Rural Education-Islands of Hope

With dismal deterioration in quality of education that the government schools and its irresponsible teachers or shikshamitras are imparting to the children of the parents, who hardly appreciate what his ward is learning and if it will be furthering his career, I find some hope. And I haven’t gone out far away to find that. It has been happening at our village home itself, though I didn’t know. It was again told by Deepak and Prakash when they were here last week. Neither Sulekha nor Alok thought it prudent to let me know, though I keep on talking with them quite frequently.

Sulekha and Alok with Yamuna

Sulekha, Alok’s wife has been teaching the boys and girls of the village for quite some time now. She does it in shifts now for different classes, as the number of her students has gone on increasing. Presently, some 40 and odd are getting tutored. And her quality of tutoring has made the students score better in their examinations. Interestingly, the parents are paying for the tutoring too. I never expected this to happen in my village, as I just couldn’t imagine the farmer families with marginal landholding sparing money for the tuitions. Earlier, I found them hardly interested in educating their children. Paying for tuition that must be done pretty regularly (monthly), was unthinkable in villages with no regular earnings in most families. Has it come because of NAREGA? I doubt at least for my village.

I used to hear about Sulekha’s endeavour. But then I also knew that Alok, my brother didn’t like that neither perhaps my aunty did. I didn’t know about my uncle. But Sulekha has been successful in getting engaged in some useful work besides the household activities. Her education has not gone waste as it happens with many brides coming to the villages. She must be feeling more secure now in the remote village of Bihar; she has a saving account in a bank and has life insurance too. I wish it happens with all the brides with certain skills and training coming in villages.

Sulekha is helping honestly the children by making up their shortcomings of the education they get at school. Interestingly, most of the students are from the deprived families. My aunty has no problem in allowing them in our home, or even if she has reservation, the new generation has rightly snubbed any opposition or found a solution, say, by using another staircase from outside to enter the room that Sulekha uses for teaching.

I myself and Yamuna congratulated Alok for the excellent work being done by Sulekha. He didn’t respond. I am ready to provide all facilities and create a room with books and other accessories, perhaps a computer and internet connection to make the place more attractive for the students. May be that the library proposed in the village school can come up over here. However, I am hesitant to put my proposal. Alok may not like it.

Interestingly, the village has some more tutors other than Sulekha, but she is, as on today, the best engaged in the business. But should not the government and those responsible for providing good education do it in the school itself that is meant for it and for which it is spending so much of the country’s resources? Can the system encourage those who are helping propagating education in rural India as Sulekha is doing?

It also tells about the increasing earning of the farmers from the produce from their fields and that they now have started thinking of educating the children so that they can make a better living that they themselves couldn’t do.

Let the rural India be lighted with education whatever way it comes from, be it from industrial houses such as Shiv Nadar and Sunil Mittal or individuals such as Surekha. It’s really unfortunate the efficiency of the government machinery is using the number of enrollment and the children outside the school or the budgetary allocation or expenditure on the schemes such as SSA and mid-day meals as the gauge for the effectiveness of the expansion of education among the people. There is hardly any measure of the quality of education delivered in the rural schools.

Quality of education will remain more and more with dedicated tutors such as Sulekha, perhaps for many years to come.

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