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Re: Completely misguided arguments on compulsory education

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Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 19:04:14 +0530

I agree with the following views of Dr. Sanjeev Sabhlok (December 22, 1999).

"Just wanted to re-iterate that making education compulsory is a most futile
effort. ... Statistical data on Thailand ... shows that compulsion was
entirely ineffective in motivating education till economic policies became
'right' in early 70s. ... Parental choice is crucial at each stage. Parents
are not morons as most of us like to think villagers are."

I disagree with the following views of Mr. Parameswer (January 06, 2000).

"Compulsory Education is the only secular means in India to control
population: ... it could be appropriate for State to  constrain freedom of
parents in not sending to school and opting to extract work from them for
daily bread. Probably this may deter poor parents from producing more number
of children as they are now aware that kids can no more be sent for work to
earn for them, and the measure will work as a strong factor in motivating
them for family planning."

We have already a large number of laws to curb people's freedom. They help
the regulatory authority to get illegal gratification from some erring
people and punish a few who are poor and powerless just to prove that the
law is being effectively enforced, while the vast majority of culprits
escape any action
owing to a number of reasons including inadequate staff appointed for the
purpose. The same thing happens if a law is made to punish the parents for
not sending their kids to school and employers for engaging child workers.
As education cannot be made compulsory, population control cannot be
expected by this way.

A child worker not only earns money for himself and the family, but the work
he does helps him to acquire the necessary skills to make a fairly decent
living after he becomes an adult. Among the low and lower middle class
families, a child worker, if not treated as a slave, commands a better
respect than a school-going child. The present system of education in most
of our educational institutions is such that most students acquire just
paper qualifications without getting any knowledge or skills for
making a living. Most of the students who benefited from the present
educational system are those who received special coaching either at home or
in a private institution. Our education is only producing the so-called
educated employed who have become a permanent burden to the parents and to
the country. Only the lucky few get lucrative government jobs.

>From my own experience on Indian education since 1942 as a student, teacher
and administator, I find a gradual deterioration in the quality of education
received by most students at different levels. The only solution to the
problem is to enforce congenial atmosphere at places of work for the child
workers also to have adequate education and recreation.

R. Jagadiswara Rao

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