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Kanshi Ram on Education on the eve of 50 years of Independence

Education and Health are basic necessities for enlightenment of mind and social emancipation. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, the father of India’s Social Revolution searched for causes of degradation of Shudras and Ati Shudras. His considered conclusion was that the root cause of degradation was ignorance born out of lack of education.

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As a matter of fact the Caste System denied education to the Shudras and Ati Shudras. When Phule was sent school by his father, people of his own community condemned it and boycotted him for violating the custom. But equality of status is impossible without imparting to the oppressed a level of education and health equal to others in the society.

Education not only widens the mind and liberates if from outdated thoughts and practices, it enables a man to claim and occupy positions in life. It is the main instrument of empowerment. Education liberates one from most of the social barriers like Untouchability. Equal acceptability of the downtrodden in the society can surely be established by education. An illiterate man is a permanent destitute in a competitive society. Literacy improves ability to compete. It is a factor securing social justice and freedom from dependence.

Efforts to improve literacy of the oppressed

Much of the planned efforts to improve education standards of the oppressed classes have remained on paper. Our planners have laid special emphasis on spreading education in rural areas, particularly areas inhabited by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Priority has been attached on opening primary schools in these areas in every plan. Special Funds have been earmarked for construction of school buildings in these areas.

Youth from these classes have been given special incentives to get trained in Education. Many Scholarships for Higher Education have been instituted. In most areas of the Country, non-Formal and also Informal Education for the Children coming from these Classes, through Anganwadi System and Ashram Schools has also been included in the Plans.

In spite of the above efforts the actual achievement has not been encouraging at all. In practice the problem has been gaining much larger magnitude and efforts of government have not kept speed with the need. This is primarily due to paper planning, lack of political will to implement the schemes, and perhaps lack of intentions to implement.

Due to lack of resources and also social acceptability of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, they have been comparatively more deprived of facilities for education, than the general mass of Indians.

While the rich classes automatically started enjoying the benefits of education .and higher educations once the country became free, the oppressed needed special care.

Dependence on economic resources and social opportunities, has marred the chances of most Oppressed Classes to reap full benefits of the Government Schemes. Had there been, a more comprehensive approach the poor would not have been at the mercy of these factors. It is sad that the gap of literacy level between the oppressed classes and the general population has increased from one plan to another.

Sixth All India Educational survey conducted by NCERT in collaboration with NIC revealed the startling fact that there was a large gap between the total number of habitations and those covered by primary schools. What is more surprising is the fact that there was no data on how many of these uncovered habitations fall in tribal sub-plan clusters, or Scheduled Areas or areas predominantly inhabited by the Scheduled Castes. The survey also revealed imbalance between in the growth of number of schools in urban and rural areas. Considering that a majority of the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes live in rural areas, these figures were relevant.

Out of a Total of 10,59,191 Habitations in the Rural Areas only 5,32,962 have Primary Schools, 1,45,824 Habitations have Upper Primary Schools, 53,174 have Secondary Schools and only 11,955 have Higher Secondary Schools. Thus there are more than 5 Lakh Rural Habitations in the Country forming nearly 50% of the Total Habitations, Do Not Have even Primary Schools.

During the Last Decade the Number of Primary Schools has increased by 19.62% while in the Rural Areas by 7.57% only. The Argument generally given is that Teachers Do Not Like to go to Rural Interiors, and therefore even the Schools which have been opened in Rural Areas, must be Ill Equipped and Badly Run. Very Little Attention has been paid to Recruit Local Teachers.

No Incentives have been given to Tribal and Scheduled Castes Communities to Open their Own Schools. Such incentives would have gone a long way to improve the social and educational standing of these oppressed castes at par with upper castes and well to do sections of the society.

People belonging to higher and well to do castes have Opened Schools and Colleges, and many of them have been given lots of Incentives, Free Land or Concessional Land, Financial Grants, Lots of Aids and Liberal Loans on Soft Interests in the Name of Education. Are these Cruel Jokes on the Poor Weaker Sections? What Fraud are these?

As against the National Average of 52.21% Literacy Rate, the Literacy Rate of Scheduled Castes is 37.41%. Although 2/3rd of all Males in the Country are Educated; only 50% of the Males belonging to the Scheduled Castes are said to be Literate. That is they can Sign and Write their Names. That is the Literacy in this Country, even Now.

As far Women, more than Three Quarters of Scheduled Caste Women are Illiterate, as against the Literacy Rate of 39.29% Illiteracy of Women in General. In some particular States, these figures are even more alarming. In UP, the State with the Largest Population of Scheduled Castes, the Literacy Percentage of Scheduled Caste Women is less than 10%.

Literacy Levels of the Scheduled Tribes is also a sad story. The gap between literate persons belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, and those belonging to the General Population was 18.15% in the Year 1971. This gap increased over the Years to 19.88% in 1981 and further widened to 22.61%. As per the last Census of 1991, as many as 70.40% Tribals were Illiterate. This, as compared to only the 47.79% Illiterate Persons amongst the general population. This is a sad Reflection on the Nation.

Literacy Level of the Tribal Women shows even worse statistics. The gap between Illiterate Tribal Women and Women belonging to General Population was 14% in 1971. And this Gap Increased to 16% in 1981 and further Widened to 21.04% in 1991. As of today 8 out of 10 Tribal Women are Illiterate. How then can the general Parameters of Female Emancipation, hold good for them?

The Rate of Growth of Literacy among the Tribals, over the last Three Decades has been very Sluggish, and far from Satisfactory Levels as would show them the light of Freedom and Self-Dependence. The Literacy Levels increased by 6.78%, during 1971-81 and then 16% during the decade 1981-91 for the General Population, while among the Tribals the Rate of Increase was only 5.05% and 13.25%.

The Dropout Rate of the Scheduled Tribes, at the Primary Level is 64.53% as against the 47.93% amongst the General Category. This is an alarming reflection on the dangerous Socio-Economic Constraints, the Tribals increasingly are Finding Impossible to Overcome. They continue to be slaves of these limitations.

Unless Literacy Levels Improve among the SC&ST Dalits, their Integration in the Society at large, will not be possible. It is therefore, clear from all the above figures that, majority of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Oppressed Classes, who live in the Rural Areas are deprived of, Basic Facilities of Education, even in this 50th Year of the Nation’s Independence.

As for all the Adult Education Programmes, Rural Education Schemes etc, the least said is better. All those Teachers and Head Masters and Head Mistresses, who do not want to go to Rural Areas to Work and Teach, and Pay heavy amount of Bribes and Kick Backs to remain in their own big Towns, large Cities, particularly to get their Postings in the State Capitals are Posted In-Charge of these Schemes. Will they be ever Interested or Sincere in any Adult Education Programmes, Rural Education Schemes and the like. Never.

As Administrators in the Education System, all those Teachers and the Head Masters and Head Mistresses, who do not want to go to Rural Areas to Work and Teach, instead of taking up Improvement of Rural Schools, and suggesting creation of better facilities and good Developments, will only Sleep and be constantly Complaining. Or they will only prefer to Close Down and Down Grade, even the existing Schools than Developing and Improving any of them. They may Demolish Old School Buildings and Class Rooms, instead of Repairing and giving new and additional Lives to the Old Ones, and Utilise the available Funds to Create or Add better Bigger Additional and New Infrastructures. Instead of Opening New Schools in Villages and SC&ST Hamlets, they only keep building New School Buildings and Class Rooms, in the Existing Schools in ‘caste hindu’ Villages to Please the big rich Feudal Landlords there, powerful Chairmen of Panchayats, or influential Village Heads, to get Commissions from the well connected local Contractors, taking up the work they approve and sanction for Construction. They make money in silently pulling down the old school buildings and class rooms, and take away the Doors Windows and Wood in Roofs.

Those in-charge of all Adult Education Programmes, Rural Education Schemes etc, keep avoiding and postponing their visits to the backward Rural Areas, giving as excuses and complaining about the lack of Bath Rooms, Toilets, and non-availability of good Food, that too on a complimentary basis, in the distant and remote poor backward Rural Areas. Hence whenever forced to go to the remote poor backward Rural Areas, they start from their Residences leisurely around 1000 or 1030 hours, after a heavy breakfast they call as Brunch, where as their daily Working Hours start at 0800 or 0900 hours. Then also, they move only, when they manage to get some Govt Vehicles. But they are meticulous, in applying for TA&DA for visiting the Village Schools in the Rural Areas. That is only, a big and sheer waste and drain of Public Tax Payers Money, and diversion into their private pockets, purse and Bank Accounts.

In the above circumstances, nothing gets done, and Literacy hardly improves in the Rural Areas. In other words, there is No Hope of their Acquiring even the Basic Means of Empowerment. How can it be expected that in the near foreseeable future, these oppressed and downtrodden will be able to gain a social status equal to others, and Live as Free and Self-Dependent Citizens? They obviously do not have any hope, to Gain Freedom during their life time.

Added to this is the lack of Incentives and Ultimate Frustration. Those few from the Rural Areas, who somehow manage to Study and Pass, can not get any Jobs. Only those Children in the Towns and Cities, like the Children of all the Adult Education Programmes, Rural Education Schemes etc, the least said is better. For all those big fraudulent Teachers and Head Masters and Head Mistresses, who do not want to go to Rural Areas to Work and Teach the Rural People, though working in Education Department of the Govt, for assured better Salaries, good Working Conditions, decent Perks like Quarters for their Residential Accommodation, as well as Vehicles, TA&DA for Visits outside their Schools and Offices, send their Children to Private Schools and Missionary Institutions for English Education, wanting to grab all Jobs. Hence many Rural Children, do not get any Jobs even after their Education in Schools and Colleges. Hence they are cumulatively cheated and deprived.

It is pity that, all the High Flown Ideas and Schemes relating to ‘Education for All’ have remained on paper, without tangible results. It is also a pity that those who belong to the Privileged Classes of the Society, have never Understood the Problem that the larger Segments of the Society are now Alienated from the Mainstream. Caste System, or rather the vertical hierarchy of the Castes, have always closed the doors of such interaction, between the communities and classes. Hence, the caste hindus and privileged classes, continue to exploit the illiterate masses, and the Vested Interests are stretching out the Rural Miseries, Prolonging the Dependence of the Illiterates on the Exploitative Fraudulent Literates.’

Kanshi Ram had also written once about the Governments and Education as follows -

Successive governments have failed

‘Successive Governments have failed, to give Compulsory Education to the Children. As a result, nearly 60% of Population in the Country, especially Children are still Illiterate.

Why this situation, even after 50 years of Independence? And the Position in Villages, has become worse than ever before, due to neglect of education, exploitation in agriculture, increasing poverty, raising numbers of population etc.

Today one can see many High School Studied Children, those who have studied up to Tenth Class, failing. Why? Because their Teachers were not bothered to Teach in the Class, but Preferred to Give Coaching and Tuition outside the School, and in many cases in their Homes for a big Consideration, right from the beginning of Class One.

Most of the Teachers had the Support Backing and Cooperation of their equally Guilty Irresponsible Head Masters and Head Mistresses. Hence the Teachers could easily cover up their mistakes and failures, and the later also shielded and protected most of the Teachers failing and unwilling to Teach the Children in their Classes. Hence, the Students who never knew or learnt anything at all, were merrily and conveniently passed and promoted to the next higher class, providing them with No Incentives to Learn, or Holding out No Threat of Detention in the Class for another Year for their Failure.

At times there was also for some consideration, in passing such failing and failed students, as the Parents of such Children were willing to Pay or Paid well, and Looked after the Head Masters/ Head Mistresses and the Teachers with good costly Gifts like Jewelleries and other Valuables, Cash, or in Kind like Household Goods, bagfuls of Rice and other Grains, or Ground Nuts, Pulses and Fruits. Others, mostly Children of poor Parents, such as those from the SC&ST Communities, could not afford to give any such gifts or other things. Hence such Children were often rebuked in the class, or publicly before others in the School and outside, or were severely punished. Capital Punishments to SC&ST Children were frequent and very common. Thus, many SC&ST Children were failed, made to Repeat the Class and Study again and again, wastefully in the same Class, till they were openly and compulsorily pushed out of the Schools. Often, the SC&ST Children themselves dropped out of the schools, even before the completion of their First Year in the Schools, or subsequently. For, they Find the Schools were unfriendly, the class environment bad and not conducive to Study or for any Learning.

The SC&ST Children invariably felt and still feel that their Teachers are often bad foolish negative; most of the times unhelpful uncooperative unfriendly unsympathetic inhuman and cruel. Hence, most of the children considered and still are of the opinion that, they are only wasting their Times in their Classes and Schools. In addition, they were and even now are facing unwanted humiliations, in the hands of all the bad unsympathetic teachers, school authorities and their classmates.

Children from brahmin families could get good guidance and coaching from their learned parents. Even there, those from poor families, and the children from the savarna communities opted to get Tuitions from the Class Teachers in their Homes.

The Considerations of the Teachers, not to Teach in the Class, all their Students in the School, and choosing to take private Tuitions at their Homes were at times their Caste Considerations, SC&ST Children could not get any Tuitions from such Teachers, to Learn and Understand their Lessons which the Teachers were supposed to Teach in the Class Rooms of the Schools.  Most of the Times, the Consideration for the Tuitions was Big Money. Since the SCs&STs were invariably poor, and that being the prime reason for them sending their Children to Govt and Municipal or Welfare Schools meant for the SCs&STs Backwards and the Poor, they could not afford to Pay the huge Tuition Fees to the Cunning Teachers, who were refusing to Teach and avoiding to Educate the Children of their Classes in the Schools. Hence SC&ST Children could not Learn their Lessons from their Teachers.

Most of the Teachers in Govt and Municipal Schools being brahmins and other Savarna friends of the brahmins, living in upmarket areas, most of the SC&ST Children could never go to their Teachers Homes for Tuitions, even when some of their Parents could somehow afford to pay for the Tuitions. Hence, the Children could not get any Tuitions, in such cases also to learn and understand their lessons.

The Parents of many SC&ST Children are poor and illiterate, and their surroundings also do not have any learned, reasonably educated men and women, to help and guide them in their Lessons, the SC&ST Children could never Learn any Lessons, or Understand even the small things they had Learnt to Read Write and Could Remember and Recall.

The Cumulative net result is that the Teachers, Head Masters/ Head Mistresses, the Schools, Colleges, Lecturers, Professors, the Principles and the Education System have failed and are failing our Students. That is how, many of our Tenth Studied Children from many High Schools can’t count cash, write or read any application or letter, or understand anything, write anything, or read anything in any language including in their own mother tongues, or the local vernacular language which is the medium in their schools. Sadly, many can not even write their names. So bad is the reality of our Teachers, Schools, Students and Education System.

We could still see many individuals who know nothing, passing their High Schools, Plus Two Exams, even going to Colleges, and getting their Degrees. That is because, someone else in their families or neighbourhood, appears for them to write their Examinations and make them Pass. That is a great Fraud and Cheating.

The manipulations within the Education System are big serious Problem these Days. Many things happen, most of the times with the help of the Inspectors, Examiners and active Support of the Authorities.

What then can we say of our modern Education, which the British so meticulously built up for us, in the face of many stiff resistances and strong oppositions from brahmins. The later seem to be finally succeeding, in their desire and determination to deny education to the masses, decades after their British Masters had left the shores of this Country.’

Kanshi Ram had also said elsewhere

Sadly for all of Us, the Education System World-Over does not Teach Us, anywhere at anytime our Own Individual Values, Ways of Living in our Lives, Rights and Limitations, Women’s Rights, Family Commitments, Community Rights, and our Responsibilities and Usefulness to the Society at Large. Hence, most of Us are Unable to have our Aims Clearly, set our Individual Goals in Life, Family Objectives and Community Responsibilities. That is why all the Problems of Drifting, Waywardness, Breaking up of Families, all the Irresponsibilities, Refusal and Unwillingness to Help the Needy, Extend Assistance and Succour on our own without being asked advised told to those in need and distress.

The Oppressions of the Weak, Opportunistic Exploitation, betrayals cheating and Swindling of our own people, and all those who trust and have faith in us silently go on. That is why today, individuals are found to be increasingly too Irresponsible, Exploiting, and families breaking down and collapsing, just as Pack of Cards, unable to withstand any trials tribulations, testing times, and even small problems. Individuals forget that their beliefs faith outlooks are not of overriding importance than the family, welfare stability security safety peace and future of their own Children. Or the desire to take revenge and wreck vengeance on one another in the family, forgetting that the others hand one had so eagerly sought and so fondly and gratefully held happily and lovingly not much long ago.

Many Girls, Women and Lady-Teachers; Mothers Aunts Elder-Sisters; Cinemas, Dramas, TVs, the Fashion Shows, Music Videos and Media are so Irresponsible and Dress Badly that they all set bad Examples for other Girls, right from their young Childhood.  Computers, Internet, Social Net-Works and Blogs all appear to be adding fuel to the already burning situation.  Many of them in fact really appear to be too Provocative to Adolescent Boys and even Girls, if not setting many men on Fire.

We don’t know why Teachers even in Missionary Schools and Colleges, can’t wear close cut Blouses like the Nuns Teaching there. And, what is the need for them, to push down the neck line cuts of their blouses in the back, and show off their Shoulders and more than half of their Back; expose their Cleavages at the front; Reveal their rich fleshy Tyres Oozing-out, even Sagging and Flowing-down, as the bottom lines of their Blouses Raise; show-off their Navel Button-Holes, as well as open up the Stomach, down up to their Pelvic Bones, even though many oldies have big scarred ugly pot-bellies?  Why they change to such denigrating degenerative dresses? That, though many Institutes and Colleges during their Teacher Training Days, had enforced strict dress codes of wearing uniforms with closely covering full length long blouses, so as to not expose any of their flesh and skins; with their hair closely and tightly coiled and worn neatly as nice buns, to be the model women Scholars and Teachers for the other Girls Women Mothers and Students in all the Neighbourhood, and in the Schools and Colleges?

Fathers also appear to be very much Responsible for rapidly deteriorating Situation, since they appear to be actually accepting permissive and irresponsible for allowing permitting or keeping quiet and silent as the Mothers and Elder-Daughters, or the Working Women of the Families going out of their Houses, Dress badly indiscreetly or even provocatively and indecently, showing-off, revealing, exposing themselves, and leaving nothing for imagination, guess and thinking.

 

Source:http://www.dalitindia.com/development/KashiRam_Education.htm

 

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