Millions of jobs have been generated by big industrial houses, corporate, software and service companies, but these jobs remained out of reach for rural youths. The main reason is that the poor quality of education is being imparted in village schools.
Education and employment for rural youths is a great concern to all those who are worried about the future of the country. It is true that waves of globalization and liberalization that slammed the Indian shore in 1991, have since then taken only 27 percent of one hundred and twenty five crore population in its grip, leaving behind 73 percent grist to the mill. The researchers have delved for ways to minimize the urban-rural gap and to provide proper education and job opportunities to rural youth and that is the biggest challenge before the Central and State governments since Independence.
Sensex had attained new heights to cause excitement in Mumbai and in corporate India; speeches from big houses brought cheers to Indians living far away from Dalal Street or the glitter of Banglore and Hyderabad. Our foreign exchange reserve had also increased magnificently.. But all these success stories did not dispel the general gloom prevailing in rural India as benefits of globalization and liberalization of economy did not reach the villages; rather the economic condition of the villagers had deteriorated.
A recently conducted study presents a concurrent scenario of migration from villages to cities and towns going on in India. Due to unequal development and the indifferent attitude of development agencies of the government, a considerable proportion of rural population has migrated to urban places in search of jobs and that has caused many problems in cities and towns. Migration from rural to urban has changed the nature and proportions of population and its supportive system. Days are not far when urban population may surpass the rural population.
Despite global recession India had made spectacular progress in various fields, but rural India still faced poverty, unemployment, ignorance and socio-economic inequality. It is being claimed that new economic forces are creating new opportunities for development and for nation-building. The country is said to be moving on the path of progress, but the gap between urban and rural areas with regard to infrastructure for education, health, employment opportunities, etc., has been widening day by day.
The present situation of education in villages is alarming. According to 2008 data only 11.3% of individuals in India rural areas attend college or university as compared to 30% in urban areas. It is a fact that the country will not achieve the status of the developed country until rural India is developed. According to Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, “lasting peace can’t be achieved till disparities between have and have-nots are removed”. His micro-credit scheme has brought social transformation and has been proving a boon to the rural economy in Bangladesh.
REASONS OF THE PREVAILING SITUATION
No doubt India has made commendable progress in Space, Information Technology and Industrial Development and consequently, millions of jobs have been generated by big industrial houses, corporate, software and service companies, etc., but these jobs remained out of reach for rural youths. The main reason is that the poor quality of education is being imparted in village schools.
There is shortage of teachers and posts of teachers remain unfilled for many years and that have detrimental effect. Even teachers in positions come late and do not work. Some of them miss the classes on one pretext or other. No efforts are made by these teachers to motivate the students who have become indifferent to studies and indulge in antisocial and nefarious activities. Examination Results of these schools are alarming: Most of students either fail or pass with poor marks.
There can be many reasons for this dismal situation; however, some of these are identified as
•The villagers also do not care about the education of their wards. They depend and run after the politicians for the jobs of their children. Actually, they are bewildered as they find the politicians of all parties are from the same flock.
•Educated and affluent persons in villages are migrating to cities from villages and their wards also seek admission to good schools in cities and towns. The students who study in village schools are either from the poor or uneducated families.
•In fact reservation policy for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, back ward and other backward classes has failed to improve the conditions of villagers of these categories and the whole benefit has been cornered by affluent persons of their own categories living in cities and towns.
•If the purpose of education is to bring harmony in society, there should be equally distribution of infra-structure, resources and process of education between cities and villages, but the villages are deprived of these facilities.
•The extreme disparities in the infra structure and quality of education among urban and rural schools.
Over many years the people of rural India have shown a tendency to live with misery and sufferings with immense patience. Their tolerance threshold has been fairly high all along. But their worry about all that their children do not get proper education and employment is ominous.
As the population has increased and landholdings in villages have been squeezing, so unemployment problem in rural areas has taken ugly shape. Consequently, rural unemployed youths are adopting unlawful activities for their livelihood and they have become a threat to law and order problem. This has caused social problem as rural youth do not find any means of livelihood and even girls for marriage.
Ironically, the politicians make false promises at the time of elections and forget afterwards. Rural Economy is based on Agricultural Production and Cottage industries and both these have decreased to an alarming situation. These problems have attained such a dimension that if it is not readdressed immediately, the villagers may lose faith in the present system of governance, even in democracy.
Majority of the people in rural areas do not have even proper food and clothing. Such issues should be addressed effectively to achieve social justice and equality. Even media never highlight the prevailing conditions of the poor villagers. Although some political parties do talk about rural development and employment, yet sincere efforts have not been undertaken to mitigate their sufferings. Actually, it requires a lot of courage and political will power a political party in power.
When the economic prosperity of a nation does not translate visibly into improvement of the terms of reducing infant mortality and malnutrition as well as providing better prospects for health, housing, education, employment and skill development, it can’t be a genuine development. It is ironical that our country registers significant rates of economic growth, but leaves a bulk of population in villages poor, undernourished and educationally backwards. There can be many other problems like famine and hunger, poverty, population control, health, etc., but education and employment are the most acute problems being faced by rural youths.
Villages in our country are lagging behind in education, indicating inequality in access to education at all levels, particularly in technical, vocational and higher education. Prof. Amarteya Sen has repeatedly decried the neglect of quality education to rural people in India. Even facilities for basic education are not provided in most of neglected and remote rural areas despite its widely recognized importance for a nation’s economic prosperity and living standard of its citizens. Because of this they are migrating to cities and towns for the sake of education of their wards and that has caused problem not only of scarcity of water and electricity in cities and towns but law and order also.
Education is also a catalyst for social change, and this has been emphasized by social reformers like Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekanand, Lala Lajpat Rai, Dinbandhu Sir Chhotu Ram, Jayprakash Narayana, Ch. Charan Singh, etc. They are of the view that educated people can better understand their deprived status and chalk their own cause of action. Populations that cannot read and write are more vulnerable to exploitation economically and politically.
Some leaders do talk about the present plight of the farmers to gain political mileage, but do not think about others who are living in villages and their economic condition is worse than farmers. The main reason is that they are not well intentioned and are lacking in vision. Consequently, they are unable to suggest to remedial measures in this regard.
It has been mentioned earlier also that Dalits and backwards living in villages could not derive any benefit of reservation. So it is imperative to bridge rural and urban divide by providing some impetus in education and jobs. For that we are to identify easily accessible social, economical and educational parameters for linking backwardness in rural youths of both reserved and non reserved categories in admissions to professional and technical institutes. .
The disparities in the quality of education are against the principles of equality and social justice. So the students from rural areas should be given a preferential treatment in terms of some impetus in providing opportunities for higher education and employment. After a lot of thinking and spade work the following model is proposed for adoption and implementation by the central and state governments:
“It is proposed to add 10% marks in interview or final merit list for admission to various academic and professional courses, and employment to a candidate in his/her own category, who has studied in a village school for at least eight years and has passed two examinations out of three, namely middle, high and +2.”
If the said policy is adopted and implemented in right earnest, it will facilitate entry in jobs for rural youths, migration from villages will stop and even those students who have migrated to cities may shift back to villages to avail the benefit of reservation. This will generate a new environment of competition among students of rural government schools and will prove an essential gradient for development of education at every stage.
The model suggested above will prove a revolutionary in stopping skill drain from villages to cities and towns. The proposed policy of imputes if implemented will infuse new spirit and enthusiasm among rural youths who presently feel neglected and depressed. Middle class and educated families who have migrated to cities and town will also send their wards to the schools of their village to derive the benefit of new provision. It will increase enrolment, improve quality of education and reduce the dropout rates.
There will be an important source of social mobility, which will have an impact on the development process. Local residents will also begin to take interest in studies of their children. Consequently, rural youths will have opportunities to seek admission to good institutes and to get jobs in private and public sectors. It is a misconceived view that such impetus affects merit. Actually, merit is a matter of perception and it is unjust to equate people’s merit in isolation from broader socio-economic realities wherein more than 70 per cent of population remains deprived of quality education and employment opportunities.
Implementation of the proposed model will pave the way to a more egalitarian order. It will cause integration and social cohesion among villagers of all castes and sub castes. Thus it will help to end caste syndrome. It will create a social reform movement or some kind of renaissance to get rid of the present caste ridden social structure as benefits of concession is proposed on the basis of have and have-nots. Recently, Apex Court has upheld 93rd constitutional amendment act enabling the government to make a law providing reservation for those who are educationally and economically backward as a class from all castes living in villages.
The above mentioned reservation policy will be in conformity with article 16(4) of the constitution which reads: “Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from making any provision of reservation or concession for admissions and appointments to any category of people who in the opinion of the state, is not adequately represented in higher education and services under the state” This provision in the constitution empowers the state and centre to provide reservation to those who are deprived of adequate educational facilities and representation in Government and Private jobs as a class of rural people.
Thus, the proposed policy is legally valid if it is enacted by state legislature or parliament in case of central universities and institutions.. For that it is essential to create awareness among rural masses about the proposed concession policy and it can be possible if some social organizations and political parties come forward to unite and mobilize them to raise their voice vociferously to get the proposal implemented.
The writer is former PVC, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. He is also Honorary Professor in Mathematics, GJU Hisar.