With my father being in the army, I’ve lived all around the country; and through this, I’ve developed insights on a range of areas – including, the complexities of education.
From 12-year-old girls being forced to marry men double their age and drop out of school; to a student committing suicide every hour due to societal pressures; to young people’s ambitions being quelled, because in India – it is your caste which qualifies you for your tutelage.
Being human is given, but keeping our humanity is a choice.
More needs to be done.
This is why I’m taking part in the Youth Power Hacks.
Growing up, I moved cities every two years due to my father’s professional demands. For me, this meant leaving one school and then arriving at another nine times – shifting and adapting to an entirely new system and infrastructure of education over and over again.
In my country, it’s not just purely the quality of the infrastructure of schools or the skills of teaching staff which help children with their learning – it’s also about how much parents invest in their child’s education that works as fuel to help them achieve their dreams.
While there are existing norms in certain sections of Indian society where education is highly valued – it is complicated. This is because in circles where children and young people’s capabilities are purely determined by their school marks, the insurmountable pressure to score 99.9% or get into particular university courses – such as engineering and medicine, can lead young people to go into depression, and I have personally lost a friend due to this.
At the same time, there are also prevailing issues which make achieving a fair education for all difficult. This includes problems such as the caste system, low literacy rates across the population, a lack of job opportunities, as well as gender disparities.
In terms of my own experience with inequality in education for girls and boys, in the past – I’ve actually stepped in to teach the basics of English and Maths to our domestic helper’s daughters, as the family thought it was only important to invest in education for male children.
With gender being a key area of concern regarding equal access to education, my India Hack team is focusing on helping to support families from rural areas with schooling for their girl child. We believe that if there is a way to stabilise the financial situations of families, girls will not be perceived as liabilities – and it is a step towards highlighting the potential a girl child holds.
India is a country blessed with rich history, traditions and knowledge. With masterminds like Aryabhata, C. V. Raman, Rabindranath Tagore and prestigious ancient universities like Nalanda and Taxila – I have no doubt that the strength of the Indian education system can be restored.
Over the past few months, the Youth Power Panel has been working with Restless Development, Project Everyone, and Unilever to deliver the Youth Power Hacks: six online hackathons held in six countries, bringing together hundreds of young people to hack solutions to help get the Global Goals delivered.