Educating Underprivileged

Empower people for self-employment
Education is fruitless if doesn’t lead to empowerment for better emloyment. In the new world with open economic system most of the people in the country are likely to get jobs through primary and secondary sector employment. Some jobs in services may be available through tertiary sectors supporting primary and secondary sector. Hence, basically people have to be prepared for self-employment.

In the last few decades government have tried to improve the employment scenario by introducing many self-employment schemes for poor and downtrodden sections of society. But this has not achieved required success as the education system is still dominated by the middle class aspiration of procuring a good and decent job. Hence, middle class people are prepared to acquire skills pertaining to competitive examinations for selection in government employment. They are neither trained to acquire skills for self employment nor are they motivated to get self- employed in future. In the emerging employment scenario in which more and more employment would be available in the form of self employment only, education has to prepare people for self-employment and not only for employment. Then, only people would be able to receive maximum benefit from these self-employment schemes.

In this context it would also be important to learn that in the present eduction system, learning is heavily dominated by urban considerations. As a result, the rural children also get attracted towards the urban areas in search of employment. The educated rural people don’t find it to be rewarding to stay in villages for employment. This is not so much because of the low earning potential in villages as the nature of work. Even if they may get better monetary returns in agriculture of cash crops, floriculture or medicinal crops, they would prefer to go to town to get even a small job. There are a large section of society, who may be owners of large chunk of land, but they prefer to seek employment of 4th grade employees. This is not because of poor earning from land, but more because of the prestige attached with the government employment. If this value system has to change, education system must be drastically reoriented.

In the new millennium when we have embarked upon the massive programme for education for all we have to address the question of relevance of education with due seriousness. So far we have thought that uniformity in access to education would basically ensure uniform achievement and thus would lead towards equitable society. But experiences have belied this premise. The education has led to widening in the gap between rich and poor. Now that we are going to have more open economic systems this gap may be further widened leading to serious distortions in society, if the education is not properly reorient to empower people to avail of the new opportunity for improving their condition.

Develop Creative Skills
One of the major concerns in the context of self employment is to ensure development of creative skills of people. In the modern world creativity would be major factor in the distribution of wealth. We have seen that if a Halwai is creative, his sweets are sold even at high prices like hot cakes. Hence, now it is no longer sufficient to produce goods, one should be able to produce goods with a difference To succeed in the self-employment sector we must ensure that our people develop competency pertaining to CREATIVITY, QUALITY PRODUCTION and MANAGERIAL SKILLS. It has been established that creativity can be best developed in conditions where a person has full knowledge of facts. This can be easily done if we develop these skills with local vocations and gradually include other vocations.

In the Mithila region ladies used to paint on walls and floor. When they were asked to paint the same picture on paper, gradually they started producing one of the finest painting, which has established its own name in the world. With the blossoming of their creative skills even illiterate women could produce world class products. It would be interesting to note that the paintings have found place in the most of the important art museums of the world. In Japan there is a gallery dedicated to the paintings of Ganga Devi, an illiterate and deserted women painter of Mithila. These painters have also got maximum national awards. This has also given employment to large number of people. What many art college graduates couldn’t do has been done by the illiterate painters. This gives us a clue that if local art, craft, songs, music, plays, tales, etc. are properly developed and made part of our learning system, we can produce world class performers. Socalled underprivileged having long traditions in these arts and crafts can easily modernise them to use as a special self-employment opportunity.

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