s a child, we all would have memorized: “Food, water and shelter are the basic necessities of life” assuming that Oxygen is available in abundance! We must have been 5 or 6 years old then. At that time, how many of us really understood what it really implies? Most of us would have hailed from a family who had enough money, if not lots, so that we didn’t starve. We would have got our daily dose of healthy meals which contained vegetables and fruits, grains and cereals, milk and what not! We must have even had the luxury of choosing between Boost and Complan. And, we would never have grown up without knowing how a chocolate, ice cream or cake would taste like.
I was no different too. I didn’t know that there were children who went to work instead of schools so that they could earn something for their family. I didn’t know that parents preferred to send their children to work than to school. That many people believed that school education is a waste which only snatches the first fifteen years of a person’s life; which could otherwise be used to support the family.
I frankly didn’t know this until I was old enough to understand that there is something called “money” and that it is instrumental in shaping one’s future.
I was untouched by this ground reality till I was 9 years old. Till then, I was a part of elite group – those who studies in private schools. But, when we shifted to Kerala, I was admitted to a Government school. That’s when I understood what economic status means. My class had students belonging to different earning classes. I was also introduced to “BPL”. Until then, I thought that it was a company that pre-dominantly produces electronic appliances. However, I understood that BPL can also mean “Below Poverty Line”.
Until Tripura surpassed in 2013, Kerala was the Highly Literate State in India with about 94% literacy rate. When I think about it, I wonder if the free lunch given by the Kerala State Government is a major reason for the same. I still remember that some of my friends used to get bananas, boiled tapioca and rice porridge (Kanji). During Onam, they used to get rice as well, if I remember correctly. For poor families, one less person to feed is also a great blessing in disguise.
Having said that, today as I look back, I believe that like food, water and shelter, education is also a basic necessity.
· First of all, the Government must set up more schools and revamp the existing ones. Apart from Kerala, I have not come across well-maintained Government schools in other parts of South India. And, I am clueless about how it is in North because I have never been there. But, having a product of Kerala Government School, I can very well vouch that they are awesome!
· Government must provide poor children with free food if the parents send them to school. In that way, children will neither stay hungry nor foolish. Don’t they collect a good 3% (Education Cess @ 2% and Secondary Higher Education Cess @ 1%) from all the tax abiding citizens and corporate? It is a part of both direct and indirect taxes that they must be getting huge sums of money. Where does this money go? Come on, we all have the right to know. This is not unattainable!
· The Companies Act has mandated the Corporate Social Responsibility. If the companies decide to sponsor food for poor children, get them enrolled in schools and provide them with stationery, it would make a big difference to the children and their families. They can also adopt children in a particular villages.
· At a micro level, we can volunteer and sponsor the education of our maids, security guards, gardeners, etc. We can also make a deal with them – “Send them to school. Then, I shall send them food!”
A country is truly developed only when hunger is eradicated and all the children is granted the basic right to study!
PS: Really proud of BlogAdda for this initiative.