Of what use is it talking about the ‘Bhagavat Gita’ if we cannot even part with our ‘plastic toys’ easily? Of what use is it talking about ‘oneness’ if we cannot take an honest look into our living and working environments and see if the poorest man on the street will feel welcome and comfortable walking into these spaces?
What do you want to become when you grow up? The answers were:Dishwashers,chefs(primarily as it signifies food security,nurses,teachers to a hilarious answer by a kid who wants to become a MCC.
Situated at 20kms from a prosperous city , on the banks of the river Subernrekha is a 4 room school. A Banyan tree,a hand pump and surrounded by water and green fields , the place is quite isolated from the rest of the world.On the first look the place looks so appealing,peaceful and ideal for education.It even prompted me to rent a place and stay for a few days in the serene environment and impart some meaningful education to the kids.Like any other government school in Jharkhand, it too had a kitchen for mid day meal ,few classrooms,toilets,2 teachers and 80 odd students.I was lucky enough to stay at the school until mid day meal and having it with the kids was a revelation.
At the outset it is important to mention that 80% of children in India study in government schools.The government has gone a long way in providing the infrastructure and channelizing the free primary education under RTE.But has it been able to deliver quality education to kids? As a matter of fact, according to the latest ASER report the quality has come down a lot. For an urban kid the daily routine comprises of going to school, with a good choice of food,clean school uniform,comfortable classrooms and plenty of educational facilities with the primary focus on quality education.For our rural counterparts it is mostly the free meal.On a socio economic level,the primary concern for people living in villages is food and shelter.Education does not come on the agenda at all,forget the concept of meaningful education.Working and profiling kids in few schools brought out some shocking figures.The minimum number of siblings each kid had was 4 and the numbers were as high as 8.There were hardly any unmarried girls who were of the age 20.The families could not afford a newspaper and almost all of them were unaware of the government schemes and importance of education.
In an adult literacy orientation session I came across a lady exceptional in her thinking ability. In the gurukul schools run by our enterprise we have had our share of bright kids.Even in sports especially football,girls have made their mark at a tender age. My point is that with our majority studying in Government schools , it is high time government and people like us start playing their part in improving the quality of education.If India has to become a happy place for all this is the time otherwise it will be too late.
I had my reasons of quitting a corporate job for a social enterprise. In the long term I plan to open a football cum learning academy for rural kids.In my 9 months in this sector the belief of doing the same has increased manifold. I will be heading for a MBA next month and am happy to have some exposure to the rural segment. It not only gives a different perspective to what I have done till now but also a path to something I always wanted to do.Village management is a difficult process and requires a lot of expertise to deal with people.I have seen a lot of entrepreneurship opportunities in the rural sector and I guess this is the right time to target this segment both at a personal level and from a corporate’s perspective.Generating livelihood opportunities, good education,safe drinking water,renewable resource utilization and health and sanitation are few areas which have a lot of scope.
From an engineering background,I was expected to do a lot of analysis and number stuff. I have had the opportunity of working with UNICEF and World Bank. I have helped a lot in planning and budgeting an entire project and the experience is priceless.Amidst all this I have found time to interact with teachers,train them a bit and help them in their lesson planning.I have contributed my bit is teaching rural kids and motivating them towards pursuing higher education.
Being a twenty someone you must be busy building your careers,some of you must be working day in and day out.All I have to say is keep your eyes open for there is a good business idea lying in there. Find some time from your busy schedule to bring out a change.There is dearth of professional like you in this field and any intervention by you will make you a change maker.