SCHOLARSHIP- THE ERUDITE TOKENISM…..
KRDS is organizing a scholarship distribution program on the 6th of August 2016.
Do these awards serve the purpose for which it was intended to. This note is an effort to put things in perspective.
WHAT DOES SCHOLARSHIP MEAN
Scholarship is a financial aid to further the education of the recipient and reflects the values and purposes of the donor. Our founding fathers must have envisioned scholarship to meet the expenses of education. They may have also thought of it as a means to recognize and appreciate hard work and to encourage the students.
DO SCHOLARSHIPS SERVE THE PURPOSE
The inflation that has come about as an offshoot of the market forces at work have so lowered the real value of the rupee that the amount doled out would hardly meet the financial need of the student. Scholarships are usually given to students after their SSLC, 2nd PUC or graduate results are declared. The student is left to fend for himself for his subsequent years of education. Moreover, the economically privileged have better access to educational resources and merit based awards favor the privileged. In over 7 decades of scholarship distribution, we have not realized the need to keep a data base of recipients, track and document their progress and determine the total amount spent on scholarships in all these years. We are not in a position to collate and analyze the benefit accrued to the community. Scholarships have thus remained a tokenism, much like the aerial survey of flood affected areas by politicians.
SHOULD SCHOLARSHIPS BE EXTIRPATED BY THE SANGHAS
They serve the limited purpose of recognizing and encouraging merit and therefore a memento should suffice. The amount so saved could be put to better use by understanding what it takes to be a successful person in life and providing the means for our students to become one. Sangha can spot talent and facilitate a loan, payable in say after 10 years, to a deserving student at zero or minimal rate of interest through our credit societies and donors may stand guarantee for such loans, the amount of which should at least cover his tuition fees and which can be paid directly to the educational institution. The loan amount can be waived contingent upon the student excelling in his area of study or if he undertakes to volunteer 50 hours for mentoring middle school students. We can initially limit it to say 10 students and keep increasing the numbers depending on the available resources.
TELL TALE SIGNS OF THE ABSENCE OF REAL PROGRESS IN OUR COMMUNITY
It is an acknowledged fact that the last two generations of our community have educated themselves through different degrees of hardship and have been able to make a decent living, primarily due to the liberalization of the economy initiated in 1991. But the average adult cannot yet communicate well in English or speak spontaneously at an event. We may have produced many engineers, post graduates, graduates and a few doctors, mostly serving others. Where are the entrepreneurs, the people engaged in offbeat professions like pure sciences, mathematics, aeronautics, nuclear physics and technology, art and culture, to name but a few. It indicates a conservative approach to life with no visible signs of calculated risk taking. The thought process of our community needs a makeover. Our mindset needs a complete overhaul.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
We must come up with better ideas to make our students future compliant and use our resources imaginatively. We must work to reduce the influence of socio economic background on student outcomes. A holistic approach to education is needed, acknowledging that the children of today are entering a world that is more competitive, globally connected and technology engaged than in any other period of time. The skills and knowledge required now are vastly different and completely obliterate the theory of education we have entertained over the years. Ask any HR Manager and he will invariably tell you that they look beyond education for the right fit. We must design programs that enable our students to be capable and confident adults and fully engaged citizens ready to contribute to the nation. We boast of having an ex VC, serving director of a well established group of educational institutions and scores of academicians who may shoulder the responsibility of setting up counseling / training centers and possibly develop online modules to guide the students develop useful traits and equip themselves to be future ready. Financial resources must be channelized towards giving students a world view and grooming the right personality for the student. I am a firm believer that children should be taught young before they develop biases. It will be a good idea to start play based learning in full day kindergarten. Foundational skills for academic achievement include reading, writing and mathematics which must be inculcated at a very young age. They must be encouraged to develop characteristics like perseverance, resilience and imaginative thinking combine d with a deep sense of empathy and compassion for others. Negativity should be discouraged at all costs.
We can develop programs for:
1. Proper parenting and guiding children to feel free to dream about their futures so that they do not surrender to the dictates of their parents who would like to impose their choice of career.
2. To guide them how to connect their passions with possible career options.
3. Help them be motivated, critical thinkers, community builders and leaders of tomorrow.
4. Infuse in them a collaborative spirit and entrepreneurship.
5. Explain the importance of better communication skills, encourage innovation, creativity, calculated risk taking and skilled problem solving.
The quality of learning is proportional to the quality of the teaching force. As a community, we must strive to develop a teaching force from amongst our people .Since 2000, the World Bank has committed over $ 2 billion to education in India. In Bihar, for example, the Bank is providing $ 250 million to develop a comprehensive and effective teacher development and management system. I am sure Karnataka must also be a beneficiary of funds for education from the World Bank and if we can tap into the resources of the Government and set up such a system, we would have, in a very defining way, contributed in the development of our country.
Lastly, much like the voluntary surrender of subsidized LPG facility by the creamy layer, the students from economically privileged families, who receive the scholarship may be encouraged to donate the amount to a corpus created for the furtherance of education in our community. Just a thought!.
About the Author:
Mr.Navinchandra Ullal; Proprietor of Premier Travels; Mumbai; Member of Devadiga Sangha Mumbai; LLC
He is intellectual, Thinker & creative writer.