It is shocking that 1,311 schools in Tamil Nadu have been found to be functioning without electricity and another 385 schools have dysfunctional power systems. If these are figures from the ministry of human resources development on a state known for its overall development, urbanisation, pioneeering educational institutions and a fairly decent literacy rate of 80.3 per cent as against the national average of 74.04 per cent, one shudders to imagine the scenario in many other states. What is stark about the statistics is that some schools have been wilfully neglected by callous authorities, depriving students of a plethora of modern facilities that those enrolled in other schools in the state may well be taking for granted.
This is a classic example of a nation or state failing to provide equal opportunities for all its younger citizens. While some children sit in classrooms with fans and airconditioners and learn the basics of science in advanced laboratories, if some others are forced to sweat in their benches through the day with no access to educational gadgets, including computers, that necessarily work on electric power, it goes against the grain of equality. Besides, electricity is a basic necessity and a blatant denial of it goes against the tenets of fundamental rights.
Above all, when the collective aspiration of the nation is to engage with modernised educational tools like inter-linked classrooms, long-distance lectures, reducing the weight of the satchels by replacing printed textbooks with tablets and computers, how could we allow a section of our students to wallow in darkness? If the government fails to wake up and take steps to illuminate the lives of the students by ensuring basic amenities like electricity, toilets and also compound walls for security and privacy in all schools, the growth of the nation will be in jeopardy. By keeping a part of the next generation in a powerless situation, we will not be able to forge ahead together.