Have you heard of this phrase?
‘Ignorance is Bliss’
Of course, you might have. It’s a very popular phrase that is derived from the likes of cowardice and selfishness. It is often used by people who like to run away from reality and are often deluded with what actually makes them happy. Ignorance is not at all bliss. All man-made catastrophes such as illiteracy, inequality, harassment, suppression and everything that dwells in the dark side arise from ignorance.
This year, the entire nation celebrated the 73rd Independence Day with pride and honor. This routine of celebrations we do twice a year makes me wonder – Is this the only way to show how patriotic we are? Are we doing justice to the responsibility of being the citizens of India? Or is the feeling of responsibility towards the nation occasional in nature? Enough. This year, let’s face some realities, shed the tinted glasses of ignorance, and think how we can contribute to the development of this nation in our own little ways.
Recently, I came across an article by The Hindu titled – What is the dropout rate among school children in India? And I was shocked to see the statistics that the majority of regions such as Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Bihar, Mizoram, etc. have high dropout rates. On an average only 70 students out of 100 finish school in India. While in the above the mentioned regions the condition is even worse, only 30 – 50 students complete schooling. More than half of the students enrolled at the elementary level leave school till they reach 12th.
I was grasped with so many questions after reading the article. I couldn’t make peace with the numbers before me. We talk about the education system, the changes we want to bring about, we discuss the national policy concerning education and most importantly we talk about the future generation. But when 50% of our students are leaving education for one reason or the other, don’t you think that this problem has roots dug deeper than ever imagined?
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 says that the right to education is a fundamental one for children from the age group of 6 to 14. This act recognizes the importance of education hence it was applied to provide free and compulsory education to children that fall in the above age group. Even then the rate of abandonment is so high.
This one of the major reasons why the dropout rate is higher in economically backward regions. Lack of financial stability forces people to look at education as luxury and not necessity. Even though the RTE act has been applied by the government since 2009, the quality of education, especially in government schools, is going through a sticky patch (since forever).
Inadequate funds, unskilled teachers, inadequate infrastructure, etc. contribute to reasons for students leaving school. Teachers at such schools also choose ignorance over the real meaning of education and this continues every year eventually increase the rate of school dropout rate in India.
Teaching becomes more like a formality for the school to keep it going as opposed to being dedicated learning centers. Poverty is a vicious devil that engulfs education as its first prey.
Although the average rate of school dropouts in India is equal among boys and girls (this aspect is equal out of everything else!) but the reason surely varies. Girls are the primary victims of stereotypes and insecurity society has while raising them. As per the high school dropout facts stated in the pdf by semanticscholar.org the percentage of girls leaving education voluntarily is less than those who are forced to leave. The requirement to do household work, education not considered necessary, marriage, safety issues, etc. are the main causes of girls leaving education than boys.
Regressive thinking at its peak, peeps!
On the other hand, boys who come from the background of farming generally tend to leave education to continue the profession and help their parents. The other scenario states that boys who come from a background of family businesses, tend to leave education even though finances are not a question. Education is seen as an investment to get the required ROI. If you already have money in the pocket, then what is the use of studying?
This is one more reason that paves the red carpet for students to walk out of the schools. Lack of motivation can make even the brightest minds slouch on the couch. Learning is not a routine, it is a journey. The journey needs to be enjoyed. Schools should understand this fact. The academic environment should focus on keeping students motivated to learn and not just concentrate on the scorecards.
In addition to that, every child is wired differently, some lack perseverance and hence choose to leave schooling. It is the responsibility of the school and teachers to pique curiosity in children about education, for real.
The education system of India is obsessed with the curriculum. From the elementary stage to the famous 12th standard, students with different brain capacities and skills follow a rigid curriculum. Skills and interest disappear in oblivion. This is one of the factors why students leave education in between, some in search of something that suits them.
Recently, people are considering unschooling as opposed to conventional schooling. Click here to know all about unschooling in India.
Lack of awareness about mental health is one of the reasons why this education system feels like a burden. Indian society famously lags to understand that sometimes even the brain needs rewiring. Students sometimes go through problems like depressions, extreme stress, learning disabilities, lack of attention, bullying, etc. which are generally left ignored. This leads to frequent failures and eventually dropout. In some cases when finances are at stake, parents lose hope in the child’s education. Thus, leaving no choice for the child to work than study.
Poverty and unequal distribution of resources throughout the country are the major reasons that are facilitating the dropout rate. The education system should break free from rigidity and include subjects that promote skill-based learning. For instance, in regions where farming is a staple profession, schools should have provisions to include a subject for farming. Skill-based subjects should be optional according to interests. Thus, the education system will be conducive for every student by combining the principles of both skill-based learning and conventional methods. Also, we need to figure out why India is experiencing high school dropout rates in the north-eastern states of the country. Conclusively, the solutions for school dropouts in India entirely rely on providing adequate and quality resources and the introduction of skill-based learning in the curriculum.
“The secret in education lies in respecting the student”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
The future of this country in the hands of students, 50% of whom in many states are leaving education. Don’t you think this is the time to wake up?