Monday, May 23, 2011

Myths of education in Karnataka

With 54,529 primary schools attended by 252,875 teachers and 8.495 million students Karnataka may have the haven for primary education, but the state’s total literacy rate of 67.04% suggests the different story. The government endeavors like Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and the School Chalo Campaigns have failed to erase the blot of illiteracy from the state. Interestingly, almost half of the female population in the state is still illiterate.

This eighth largest state in India boasts itself for the literacy rate slightly higher than the national average and the structure of higher education that is better than many of the states and union territories in India. This is one side of the story. Education is still a daydream for much of the tribal population, the scheduled castes, the poor and the marginalized people.

In its report due to be submitted to the Karnataka High Court, a committee headed by the former NHRC member Shivraj Patil to study the causes of child marriages the committee said poverty, illiteracy and lack of awareness were the prime reasons behind the social evils in the state. This admittance came when most of the government bodies were boasting the raise in the levels of literacy and living standards of the people of Karnataka.

Recent census data also suggest the poor state of education in the state, specially of the SC, SC and the minorities. Karnataka can claim that their position is far better them many other states but it is only a cosolation. Specially when we claim that the state is the home to the prestigious institutions of higher and technical educatin, home to the IT industry and much more, the slow progress in primary education is a dangerous sign.

Need of Urgent Action

Reasons behind the illiteracy on the same side are poverty and lack of awareness. Also, the social practices contribute a lot to raise the problem. There is an urgent need to address the issue. To meet the millennium development goals of 2015 education can be the best tool.

How the problem can be met out?

Total literacy cannot be achieved, until and unless each and every citizen is involved in the process. The deprived, marginalized and the poor shall be given equal opportunities. Also, there is an urgency to run an awareness program to address the issue so that the social stigma can be broken.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Street Children:They Need Care too

The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:

>That the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;

>That children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

Abstract from Art 39 (Constitution of India)

Children are the foundation stones of the Human development. Abusive childhood doesn’t causes problem for an individual but also for a society. The notion of a healthy, crimeless and developed society loses its relevance if so many numbers deprived of the opportunity to grow live within its boundaries as the studies suggest that India is home to almost 20 percent of the 100 million populations that falls under the category of homeless street children.
The term ‘street children’ is usually applied to children under the age of 18, who either live or make a living on the streets. Some may have family connections, but others are simply abandoned or choose to run away from home, often due to domestic violence .Estimating the number of street children is extremely difficult due to the transient lifestyle they lead as well as the debates surrounding the precise definition of the term. Recent UNICEF estimates are as high as 100-150 million around the world.
Street children are highly concentrated in countries with struggling economies, but are also present in developed countries. Regardless of their location, they face hardships and exploitation. Street children are generally deprived of their right to education and have little or no access to the formal education system. The majority of them are illiterate and have either never been enrolled, or have dropped out of the formal education system, and it is difficult to secure funding for the kind of informal education which suits street children’s lives.
According to an estimate 33% of the total street children are below 10 years of age, while another 40% fell into the age band of 11 to 15 years. These children, who may have played an important role in the national and human growth, are living a miserable life. Exposed to various abuses, trafficking, and poor health, they need special care to be the part of mainstream.
Although various agencies have been trying to address the problem but no one has come up with a viable solution. A solution which may help these children to live a normal life and a normal life, that’s the fundamental right of every citizen.