MBA aspirants must be updated with General Awareness on current topics. General awareness topics with analytically drawn conclusions will benefit you in Essay writing / GD & PI. Today, you will read General Awareness Topic:
Can mid day meals solve the school education crisis in rural India?
The roots of the mid day meal program can be traced back to the pre-independence era, when the British administration decided to come up with ways to help disadvantaged children.
Today, this scheme seeks to address the following issues – food security, lack of nutritional food in rural areas, and access to education. It is hoped that by providing hot meals to children in lower primary and upper primary classes, more children will be encouraged to attend school regularly.
Today, in India, 4 percent of the children do not attend school, and 58 percent of the children have not completed primary school. In fact, only 10 percent of the children in India make it to college.
This is the education crisis that India is facing today. According to the government, the mid may meal program reaches out to more than 120 million children in over 1 million schools nationwide. However, has the number of children attending school increased over the past few years because of this scheme?
Reports show otherwise. In fact, according to a government report, in Bihar, the attendance of children dropped by 9 percent in the last five years and in Madhya Pradesh, the attendance of children dropped from 67 percent to 54.5 percent between 2008 and 2011.
And in other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, there is an increase in private school enrolment in rural areas over the past five years. This proves that the mid day meal program has not been effective in solving the school education crisis.
Despite providing healthy meals for children, there is a significant decline in the enrolment of students in schools in rural areas. On paper, the government has urged schools to provide meals with a minimum of 300 calories for those studying in lower primary classes and meals with a minimum of 700 calories for those studying in upper primary classes.
However, there is no government body to monitor these schools and ensure that nutritious meals are reaching the students. A survey conducted by the Department of Economic and Statistical Analysis shows that 72 percent of schools do not have kitchens and facilities to cook.
So, food would be cooked miles away and transported to the schools. By the time the food reaches these poor children, it would have turned cold. Also, 69 percent of the schools that were surveyed did not have proper eating utensils.
So, the mid day meal scheme is not a solution to the school education crisis in India. Steps have to be taken by the government to ensure that schools have the proper facilities for cooking.
In the last few weeks, there have been incidents of a dead lizard and insecticide being detected in mid day meals. This shows that the government has no mechanism in place to check the quality of food before it is consumed by children.
Government schools lack the proper infrastructure for teaching, which is why students prefer to study in private schools. Those who are unable to afford an education in private schools prefer to work because of the horrific conditions of government schools.
So, it is time for the government to take responsibility of the education system and provide proper facilities for the welfare of the children in India.