I will be attending the iEarn Youth Conference in Doha, Qatar next week and will be presenting on the topic of universal education. There will also be many other interesting presentations! The conference will be streaming live on this link!
A lack of infrastructure, missing teachers and poor quality of education in government schools keep many parents from sending their children to school, especially girls. In rural Rajasthan, only 1 in 100 girls makes it to class 12 and only 15% of children can read a simple story. In her presentation Educate Girls founder Safeena Husain will demonstrate with practical, first-hand experience how she creates a sustainable environment for empowerment within the communities that will thus lead to systemic change in the Indian educational scenario.
I thought my schooling should be seamless
And made of rich brocade.
I dreamed its threads would be spun
Into mutable patterns
Of memory and beauty,
With light and dark shadings
And joined into fantastic, interwoven designs.
I saw my education cloth as having a texture —
And a sliding, slippery rhythm
As its folds would sweep and whisper
Across the cutting room table.
And with the help and guidance from my teachers
I thought I would be allowed to fashion and sew it
Into a garment that I was proud to wear —
For a lifetime.
My hands would be able to sweep this majestic cloth
Caressing, feeling and remembering
Its deeply embedded patterns —
Each loop, each wondrous thread
Would be woven to suit my special talents and potentialities.
I envisioned that I would be able to see the beauty of my garment
Reflected in the awe of passersby,
In the eyes of strangers whom I met,
Expressed by friends and family.
But most of all, see it, everyday
In the visions of my reflected self.
But I have been given patched burlap rags instead.
Ones fashioned by others
Who either do not know or care
About my internal bends and curves and measurements.
This is base, bare stuff.
Leavings from others, and from long olden times —
It is chaffing, constricting and not suitable for lifetime wear.
These rough-patched raiments
Remind me that they have been passed from hand to hand,
From one time zone into the next.
There are no subtle threads or majestic shadings here.
No whispered-touch upon my skin.
And no deep, rich-etched patterns
Lie beneath a subtle sheen.
To tantalize my eyes or elevate my mind.
This plain, coarse stuff is spun for functional utility —
Merely a sparse, shabby covering.
Created by greatly sparing cost.
And I am left
Shivering, cold, disheveled,
Ashamed that others will see
What my schooling dressed me in.
Is it that I am unworthy of that other kind of cloth?
Am I too base, or low-born
For garments made of richer thread?
Did I ask too much?
Or did I try to reach too high?
They told me to be
All that I could be.
They whispered —“If only you would try but once again!”
But when I did, they sent me to the ball
Dressed in dirty rags and hand-me downs.
They wonder why I am angry,
Mad, or disbelieving.
Afraid to dance again to their disheartening and misleading tunes.
But at the ball I noticed that there were others
Who had been clothed in my sweet dreams of rich brocade
I think my schooling should have been seamless
And made like finely woven cloth …
In Katherine Boo’s novel, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a local bridge school meets to teach kids English and try to get them encouraged in further education. However, this is unrealistic. The head of the school, Asha, does not in fact teach, but her daughter Manju does, who is actually probably better qualified. (Chapter 4, Track 3) The school meets, and Manju teaches; however, she does not have the access to teaching materials to properly led a class. Also school comes last in the students’ lives. They have to help earn money to buy food by scavenging or getting temp work which is often long and tiring. Therefore, little time is left for school. Inadequate education extends to the university level as well. Manju is fortunate enough to be taking a class on English literature; however, rather than reading the books, they are given summaries to read, memorize, and recite on the exams. (Chapter 4, Track 2) Corruption is one of the major factors of the poor education system in Mumbai. Teachers and school leaders often take the government funds for the schools and hold class only when officials come to observe. Without a proper education, children lack the means to get out of the slums and to prevent the circle of destruction of poverty.
Check out: http://mweber314.wix.com/issues-of-annawadi