Monday, 8 December 2014

Food for Education

s a child, we all would have memorized: “Food, water and shelter are the basic necessities of life” assuming that Oxygen is available in abundance! We must have been 5 or 6 years old then. At that time, how many of us really understood what it really implies? Most of us would have hailed from a family who had enough money, if not lots, so that we didn’t starve. We would have got our daily dose of healthy meals which contained vegetables and fruits, grains and cereals, milk and what not! We must have even had the luxury of choosing between Boost and Complan. And, we would never have grown up without knowing how a chocolate, ice cream or cake would taste like.

I was no different too. I didn’t know that there were children who went to work instead of schools so that they could earn something for their family. I didn’t know that parents preferred to send their children to work than to school. That many people believed that school education is a waste which only snatches the first fifteen years of a person’s life; which could otherwise be used to support the family.

I frankly didn’t know this until I was old enough to understand that there is something called “money” and that it is instrumental in shaping one’s future.

I was untouched by this ground reality till I was 9 years old. Till then, I was a part of elite group – those who studies in private schools. But, when we shifted to Kerala, I was admitted to a Government school. That’s when I understood what economic status means. My class had students belonging to different earning classes. I was also introduced to “BPL”. Until then, I thought that it was a company that pre-dominantly produces electronic appliances. However, I understood that BPL can also mean “Below Poverty Line”.

Until Tripura surpassed in 2013, Kerala was the Highly Literate State in India with about 94% literacy rate. When I think about it, I wonder if the free lunch given by the Kerala State Government is a major reason for the same. I still remember that some of my friends used to get bananas, boiled tapioca and rice porridge (Kanji). During Onam, they used to get rice as well, if I remember correctly. For poor families, one less person to feed is also a great blessing in disguise.

Having said that, today as I look back, I believe that like food, water and shelter, education is also a basic necessity.

·     First of all, the Government must set up more schools and revamp the existing ones. Apart from Kerala, I have not come across well-maintained Government schools in other parts of South India. And, I am clueless about how it is in North because I have never been there. But, having a product of Kerala Government School, I can very well vouch that they are awesome!

·      Government must provide poor children with free food if the parents send them to school. In that way, children will neither stay hungry nor foolish. Don’t they collect a good 3% (Education Cess @ 2% and Secondary Higher Education Cess @ 1%) from all the tax abiding citizens and corporate? It is a part of both direct and indirect taxes that they must be getting huge sums of money. Where does this money go? Come on, we all have the right to know. This is not unattainable!

·      The Companies Act has mandated the Corporate Social Responsibility. If the companies decide to sponsor food for poor children, get them enrolled in schools and provide them with stationery, it would make a big difference to the children and their families. They can also adopt children in a particular villages.

·      At a micro level, we can volunteer and sponsor the education of our maids, security guards, gardeners, etc. We can also make a deal with them – “Send them to school. Then, I shall send them food!”

A country is truly developed only when hunger is eradicated and all the children is granted the basic right to study!

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

PS: Really proud of BlogAdda for this initiative.


  1. Well written Satya..
    Btw,, Happy birthday to u dear, may god bless u...have a blast...!!

  2. I don't see education as an "angel" or a "magic wand". Education nowadays is big business. Both parents and children want only one thing: Output. Good marks = Well paying jobs. To achieve their ends, they will do anything. Rote-learning, memorization, mugging up - easy words to associate with "education" at least in India. If education was about knowledge, realization, overall development, schools/colleges (as of now) will become redundant.

    Destination Infinity

    1. I completely agree with you. When I hear that even a pre-nursery education costs a few lakhs, I am awed.
      Education must be pursue what we are passionate about... And also it should be designed in such a way that everyone can pursue their passion.

      Thanks for your insight :)

  3. Happy Birthday dear Satya! :)

  4. Happy Birthday Satya. We should not expect the government to do everything. Corporations and wealthy individuals should make major contribution to schools. They should adopt schools, ala adopt a village.

    1. I agree SG. That is one my point of view too...
      But, if one state can do it, why not others?

      Thanks :)

  5. Kerala respects education. Everyone wants to learn. The government schools have class too, unlike the north!

    1. Really. Kerala is so much developed in that way.

      Thanks Red :)

    2. The credit for Kerala’s achievements in education(?) goes mainly to the maharajas of erstwhile princely state Travancore whose revolutionary and progressive steps on various fronts made the native state soared high and became the second or third most prosperous native state of British India, during the reign of Sri Chithrathirunal. Even Nehru echoed the same opinion that the education in the state was superior to that of British colonial India. And one more point to note that they were served by able administrators like Col. Munro, Sir CP, etc., which the entire country lacks. Albert Einsten was approached by Sir CP to accept VC post of Travancore University now University of Kerala.

      But the same cannot be said of Malabar area under British India which languish while the Travancore lavish, even now.

  6. nice thoughts..even i was also thinking abt writing for this actvty

    1. A few minutes of your time and as less as 300 words could ensure that a child is fed... it is a great cause. I was postponing too... last date is 11th dec....

      Thanks Nikhi

  7. This is a really good initiative! Good luck!

  8. “Education is not to reform students…or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight.” Robert M Hutchins. - from Collected Quotes

    There is an ancient saying that the ultimate purpose of education is to help people to be the teacher of themselves.

    To me education is a lifelong pursuit, therefore it really never ends. And knowing that even embryos learn in the womb it's hard to say when it starts.

    I believe the purpose of education should always be creating good citizens: people who will be productive, good family members and neighbors, informed and engaged community members, civic-minded, etc., who will participate in making the immediate world a better place.

    But, alas, such a curriculum leading in those positive directions for good citizenship does not appear anywhere in what we're actually taught in schools.

    Instead, the present education system has produced a stream of work force, putting them in a rat race and sadly did not concern itself with the potentials that could be developed and contributed to the society.

    As the world is rapidly changing, so should the reasoning behind the present educational system be challenged and improved, if need. It should be able to shape individual thinking and be more innovative than the box allows them, to be.

    We each have different talents, abilities and interests. If Mozart be in a school today, teachers would have said, "Oh, so you got an A in music, but what bot EVS and English ?. You can't just play the piano all day!"

    pls watch dis video frm youtube

    Now, how to find out the innate qualities ? :-)

    1. Thanks a lot for the perspective...
      I completely agree with what you have written - if Mozart was born today!

  9. One more.

    I feel the real problem is corruption of people.
    Do we have quality teachers to teach ? The School Management esp in Aided sector, is said to charge teachers a *joining fee* running into lakhs. With such teachers, how can we expect dedication ? They work for awhile until they become corrupted. As of now, the government schools and teachers have little to lose even if they don't perform.
    Some people believe in good governance with very mild and selective capitalistic encouragement is the way to go. Its longer and harder but there is less chance of fatalities.
    One more question. Do the government schools offer better educaiton ? Do any parents who can afford, send their children to government schools ?

    1. I really think that a good student will study no matter how bad the school or teacher is.
      I studied in a Government school and I dont think that it was a hindrance in my growth. In fact, it presented a wider perspective to life!

      Thanks for the insight :)

    2. Bright students can do without the help. But what about others ? A good teacher can really mould children. As a teacher, you influence a number of children to develop their strengths n help ‘em work on weaknesses. Something like a positive role model. Reminds me about the school days of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalaam. Is it true that we spent more time in school than home ?
      I am also a gs product *born n brought up* by village schools. It was a sin, comparing our school to the likes of BEM or PMG.. Whoever compares was damned forever.
      Jokes apart, think about the present scenario.

    3. That was really insightful :)