Apropos Sonia Singh’s column on the rte Act and the reservation of seats for ews students in private schools (Dirty Three-Letter Words, May 7), as a middle-class boy in a school mostly for the rich and famous, I used to be embarrassed that I had to travel by autorickshaw/bus to school, wear simple canvas shoes (not Nike or Adidas my classmates used to wear, and I’m talking about the ’80s), going for vacations to Bangalore and not Singapore. I, for myself, always stuck with kids of similar backgrounds. And I was middle class. I feel sorry for these poor kids.
Peter Irudayaraj, Chennai
Instead of compelling high-end schools to admit ews students, why not ask the lower-end private schools, run as business enterprises, to do that job?
Narendra Apte, Pune
Seditious though it might sound, why not close down the bad, corruption-ridden government schools and divert its budget towards subvention payments to private schools that must now admit children from less affluent families?
Ashok Lal, Mumbai
The elite private school territory has become like the elite institutions of British India, where certain places would be reserved thus: ‘white-only’. Thanks to the SC ruling, that will now change.
Lt Col S.P. Karir, on e-mail
EWS tag becomes a 'stigma" to learn so early in life.
It would be interesting to know how the class would look like once RTE is implemented in both letter and spirit. If there is a class of 30 students and the RTE quota is filled, at least 7 children would be from EWS section. The role and responsibity of the teacher would be pivotal in this matter. It would be tricky for the teacher to teach students who are not from same economic background.
We in India have always seen it caste and class. For a change, we will look at it as class and caste. It would be an interesting social experiment to watch out for.
I guess it is symptomatic of middle class not to be able to mix with either poor class or the elite class. The middle class children have knowledge, awareness and educated parents. All they lack is money that the elites have – more unreasonable reasons to sulk when u are almost there!
But the ews children lack everything that even the middle class children have. If not given this chance, many will never know what the world of wealthy (or even middle class) is like, many will never realize that there are fair and honest ways to reach there.
And this is a healthy precedent. Here we are implementing reservations based on need of the student rather than the caste; the latter is mostly usurped by the creamy layer in every caste.
Oh by the way I never could have the luxury of even a VCR. :)
Agree with YHWH. As a middle class boy in a school in which mostly rich and famous people's kids studied (Don Bosco), I used to feel embarrassed about the fact that I had to travel by rickshaw/bus to school, wear canvas shoes on PT days (not nike or addidas which my classmates used to wear - I am talking about the 80s), going to Bangalore for summer vacations and not Singapore, not having a VCR at home (pestered my dad and finally got one). I never formed any friendship with any of the rich kids (Karthi chidambaram was a senior), stuck to kids from similar backgrounds. Mind you, I was not even poor just middle class. Feel sorry for these poor kids.
It astounding how the government, through its propaganda arms in the media managed to convince everybody that this was reservation for the poor when it is mostly caste based reservation in private sector. Beware! gradually this 'socialist' government will start entering our bedrooms!
NY, UNITED STATES
I don't care about a yuppie's child. I care about the peon's child. What I envisage is five pariahs in a class of 30. Those 5 children who are made to feel inferior because of their social economic background. Those 5 who could't invite the fellow urban rich classmates to their homes because they live in a shanty. Those whose plastic tiffin box smells, those whose dress will make them look inferior in a couple of months. I could envisage a peon's son pestering his father to at least buy him a better water bottle.
Children learn as much at home as at school. Do you expect a peon to speak with his child in English. I don't think every peon's child is an Einstein. Most of them end up as drug addicts, school drop outs and criminals.
Exposure to elites for the poor child will make him more depressed. Childhood friendship might go a long way but this is too big price for a kid to pay.
What you present is the stark reality of life that children from weaker sections will face everyday in School. No doubt not being able to assimilate seamlessly with the children with maids and cars and macbooks will hit them hard.
But somewhere I feel you are doubting the smartness and intelligence of children. Right from early age children understand the world around them. They will be well aware of their background and their inadequacies. They will hence mould themselves and definitely grow up to be better individuals aware of the possiblities in this world.
We should in fact appreciate this effort of policimakers that at least gives the poor children the exposure and access to the elites. And as Sonia notes, these childhood friendships will go a long way..
Idealism is an incorrible and incurable disease best left untouched. The writer speaks for her own class if not the caste since it is class that matters more than the caste in EWS. The decision to include 25 percent students with EWS background in the school of affuelent is an idealism where the results could be disastorous.
The children with poor economic background and majority with poor caste background will be the major casuality. In a classroom of children, all the children are adults. Who you are, what does your father do, how many maids do you have, how many cars do you have, how many rooms do you have, my father is doctor, engineer, businessman, do you have a computer, do your parents allow mobile phone, how much pocket money do you get. The questions increase every day and every year and you become aware of your social and economic background.
What is going to happen to the child of a peon. How is the child going to cope with this inferiority complex which will just grow bigger with the child's age. The Supreme Court and the government will destroy so many hearts, so many young lives with this meaningles, idealistic step.
A doctor from some 5 star hospital and a peon of a government school can reconcile with the anguish of class and caste as an act of fatalism. How will this poor child will reconcile with the fact that he or she is inferior because of the sole reason called birth. This might turn out to be an Indian version of Bernard Shaw's My fair lady. The only difference would be that we will have a My Fair Child who would be torn in the class prejudices both at home and in the class of his classroom. Shame, shame, puppy shame.
Seditious though it might sound, why not close down all government schools and divert the budget towards subvention payments to private schools that must now admit children from less affluent families ?
Excellent article, poignant and thought provoking and well timed.
(1) The government is facing a huge challenge of scarcity of resources; be it money or trained teachers or school buildings with a minimum infrastructure. (2) But at the same time the money spent on teachers’ salary etc., in aided schools has led to new sources of corruption, which ultimately underline the fact that pubic funds are pocketed by the influential politicians and bureaucracy. (3) Therefore, in the current context when school education has become a marketable commodity, any attempt to force rich schools to share the burden of the students from EWS is not going to succeed. Instead of compelling high end schools, which are run for children from well-to-do families, to share the burden of the poor students, as per the RTE Act, why not ask the lower end private schools, run as business enterprises, to do that job? The government can introduce a system of vouchers, issue them to all families from economically weaker sections and allow the parents to choose any school from an approved list to use the vouchers.
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