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- Learnings Down the Years
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
The fundamental issue with schooling
So our village children are all schooled. All dalit parents at any cost educate their children through school and college. Every dalit child is now a college pass or a college fail.
But we have 'schooled' a generation through poor schooling that has taken them nowhere. The present youth are rendered unfit for farming and other village livlihoods. Schooling has taught them that these are inferior occupations, and that only work done with paper and pen is respectable. Also after spending their childhood and youth in closed classrooms, they are physically unable to work hard as their parents do.
Sadly they are also unfit to compete for the white collar jobs they dream of because their schooling is, and will be, vastly inferior to what our privileged children access. Their traditional knowledge is also different from the school skills, and their elders cannot guide them in school studies. With all odds against them, very few make significant headway.
In addition, these children have also lost a sense of quality in work, which their parents and grandparents had as neither do they respect traditional occupations, nor are they given the high quality schooling to make them achieve high quality in the literate world.
Belonging to neither world, with unrealizable dreams of a white collar job, and with a disdain for rural employments, the youth are drifting. Alcoholisim has also become common.
Now what ?
The answer to this is not simple, because … the social system is flawed, and thereby also the schooling embedded in this system.
Is it possible? There is no policy that can absorb all the rural children into white collar jobs.
Is it desirable? The potter, weaver and dryland farmer have a high degree of skill that supports their very important occupations. These are sustainable practices, that do no harm to earth, as opposed to many modern technologies. A vibrant village economy incorporating all these in meaningful ways can generate many more such occupations that can gainfully employ its youth.
And to truly answer these questions the development paradigm, the economics, and everything has to be looked at anew. Based on the development paradigm production methods and inbuilt subsidies have to be evaluated. ... and also ‘who learns what from whom’.
We need to decide if we desire a gram swarajya model where village skills of farming, animal husbandry, weaving are given priority. Or if we desire a model where factories and IT are given priority. Or both, and in what proportion.
If the gram swarajya model has a significant place then the learning processes thereat themselves become very different. The roles of the teacher and the taught themselves get reversed !