers and in many schools, most of the teachers are “guest teachers” who are paid less than half the salary of regular teachers. The fact that governments are not hiring trained teachers shows they are not interested in good quality education for all.
We often hear that the government is closing down schools because of poor enrollment. If one looks at the real cause of low enrollment, then one will find that it is because of poor or non-existent facilities. Rather than improving the infrastructure and easy access to schools, government is closing them down and thereby depriving many children of right to good school education.
In some countries the class size is only 15 students but in our country many schools cram even 100 students in one class room. There are schools in which four teachers simultaneously teach in the same class room. There are schools where a single teacher is supposed to teach all classes at the same time. How can the students remain motivated to attend classes in these conditions?
Why are students asked to declare family background, caste, region, etc. at the time of admission? This entire system is based on creating divisions among people rather than ensuring good quality education irrespective caste, religion or other differences.
A participant pointed out that the ruling class politicians spoke in one breath about ensuring good quality education in government schools themselves set up private schools to make money from the families of working people. This shows that they believe in different education for different people. We must work for a uniform school system.
Our rulers pretend that they want to provide good education to all, but they know that if everyone got a good education, then there will be no one left to do menial work at low pay. Therefore there is deliberate planning to ensure that children from the families of workers and toilers are left behind.
The government has no intention of providing good education for all. Our rulers want children of working class and peasantry to remain uneducated. They do not want them to become conscious of and start demanding their rights. The rulers want them to remain ignorant and believe that their present conditions are a result of the karma of their previous birth.
Birju Nayak thanked all the participants. He concluded by saying that the State has to take full responsibility for providing the same quality of education to everyone. This goal cannot be achieved if private capitalist interests are allowed to dominate in education. The question “why not education of the same quality for all?” has to be raised and discussed widely to get more and more people to realise the truth. We should all unite and fight together to end this unequal system of education so that good quality education can be guaranteed for all as a matter of right.