Education for the Poor

Education for the Poor
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It goes without saying that the socio economic structure of Kashmir is in the nature of a pyramid. The top is occupied by a tiny elite, the portion beneath it by a middle class while the rest, a substantial chunk, is occupied by those who may be called as the “poor”, or the vulnerable and the needy. The children of this vulnerable segment of society, because of obvious reasons, like lack of access to finance, and other issues have to go to government schools to pursue education. It amounts to belaboring the obvious to state that education in government schools is shoddy or even of abysmal quality. This means that essentially children of poorer segments of society are deprived of good education. In this day and age, good education can determine the life chances of students, their career paths and trajectories. Poor and shoddy education, in this hyper competitive world, in turn, means that the children of the poor are left in the cold. Broadly speaking, it also means entrenching of inequality and unequal structures thus leading to intergenerational poverty traps. This condition needs to be not merely remedied but reversed. The question is how? The answer is basically two pronged. One is to raise drastically the standards of education in government schools, improve pedagogy and methods of education delivery and improve upon both the soft and hard infrastructure of these schools. Failing this, the next option might be to sublet or outsource the delivery of education and infrastructure upgradation to genuine, well meaning private players who have deep expertise in the domain of education. The reference here is to a loose public, private partnership(PPP) modes wherein extant infrastructure, both hard and soft, can be improved and education delivered effectively and efficiently. Obiter Dictum, education is seen as the way for social and economic mobility in Kashmir, rightly so. It is also in the nature of a cliché to state that education is in the nature of a universal human right. Its denial amounts to a gross deprivation that is both immoral and unethical. It therefore becomes imperative to devise measures and means that delivers education to the poor in ways that does not add an unnecessary economic and financial burden on them. The goal of universal education is a laudable but is should be reified in diverse and glocal contents in ways that redound to the benefit of the poor and the vulnerable.