Vijaya Chauhan, the former Program Director of United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and an activist for human rights, says disparity of education should be really abolished and equality be maintained in all phases to attain our objective, ‘education to all’. She was in Kozhikode recently to participate in a national seminar on education organized by Delhi based Chamber of Education. Speaking to CalicutNet, she called on people to act collectively to ascend as the corrective force of the government policies that often fall into the hands of big corporates. She has said that election is the right occasion to exhibit their protest in more powerful manner. Excerpt:
Focusing next generation
People should at least be aware that education is their right and it has to be provided by the government. Our focus should be on equity and equality.
They should not tolerate a government, creating two kinds of citizens leading to weaken our own basis. Since education has become a commercial, profit-making industry, the values like children’s right is widely violated in private schools. Unfortunately government has no control over such institutions because of the only reason that government is not paying grand in need or vice verse to these schools.
That is the outlook of the government and need to be changed in accordance with children’s rights.
The discipline and punishments in such schools are harsher and there has been no accountability. On the other hand, one can at least raise his hands against any such punishments in government schools.
But people should be bothered that even government is giving land on lease basis or electricity or water on subsidy rate to private educational firms, the children’s rights at least to be taken care. Otherwise there is no meaning in the claim of government that education is for nation- building.
Innovation in education
Personally, there is nothing like innovative education.
We have to find our own requirements and challenges to make ourselves well equipped to respond to those challenges .Think, what kind of capacity we need to inculcate in our education.
If students are fully well aware of development schemes and how people are fooled by the government in the name of development, it is one kind of innovation. The destruction being caused by the present paradigm of development, how benefits are generated on few people, how people are getting displaced and the cost majority of deprived paying in the name of developments… These are the innovative methods we are to bring in, instead of being fastened to government provided syllabus and government supplied prescriptive text books.
We have to look much beyond the conventional system.
Children should learn the ground realities and well aware of our soil and life.
I am afraid; it is really a superficial label.
Theoretical knowledge alone doesn’t help to make environment education significant. Teaching of environment lessons through books is the shallow approach.
Children are not aware of the real situation lies in the use of harmful pesticides and the need of organic farming.
How plastic is causing harm to environment? How water is polluted? These things should be learned with practical awareness.
Children should be able to find out practical solutions to the environmental threats like harmful pesticides and plastics.
Environment education starts from nature and when it is applied strictly to the rules, it can be life oriented and meaningful.
Education to all
We have to move far ahead to attain this goal. There are examples to show. Think what the world learned from us. Fortunately, we have lessons from leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, who showed the world the message of peace and non violence. Likewise there is tremendous potential in India, unfortunately it doesn’t get explored. The government doesn’t want us to come in to it. When the government is tightening and restricting the position by not providing grants and need to such exploration, it is not freedom at all. At the same time making strict rules and regulations, government can give freedom to educational institutions to decide their own curriculum.