29 July, 2021

The Tunnel Vision Trap

The country's policy on education remains hostage to political games, says Krishna Kumar

The Tunnel Vision Trap

No one put it more bluntly than Indira Gandhi. Delivering a lecture in Rome in 1981, she said that an intercontinental missile costs the same as setting up 65,000 primary schools. This candid juxtaposition explains why India is both a nuclear power and a world topper in illiteracy and child labour. Let us face it. India has chosen to develop military might in preference to children’s health and education.

Since the mid-’60s, when the ‘basic education’ strategy inspired by Mahatma Gandhi was officially abandoned, primary education has stayed visionless, serving mainly as an instrument of social selections. A high drop-out rate ensures that about two-thirds of the children who enrol in grade one do not survive in the system beyond grade eight. Malnutrition and poverty, an unattractive school and indifferent - often cruel - teaching are the well-known factors which contribute to early elimination from school. In the overwhelming majority of primary schools, the child’s daily routine features dull chores and drills, interspersed with harsh words and...

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section