School Is Here,
Where Is Education?

The growing number of school going children hasn’t improved the standard of education. Here is an image of that from rural Orissa, India In her very first video, Sarita Biswal raises a deep concern of her community: Children going to school every day, but getting little education. Click here to watch Sarita’s profile video. Education is the key to social & economic development of any society. The Constitution of India casts an obligation on the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 14. The government of Orissa has been spending in building new schools across the state. But there are major issues, concerned with the education in entire state. First, the dropout rate in primary and upper primary schools is become a major issue of concern. In the same time dropout rate become a major setback in the increasing literacy rate which was at the primary stage 33.6%. Again, when one compares girls dropout rate with boys, the dropout rate for girls appears much higher (35.4%) than that of boys’(31.9%.). In her video Sarita explores the reason why there is such a high dropout rate in her village Kochila Nuagaon in Orissa’s Cuttack district. The biggest reason she identifies as drop in the quality of education in the primary school level. Since students don’t learn well in the elementary level, they are totally unprepared to grasp the lessons taught and solve the tasks given in the high school. The teachers say, they can’t give attention to every student and teach them well because the number of students (165) is way too many than the number of teachers (only 4), but this doesn’t still justify why a student who can’t spell ‘apple’ is asked to sit in standard 4 – which you see in this video. It rather appears that the school teachers are in a hurry to get the students out of the school. Because the more the students are admitted in higher classes, the lesser is the number of years they will spend in the year which again means the lesser amount of effort the teachers have to spend on teaching them. While this seems to be helpful for the teachers, the future of the students is being gambled with. They are neither taught in primary school, nor able to cope with the pressure of a high school. The end result is, a generation of community members growing up without enough education to support a good life. This situation has angered Sarita for long. Well before joining IndiaUnheard team she had been affiliated with an NGO called Patang as a volunteer and worked among drop out students in her village. She tried motivating the dropped out students to return back to school and also spoke to the parents to send their children to school. She tried mobilising kids at her own home and teaching them in a creative manner using dance, plays, etc. to develop their interest in education. But she also wanted to draw the world’s attention to the problem of education that her community suffered from. Today, as an IU CC, she has done that. If you like Sarita’s video, leave a comment here.
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