The difference between literacy and education need to be diminished: Harish Chandra Meena
In an exclusive interview with Delhi Post, Harish Chandra Meena, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Dausa Constituency, Rajasthan who has formerly served as the DGP of Rajasthan talks at length about the importance of education in the development of a country. He speaks about the ways in which he has emphasized on education in his constituency as well as the challenges that need to be overcome to make education all inclusive. The interview is part of #KnowMyConstituency series where Parliamentarians from across the country will shed light on their achievements and talk about their hopes for a better tomorrow.
Delhi Post: As an MP, what is the biggest challenge that needs to be overcome in Dausa?
Meena: What I have witnessed in Dausa district, is that the biggest problem, in addition to acute shortage of drinking water, is lack of education. The percentage of educated population is very low and even the ones who have the qualification do not get any job or means of employment. I am trying to bring in a change so that every child attains the quality of education which can help him build a brighter future and help his parents in old age. Most of the MPLADS fund allotted to me goes to government schools in my district so that more amenities can be provided in these schools, even the ones that the government doesn’t provide. Additionally, I also encourage students and their parents. I often go to the parent teacher meetings because I believe that a society which is not educated, only goes backward in time. I also motivate teachers regarding their responsibility. Which is not only ensuring that the children study but also that they get the best quality education so that they can get admissions in best colleges and universities in the country. I feel that budget constraints in annual budget for education need to be addressed. At present, the education budget available is much lesser than what is required. The need of the hour is to build schools in every village with basic amenities and qualified teachers.
Delhi Post: What are the measures adopted to improvise education in Dausa?
Meena: Even though on the scales, literacy rate in my district has increased, I believe it is only on the scales and students are not actually educated. They may be literate but they are not educated. I want to diminish this difference between literacy and education and focus on the aim that all our children attain quality education so that they can distinguish between right and wrong and can work in a manner that makes the student and our country more able. I am happy that the youth is supporting me in this.
Delhi Post: The literacy rate in Dausa, though better than other districts in Rajasthan, is still not great. Furthermore, there is a sharp difference between male and female literacy rate. What are the steps taken by you to address the gender gap in literacy?
Meena: The literacy rate in Dausa is 83 percent for males and 51 percent for females. This difference of 31 percent is very unfortunate and is a real hurdle for a progressive society. To evade this gap, I have made some efforts. I have adopted four girls school from the district and have been trying to get at least 1crore fund for each school from Central government. State government, NGOs and MPLADS fund allotted to me, in order to give the best education to the girls. This involves teachers’ training, extra-curricular activities, parents’ training, separate washrooms for female needs and regular medical checkups.
Delhi Post: You recently established the first Kendriya Vidyalaya in Dausa. Please tell us more about that project.
Meena: Dausa was the sole district where there was no Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV).Though there have been a number of MPs from Rajasthan, no one thought about building a KV there. So I am proud to say that under my supervision, the first ever KV of Dausa is operative and functioning and the second KV shall be started soon.
Delhi Post: In your opinion, how can the quality of education be refined in India, especially in Dausa?
Meena: Education has four important pillars. Schools, Children, Teachers, and Home Environment. At many places in Rajasthan, there are schools but not enough classrooms and at other places, there are not enough students. And of sanctioned strength of teachers which stands at 20, only 4-5 of them show up and teach all the subjects for all the classes. Education cannot be imparted like that. I visit the schools often and ensure that the schools are well maintained in terms of infrastructure and hygiene. Home environment cannot be ignored either. Since students only spend 6-7 hours in school and rest of their time is spent at home, it is essential that the environment in their homes is good and productive. Thus, all these factors collectively need to be worked upon.