Saturday, April 04, 2009

And meals to go before they sleep ...

'One lazy sunday afternoon while cleaning my closet, I chanced across a bunch of notebooks from my schooldays. I had to gather some courage to open them, for they had things far more important than knowledge...They had the smell of the days gone by and the emotions of an era that had passed me by.' The dust repels you but the urge is sustained. You flip through the pages and your are suddenly overwhelmed. It goes without saying that one of the best ways to remember your past is to go back to your old notebooks. The feeling that you get is unparalleled and at times ... emotional.

Not every one is lucky to have a moment like this. With no or limited access to notebooks, most kids in rural India and informal settlements of urban India, race across their childhood with just a bunch of broken pencils, halftorn books and cracked school slates. A lot has changed since the mid 90's. In September 2004, after the revision of NP-NSPE (National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education) into the currently run Mid Day Meal scheme, government and municipality schools across India did see significant rise in no. of kids. With nutrition as a good motivation for kids to come to school, has the purpose of the education system been defeated ??
With every academic year, teachers in these government institutions face the daunting dask of accommodating more kids. And they do so by compromising on the standards of academic excellence achieved. As a result, a typical 8th standard student of a government school is academically proficient only to compete with a 4th grader from a Public school. The marginally well-to-do and even poorer families are now choosing public schools over government ones. Do we have a take on it or are we just watching ?

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