The Poor need a ‘Joan of the Arc’ for Education

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The Poor need a ‘Joan of the Arc’ for Education – On Why the Voice of the Poor needs to be heard in Education

The Poor need a ‘Joan of the Arc’ for Education

Joan of Arc was a heroine in France, during 1400’s who raised her voice against the English. In Punishment, she was executed by fire as a heretic after sentencing by a group of pro-english clergy. Joan was later canonized as a Saint by the Catholic Church on May 16 1920 almost 500 years after she died. Joan is looked upon as a visionary, martyr, saint and heroine in the english world. She was the voice of the bourgeois and the poor.

In India, too in the present context, the education system is going through a metamorphosis. From a era where education was cheap, we have come to an age where education has become akin to luxury. Education has become a privilege that few can choose.

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However, education is something everyone must have and this is how the situation warrants. A society without education can never develop. Certainly, the poor need a voice just like a Joan of the Arc, who may not be cannonised by the church or any religious intitution, but certainly the poor need their voices to be heard in the corridors of schools and colleges.

In India and even in the US, cost of education is no laughing matter. In India again, education is much cheaper than the US. In the US too, the middle class is struggling with students loans to pay for several years of their life owing to high cost of education in US that is getting costlier by the day.

In India, there are many voices for everything. Howwever, the voice for education is still not heard or has not reached the corridors of power. The secret of a developed nation always lies in its educated populace. However, the education system is more or less beaten to death because of its unsustainable cost of infrastructure that has more or less strained the education system in India. This also includes the cost of real estate, rents, Tuition fees, library, computer infrastructure and more. Digitization may have opened many doors, but it has made education very costly. In the olden days, the curriculum was limited to school textbooks prescribed by the education board or by the state board and schools. Today, however the education system has been coerced with digitization that has fractured it with high costs.

There are several advantages too, to the digital system of education that many have applauded like ease of access that the rich can brag about. But certainly, it has not benefitted very poor people who continue to be defeated by inflation and other factors that continue to impact education.

There is no option either, in a progressive world where everything has gone digital. However, this has impacted education. It is right to argue that this will reduce the weight of school bags that students carry but certainly not the weight that it has on their wallets or pockets.

In a country like India, that is developing one can only imagine the strain that education leaves on the poor. Certainly, the Poor need a ‘Joan of the Arc’ for Education in India.

Lets take the example of Construction laborers who work in construction sites earning daily wages and eating two square meals a day. There is hardly any hope for education for such people. The government has created infrastructure like providing mid-day meals in schools. However, the reality is very different as there is hardly such a Joan of the arc for the poor in our era.

There are a lot of flaws in the current education system that is made according to a particular framework. It is very traditional in its outlook towards life. Economic and social inequalities of Indian society have impacted education system, more than anywhere else. The poor certainly, need a joan of the arc when it comes to education.

In India, Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian children’s rights and education advocate and an activist against child labour. Kailash Satyarthi won the nobel peace prize and was relatively unknown to most Indians till then. He founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 1980 and has acted to protect the rights of more than 83,000 children from 144 countries.

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Kailash Satyarthi can be called the Joan of the Arc for Indian Children who saved the Indian children from atrocities, but not for education. However, it will take time before another activist emerges as the voice of the poor for education.

Education is a great uplifter for the poor as much as it is for the rich. The benefits of good education can help build both civilization and society.

Stay tuned for more updates on Poor need a ‘Joan of the Arc’ for Education! 

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