When poverty runs rampant and families cannot afford to pay for their child’s right to education, it becomes clear that education must be free for all. It is necessary to provide free education to children in a country like India, where poverty-stricken families have neither the money nor the means to give their children quality education, so they send their kids to work as laborers to bring some cash in the household instead. Free education will give these kids the opportunity to go to school to make something of themselves. Don’t these kids deserve a brighter future for themselves and their families too?
Education gives us knowledge of the world around us, providing us with a new perspective and outlook. It helps us build opinions and point of views about different things in life. Everyday we make various choices, the sum of these choices become habits, and the sum of our habits transform our lives; education is the process to ensure that the choices we make are correct.
In today’s world, education needs a sweeping change, Education needs to become both standardized and equal for the entirety of India. Teachers should be evaluated regularly to make sure that they are teaching children in the correct fashion. In fact, this same fashion should be updated regularly to meet current educational demand. In a world where these steps are followed strictly, impoverished people would be able to happily send their kids to school. They would be able to give their child a chance at a better life.
The parliament enacted the Right to Education Act in 2009 for free and compulsory education of children between the ages of 6-14. The act makes education a fundamental right for every child, requiring all private schools to reserve 25% of their seats for poor children. The Act also provides that no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until they complete an elementary education.
Just like any other act, though, the RTE has its flaws:it only protects children between the ages of 6-14, rather than also addressing the needs of children between the ages of 0-6 or 14-18. India has signed the UN charter, which clearly states that there should be free education for all people aged 18 or younger. The act also stipulates that children should be assigned according to age, a good step to save wasted years. But there is no bridge course offered to prepare the children to adjust. Instead, every student is passed to the next class irrespective of the marks scored. This not only throws our children into the deep end, but promotes insincerity among them and carelessness among the teachers. This compromises their ability to withstand pressure and compete harder to excel, thus creating a generation of children who will never know hard work or competition.
Finland’s education, functioning around several basic principles, is the most effective system in the world. The first and foremost of these? Equal access to education. Another important principle is that the children should be allowed to choose their own educational paths, which should never lead to a dead end. In addition, Finland has no standardized tests in their schools besides the National Matriculation Exam; a voluntary test for students at the end of a secondary school. Most school systems are so concerned with increasing test scores, they often tend to forget what constitutes a happy and healthy student and learning environment.
In order to provide free education for children in India, the government needs to improve the tax collection mechanism so that there can be more revenue for providing quality education. Citizens must be made aware of the situation so that they can vote for parties who will focus on improving the education system and access to schooling. Moreover, the government should focus more on the health and nutrition of the students through mid-day meals.
Online schooling, albeit a great way to attend classes and to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, further complicates the question of accessibility. Many kids coming from poverty-stricken households are unable to attend the online classes due to lack of accessibility of electronic devices. Most parts of India do not receive consistent electricity, leading to a digital divide. People living in rural areas have almost no access to wifi or any other forms of net link.
The government should build schools in remote areas of the country where children still have to walk miles to reach their schools. Roads should be constructed to connect the schools to all parts of the village for easy accessibility to all students as well as teachers. The government should be willing to provide students with self-learning material.
Free education will ensure that the future of India stands firm. By giving access to education to the poor, we make sure that no one is deprived of the gift of knowledge and that everyone gets an equal opportunity to shape their own future.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
- Nelson Mandela