Abraham Lincoln’s definition for Democratic Government is well known to all that it is of the people, for the people and by the people. In my today’s blog post, I am going to discuss ‘Government for the people’ only in the light of the topic titled above. In the interest of a wide mass of parents worldwide, I represent here my ‘thought exercise’ that the inequalities of opportunities in education based on money should no longer be continued anywhere. Not only for the healthy democracy but also for improving economical conditions of all citizens, all nations should provide full facility and equal opportunity for all types of education to their citizens. As the part of disclaimer, let me be frank that the discussion of the topic in general reflects my own personal views and ideas and not necessarily binding to all.
In most of democratic countries of the world, the fundamental right of Education has been emphasized in their Constitutions or Parliamentary Bills passed for all their citizens without any favor or discrimination of community, caste, religion, section, creed, domicile or any other status. Some undeveloped and underdeveloped countries, due to their shortcomings of funds, can provide education free or with reasonable fees up to primary or maximum secondary level to their citizens. But, as far as university education is concerned, many developed and developing countries also cannot afford high costs in this regard. Just to meet with the problem of funds, many countries have adopted the concept of privatization and allowing self financed institutions.
This system makes the poor deprived of college education and thus poverty breeds poverty. Let me stress, here, that this is not the justice. Some rich students can get quality education with power of money and the poor poor-fellows, in spite of being meritorious, cannot have college education. “A government for the many, not the few” may be a good political slogan to some extent; but when we come to ‘education’ and specially to this so called new concept of ‘self-finance’, the slogan turns about with the changed words as “A Government for the few, not the many!”.
Muhammad Yunus of Bangla Desh, a Noble Prize (2006) winner for Peace said, “Poverty is a threat to peace. I believe that putting resources into improving the lives of the poor is a better strategy to end the most of the problems in the society.”If we go further to above belief, we will have to approve the established truth that the education to the citizens is the only important resource to bring peace in the society. Keeping away the poor from having education means that we encourage such a great mass of youths to choose the destructive paths such as forming gangs, committing violence, creating war zones in streets, drug selling and making them its addicts.
Approval of necessity of education for all is idealism and failure in implementation of the strategy of education by the Governments and/or societies is realism. Between these two ‘isms’ there is the wide gap which must be tried to be filled in. Governments consider the expenses made on education as non-productive, but it is far from truth. Today’s non-productive expense may bring a multiple revenue for the nation tomorrow. Ignoring essentiality of education to the citizens of every class has to pay a heavy price with creation of destructive youths as shown above who go astray and try to show their identity in negative ways. As a result, the integrity and peace of the nation is adversely affected.
Most of the Governments with the pretext of insufficient income from tax resources, tryto escape from this vital responsibility of providing all level education free of costs or at reasonable fees to their citizens. They have adopted a new, but to say the worst, concept of privatization with the hidden meaning of commercialization and have started to allow self financed educational institutions in a large number. Here, we can see that there is the great indirect exploitation of the poor and only the rich can reach the quality education with the power of money. This type of discrimination based on economical standings is the greatest social injustice in democratic nations. There may come a day when these suppressed people may unite and rebel against such unjust system and pro-rich policy shapers in the Governments. Some political parties, for the lowest reason of electoral profit and collection of election funds from the rich, overlook the national interest to maintain socio-economical balance in the society. Any nation can become the great only when even the last member can share the opportunities rendered by the Governments for uplifting of own life. In brief to say, no any norm but merit only should be there particularly in system of Education when entrance in a college is being given.
Let us have an in-depth look at how to find out some moderate and practical solutions of the problem in question. According to the suggestions of the World Bank – scholarships, lower fees and subsidies should be implemented in the interest of the poor getting admissions in the self financed colleges. Between the lines, let us examine in brief one more issue of various Reservations. I am not against Reservations personally. Of course, there must be Reservations for certain class of students who are socially backward. But, these Reservations should be limited to primary and secondary education. At college level, the merit of the student should only be taken into consideration for quality graduates, post graduates and doctorates. To facilitate the citizens to have equal opportunity for fair college education, the Governments should run an adequate number of colleges or universities with provision of reasonable and affordable fees. If the Governments are not able to cope with such huge expenses, they may make a choice of private alternatives with certain conditions; for example, the private sectors must start a parallel college or institution with same infrastructure with equal numbers of seats of students with no any capitation fees but the tuition fees only and that also at Government approved rates. Any way may be adopted, but there must be the clear concept that the meritorious students who come from poor families must have the equal opportunity of getting education which the prosperous students can avail.
Summing up, any nation’s true wealth lies in its vast human resources and particularly the youths. To build a nation strong, youths must be utilized as the stones. The rough stones cannot be used, they need to be shaped. Education is such a process through which only the aims of a nation can be fulfilled. I’ll quote a saying as “A stone that is fit for the wall can never be found in the way.” If the poor are ignored by the newly adopted self financing system of education, it will prove that the Governments and societies have left such precious and useful stones scattered in the streets.
I would like to end this post with repetition of my disclaimer that these are entirely my own thoughts and my way of thinking and they are not intended to offend anybody’s belief.
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: 26th March, 2008
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