Awanish Sharan’s story that people should know


One of the most underrated positive aspects of the advent of privatisation and commercialisation in the Indian education system is that it has brought rampant efficiency and cut-throat competitiveness in the Indian schooling system. At that the mushrooming of international and private schools perennially has turned out to be a healthy diet for our education system. The official statistics, however shows a different reality off the record. It says 29% of kids are sent to private schools while the remaining ones are directed towards government or, for state-funded education. Thus the reality of Indian education system lies in the efficiency and results of government schools of the country. Children, especially the ones belonging natively to the rural India, go to schools expecting quality education, to become better citizens, educated citizens. But the scenario alters. The system falters. The statistics reveal that the majority of them drop out of government schools, either due to family or personal reasons or they are subjected to daily wage at a tender age. Insights adjoining these statistics tell us that the solution to the problem pertaining to admissions lies in the misery involving around government schools. The strengthening of admission process of government schools might do the trick.
In order to understand the scenario in a different way, consider this: Among 100 people who’ve preferred private schooling, more than 92 have three reasons for their choice. First, it is due to better learning environ-ment. Secondly, English being the elite-medium of instruction and thirdly, the quality of education being unsatis-factorily degra-ding in government schools. The same figure is above 70% in both rural and urban areas. In the rural part specifically, the percen-tage for higher secondary level is 64%. However for graduate level and above including diploma-the statistics take a turn: Majority students tend to go for private educational providers because of lack of interest and the reason also being inadequate government institutions in the vicinity or closer to their homes.
But all that’s a different tale to tell. This story is about a man- Awanish Kumar Sharan, District Magistrate of Balrampur-Ramanujganj in Chhattisgarh. He has set an example, a golden example indeed for the nation by admitting his daughter in a government school. She has been enrolled in the first standard of the Pragya Primary School. That’s not all. Earlier, she has studied in a government anganbadi centre. In one of the interviews, a media person enquired Awanish about it. He said, politely and plainly, that it’s his duty. Awanish Sharan was born in a small village Kevta of District Samastipur, Bihar. He himself completed his schooling from a government school from Bihar. He has also shared a few pictures in his twitter handle, captioned: “Believe in Government Institutions”. In times like these, when the education system is shaky, this one step is commendable and shall definitely motivate a number of bureaucrats and parents to send their kids to a government school. This step has also given a boost to the social institutional equation. This example will open new dimensions and bring opportunities to children belonging natively to the rural section. If it’s true that revolution starts from the grass root-and this step will prove it. In addition, inspired by Awanish Sharan, Parliamentary Secretary of Chhattisgarh and Member of Legislative Assembly from Patthalgaon Shivshankar Paikra went ahead and enrolled his son in a government school.

There is another story, slightly similar-a government official from Mahasamund district pulled out the admission of his son from a reputed private institute only to enroll him in a government school. The precedence of The Allahabad High Court had once directed the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to work out the modalities to ensure that civil servants send their children to primary schools run by the state education board. The judgment includes members from the judiciary, government officials, semi-government employees, employees of local bodies and representatives of local people. The judgment said that this step shall ensure awareness and concerns of the ground root education system. Otherwise, the court said, they would not care much due to easy access of private education. It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step-with this act of courage and revolution, the single step has already been taken.
There’s still a lot to be done. While we are talking of Make in India, community development, local area management and grass-root revolution, we might as well think about this thing-hoping that bureaucrats, government officials start sending their kids to government schools. Anil Swaroop, Secretary, Department of Education while discussing his plans to bring reforms in the status quo of the Indian education system, had once said: “An idea is worth its salt if it is politically acceptable, socially desirable, technologically feasible, financially viable and administratively doable. If there’s something plainly quipped with all of it-We think the judgment of Allahabad HC pertaining to admissions in government schools is it.


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