The biodata of Dr.Shanta Sinha is long and very very impressive. Professor in the Department of Political Science in Hydrebad University and an ardent anti-child labour activist, she had been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award, the Padma Shri and the Albert Shanker International Award for Education among others. Yet she is soft spoken and very approachable.
‘The poorest of the poor do want to send their children to school. They want it, long for it’ was the message of her talk. ‘They realise that education is what bridges the gap between the haves and the have- nots’.
Ms.Sinha had several examples to illustrate her point.
In Puthu theru, near Nagapattinam, she came across a village where the head of the households were children! The parents had gone away to distant places to work and earn some money. They had left the children behind to go to school. The children ran their own households, cooked, cleaned, shopped as best as they could and walked to a school in the next village. Even their teachers were unaware of the effort and sacrifice for those children to attend school.
Sometimes, just the absence of the right notebook can keep a child out of school.
In many poor households, the parents do not know how to send their children to school regularly. The rituals of sending the children to school is not in their culture and the problems of handling literacy are not easily coped with.
This is something we can see at Siragugal . The parents do not realise the value of free classes or interaction with people or problem solving or fostering creativity. All they want is the child safe and sound at home, early.
In a caring society, we should strive for equality, dignity, We should all be on the same page. Respect the child when you engage in talk .