Government has enacted many laws to punish those who abuse and inflict violence on children. There are stringent laws to punish those who sexually abuse children. Teachers are punished for beating children or hurting their sentiments. However there are many other forms of violence and cruelty inflicted on the children which are not punished.
In the past schools were known for the quality of their teachers. Parents chose schools depending on the reputation of the teachers who taught in those schools. Today parents seek admission of their children looking at the external factors of schools, such as, the infrastructure, garden, spacious playground, swimming pools, provision for lunch and snacks, facility of school bus and many other facilities. Parents are willing to pay any amount of money for these external facilities which have nothing to do with the quality of education. The brand name of the school also is a big attraction.
Many of these new elite schools are situated in the outskirts of the cities. Children have to travel 20 to 25 km from their homes by the school bus. In a crowded city these buses would take almost one to two hours to reach the school. Little children from KG to high school classes spend more than three hours every day in the buses. After this long and tiresome bus journey they have to attend the classes for many hours. Hardly any one notices this cruelty on the little children. They are exposed to the dust, heat and pollution of the city roads for long hours.
Several commissions led by expert educationists have suggested many practical proposals to improve the quality of education. Kothari commission had proposed the idea of neighbourhood schools. According to this children are expected to go to the neighbouring schools instead of travelling to distant schools. This is practiced in developed countries like Germany, France and many other countries in Europe. It is possible to practice this idea there because of the quality of education provided in all these schools equally.
The present school education, especially the English medium, snatches the childhood of children. Apart from the long tiresome journey the little children are forced to carry heavy school bags every day. Why doesn’t anyone notice the crime of making the little children carry schools bags weighing five to six kg?
Despite admitting the children into the prestigious schools with high fee, parents are advised to send children for private coaching. Even the little children are not spared from coaching. After a tiresome day in the classroom and in the bus they do not have time to play with their friends. Many schools give homework even for the holidays. Schools inflict this punishing schedule to safeguard their reputation of excellent results. Parents become part of this violence for securing high rank for their children in the board examination. In this process the holistic development of the children are blocked. Children who get high percentage in the examination are ignorant of many essential information about socio-political issues affecting the country. They are ignorant about the history and culture of the country. Instead of reading serious books they are often brainwashed by misinformation fed by social media.
The present education system is a total failure in developing the integral personality of the students. While the educational institutions enable a few students to make a career, millions suffer frustration due to lack of unemployment and stable means of livelihood. Moreover education today doesn’t infuse in them commitment and responsibility to the humanity.
The sacred mission of education today is commercialized. The education institutions have become an industry for making easy money. Politicians and those who run the government are committing a serious crime against the country and humanity by destroying the future of millions of children. Do we have laws to punish those who commit these crimes against children?
(Published on 31st July 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 31)