Headline, February15, 2014




NO ONE should miss, ever,    -seeing this towering-masterpiece of a movie from around 60s : Mother India.

What would I remember of it now?  Little or Nothing? 

I, for one, remember everything.  Few movies  could give you a better baseline or describe better, the stark scattered  beauty nor  the complexity of the present challenges facing, Mother India.  

BUT in returning to the subject of the post :let me begin by saying that: THERE is a growing movement in India to provide private schools for the poor. 

There are no reliable national figures, but a new report for the India Institute, a think tank, found that 65% of children in Patna, a fairly representative city, go to private schools.

And 70% parents who send their children to government schools would send them to private schools if they could afford the modest fees of 50-500 rupees ($1-10) a month.

Facilities are basic, but cheap private schools are orderly and often teach English. The Centre for Civil Society gives 400 randomly chosen girls a voucher to spend on a private school of their choice.

The results are encouraging : ''voucher children''  read and do sums better than their state-school peers, and have higher aspirations. They also get more family support.

That poor parents will pay for something the state provides free speaks volumes. India's state schools pay their teachers far more than private ones, yet they are often worse.

Survey suggests that a quarter or more of government teachers are absent at any given time. Union prevent the authorities from disciplining slackers or rewarding good teachers.

The willingness of poor parents to pay is also a sign of something more positive: ''ordinary Indians passion for education''. 

The Brahmpuri slum in New Delhi is an energetic place, full of life and fever. Home to migrants, Muslims and other marginals. A barber with a cut throat razor and a bucket of dirty water shaves clients on the pavement:

Factories hum in people's front rooms. Animals and children are everywhere: buffaloes pulling carts, white ponies doing nothing in particular.I mention all this because:

The Bhandari Modern Public School can be approached only by technological downshifting. 

Full-sized taxis cannot penetrate the narrow, crowded streets,so you have to switch to tuk tuk. Soon the streets become alleyways, so you switch to a bicycle-rickshaw

The school despite its name, is private, and is  ''a miracle of compression, sighs the author. 

Floor upon floor of children, on the average  25  to a class, crowded into a narrow concrete block.

It is also a miracle of order: the children wear uniforms and stand up to greet visitors. One class room is decorated with bright pictures and perky slogans such as:

''We will get more than 80% in Mathematics''. 

The teacher of the class worked for   Infosys   a giant of an IT firm, before finding her vocation. Other classrooms are drabber.

Dr Bhandari, the school's owner and headmaster, is clearly a shrewd businessman. He runs a fancier school next door, decorated with images of Mickey Mouse. 

He has an impressive collection of certificates. He uses an interpreter to explain that one of his school's strengths is that its ''English Medium''.

The honour and the Post continues:

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors an Teachers of Siri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Maldives. See Ya all on !WOW! -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'''Open Skies -And-  Bottom Less Pits '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!