24/03/09

a naive idea- 1

i think, many times, what's the point of elections anyway?

i like this dream: all children of all castes, creeds going to the same school. of schools that have not just blackboards but computers and stuff. that have fans and lights and playgrounds and teachers. libraries and internet. that have girls' cricket teams and budding filmmakers. and toilets and clean water. schools that look and feel great to children- excite them as much as new games or movies or books or insects and grass and a great number of other things that we know nothing about do. schools that communities can take pride in.

some might tell you that this is not a practical idea. we don't have the money, villages (and cities) don't have the roads or electricity, teachers hate going to villages to teach, poor parents can't afford to send working children to school.

if that's not a practical idea, what's india? and what's the point of this elections anyway?

in the next three years, india is going to spend around rs. 5,00,000- 6,00,000 crores on defense- much more than what's needed to build those schools. what's foolish about spending a crore each on a school in every one of the 6,00,000 villages in the country? it'd actually cost much less because most of the existing schools only need to be refurbished or expanded.

but defense is a practical idea. holding onto kashmir is a practical idea. and war with pakistan is always a practical idea.

villages don't have the roads or electricity? bunker roy of barefoot college tells you what can be done for $400,000 a year:
For the same amount of money, one could electrify 15 whole villages of 800 houses annually with solar power; collect 20 million liters of rainwater in 40 remote rural schools; or run more than 300 night schools for a year for over 4,000 dropped-out children anywhere in the world. For the same amount 100,000 families living below the starvation line of 50 cents a day could receive two square meals a day in 50 villages. When that sort of money is available, it is foolish and absurd to spend it on one village.
equipping a school with solar electricity wouldn't need more than $ 5,000 (assuming each school needs as much electricity as ten homes) or $50,000 (assuming each school needs as much electricity as a hundred homes). that'd be less than 2-20 lakh rupees? that'd also solve the problem of water. what i'm trying to say is- all these problems can be solved. i mean in three years (even without cutting into the holy defense budget).

what's more difficult to solve? problems like teachers who won't go to villages, parents who don't/can't send their children to school, a bureaucracy that doesn't care about schools etc., are those the real problems, those issues much bandied about by experts? the iits and the schools with air-conditioning and french tell you india is a stupid dream, a mere slogan. that's the real problem.

[this post by space bar made me think]

2 comments:

praveen said...

Definitely, your idea isn't something that is not practical. It's absolutely possible.

But depending on the govt to make it live doesn't seem practical (though this is definitely govt's/leaders job. But aren't they already busy with misdirecting the funds and securing their kids future?)

How about self-sufficient schools, where the schools generate all (if not part) of the revenue they need (after initial setup)? I'm can't say how this can be done, just a vague idea.

kuffir said...

'But depending on the govt to make it live doesn't seem practical (though this is definitely govt's/leaders job.'

praveen,

this is something that the government/state needs to do for its own sake- if it can serve purely private ambitions, like iits, on the one hand and not deliver on universal needs, like education, it ceases to be a legitimate govt/state.

 
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