I can’t believe that it is already July. We just wrapped up the education sector and currently trying to put together a documentary that would give a comprehensive context to the issues with education in this region. It has been a long and arduous process but, often time, very rewarding experience. Through this project, I was able to interact with the beneficiaries of NGOs — students, village members, farmers, and parents. Those interactions add a whole new dimension to my Indian experience. The India one experience as a passing tourist is dramatic (like everything in India) but it pales in comparison to the the holistic experience of being in a village home of a family. We were having conversations about their struggles, their pride, and their concerns for their future. There is a definite disconnect in priorities. This family was clearly struggling financially but they took out marriage loans to finance the daughters’ wedding. Because of wedding expenses, they would not be able to take out loans for agricultural equipment when farming is their main source of income. These little insights into the minds and lives of villagers would not have been available if I was not in India, in the village, in the family’s home. Trying to bring forth the intricacies of this country will be one of the main challenge of our project. For example, the sheer difficulty of working through the language and cultural barrier.
The culture of “passing the buck around” is pervasive in this country from booking a conference room through Deshpande Foundation to the government education system. No one is willing to take on the responsibility. When we interviewed a government primary school teachers and headmistress, any shortcomings were blamed on the government or covered by in a very
nonchalant everything-is-just-peachy manner.
The school teachers did not feel adequatel
y prepared to be effective teachers but they could not identify the necessary training needed to be able to teach. Then we went to a private secondary school, the teachers placed the lack of fundamentals on primary school teachers. The parents placed the responsibility of their children entirely on the teachers. In this broken cycle of blame-relaying, where is the source of the issue? How can we break the cycle and focus on the children who (in the end) bear the weight of the troubled system?
India faces systematic problems not too different from United States. Teachers are not accountable to the children. There is a lack of infrastructure and resources for the children. Parents are not fully engaged in their children’s education. Those are the same problems we face in certain parts of the United States. Some of us are just fortunate enough to live in the right part of town and go to the right schools — because our parents cared enough to live in a good school district and they have economic resources to live in that specific district. Ideally, we would be able to find a solution that can be apply to the education systems worldwide.