Education in India has a history stretching back to the ancient urban centres of learning at Takshashila and Nalanda. Western education became ingrained into Indian society with the establishment of the British raj. But somehow, education has not been able to keep pace with the growing population and increasing poverty.
While education is on the priority list of the government, it has drastically failed to do justice to its vision mainly because of several malpractices. While still a developing country, India has a huge divide between the rich and poor.
There are many avenues to make money and more often than not, it is the route that is wrong. But given the numerous challenges faced by the country, if one looks at certain other parts of the world, without any doubt, we are lucky.
Poverty and civil war stricken parts of Africa (especially Chad, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan) and war-torn Afghanistan and now even Pakistan have been suffering from the evils of human craving for superiority using violence. Education in Africa has not been able to escape the crisis now afflicting the continent.
Wars, foreign debt and the HIV/AIDS pandemic are among the daunting challenges to education systems in Africa. The Sierra Leone Civil War resulted in the destruction of 1,270 primary schools, and in 2001, 67 per cent of all school-age children were out of school. The situation has improved considerably since then with primary school enrolment doubling between 2001 and 2005.
Following the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991, the task of running schools in Somalia was initially taken up by community education committees established in 94 per cent of the local schools. Numerous problems had arisen with regard to access to education in rural areas and along gender lines, quality of educational provisions, responsiveness of school curricula, educational standards and controls, management and financing.
To address these concerns, the Puntland government is in the process of developing an educational policy to guide the region’s scholastic process as it embarks on the path of reconstruction and economic development. As of 2012, Afghanistan tops the list in terms of being highly affected when it comes to education.
According to the Human Development Index, Afghanistan is the 15th least developed country in the world. This is due to decades of war and abandonment by the international community. Afghanistan is one of the worst affected countries by violence against schools, with 670 incidents of attacks on education in 2008.
Violence on students have prevented close to 5 million afghan children from attending school in year 2010. In terms of death rates, Afghanistan had 439 teachers, education employees and students killed in 2006-9, one of the highest in the world. Since the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001, up to 6 million girls and boys started attending school.
In 2012, the supply of students far exceeded qualified teachers. So, when celebrating Teacher’s Day, let us remember that we are living in conditions far better than some parts of the world. We should be thankful, that we are in that part of the world, which has much better systems and human resources than these region.