The pathetic condition of schools in India

Education is a weapon to improve one’s life. It is probably the most important tool to change one’s life. Education certainly determines the quality of an individual’s life. It improves one’s knowledge, skills, and develops the personality and attitude. But the recent report of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is not only a big shocker but an eye-opener to all of us. According to this report, about 22 percent of schools across the country are operating from old or dilapidated buildings, while 31 percent of schools reported cracks in structures.  Nineteen percent of the schools were located near rail tracks, whereas only one percent has speed breakers with zebra crossing signs for safety and security of children.   Another major finding in the report was that only 74 percent of schools have in-built water facilities in toilets and in the rest students have to carry water from outside.
The report was based on a survey of 26,071 schools across 12 states carried out by NCPCR to examine the safety and security of children in schools in terms of different indicators. The states covered are from north, west, east and north-eastern parts of India. Several districts were covered in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Rajasthan while a few districts were covered in Odisha, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, and Chandigarh, the report said.
The report also said that only 57 percent of children are satisfied with the quality of food. There have been cases where the food was not even fit for consumption and children have been sick. They are not even being provided food in the required quantity (61 percent). It is not surprising that if the food was not prepared as per the menu, the nutritive value in the food provided is only 60 percent of the time.  On the issue of cyber safety in schools, it was observed that not all schools visited had computer rooms, and of the 55 percent of schools where they have computer rooms and technological devices only 44 percent of schools have security systems in place to restrict the internet and 42 percent have blocked access to social media use by students. Countless words are written about the conditions of schools and education in India. Indubitably, education is the only valuable asset humans can achieve. It is the sole basis on which future of the human race depends.  
According to a UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s recent report, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the crisis in early childhood development worse, with more than 40 million children worldwide missing education in critical pre-school years. Families need support from their governments and their employers to weather this storm and safeguard their children's learning and development.  Childcare is essential in providing children with integrated services, affection, protection, stimulation and nutrition and, at the same time, enables them to develop social, emotional and cognitive skills.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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