Class divisions in education:we are just silent! Equality is a great illusion!
In India we have been fed by our leaders from the Freedom struggle days that we will create a democracy and there will be equality of opportunities for all. Yes, our Constitution is a great document and it had proved its worth. We have been a stable democracy and the poor had improved their lot. Our society is secular where the largest number of Muslim population live in harmony.
What we like to point out is that in education, we have had a wide government-funded primary and secondary education system. This had spread education to the poor. All this is granted. What we want to highlight is that in any society there are certain strong traditional beliefs.
In spite of our Constitution and our democracy we find there is a tendency for the family dynasties to emerge. In the Congress there is a widespread approval for the Nehru-Gandhi family to rule. When Rahul Gandhi came for a tour of the South to visit the NGOs, we found he was widely called, of course in a hush-hush way as the “Crown Prince” or simply as CP! This is the Indian mentality. Now in UK where this class divisions in education and society were started and where it is still nurtured in a sort of cynical way, the class distinctions persist to this day.
But psychologically, we feel secure only when we see the rich and powerful set us the trend. We find secure in politics only when the family dynasty rules!
Recently, the Conservative Party of Britain, the oldest and most class-ridden party of privileges, elected as its new President one David Cameron, 39. He was preferred by his looks, young and also comes from a descendancy from the King Henry VII through his daughter and Cameron went to Eton and Oxford, the badge for any aspiring politicians in UK today. In India too we were told so many times how Nehru went to Harrow and Cambridge. So too Rajiv Gandhi went to Doon School and Trinity College, Cambridge though he proved a poor student. The point is in India, we being a feudal society we find there is now a mushrooming of so many English medium schools even in small, obscure towns. All in the name of exclusive privileges English medium education. In every city we have the private missionary schools of long history. The middle class madness knows no limits. In Delhi, the secondary education is a big business and also a big scandal. Many politicians control these chains. The Delhi Public School, it seems, had patented its brand that it had opened a branch in Bangalore. There are then another new trend: the spate of international schools!
We find them all aggressively commercial, they have no patience for any new ideas. They want the school full, the recruitments are done on a military control basis. In fact, the retired military personnel are recruited to run these outfits. Also, the military uniforms, the military style drills and bands add to the glamour.
We find these schools are strictly run on class basis. Where is the one lakh plus money for even an average middle class parent to send children to these high glamour schools. Even J.Krishnamurthy schools have fallen into this trend. The point is that we in India might talk on public platform about the equality of opportunities in school education, in university education.
The moral: let us become realistic. Expensive education is for the privileged only. G.M.Trevelyan, the famous historian writes in his “British Social History”: The Public Schools of England evolved out of the peculiar social history of the British history. What he doesn’t say is that Britain had been an independent country for over thousand years. It had in fact went on to build an empire. In this empire-building the Public School boys played the leading role. Most Vice- roys were consciously groomed at Oxford, in colleges like Balliol. This we in India must now know.
In the Indian case, we again have to know that the privileged classes, the old and new families of feudal and business classes, would benefit more than the new middle classes. The privileged would remain in India, unlike the middle class boys and girls would easily migrate to the US shores, as they are already doing. So, the case for patriotism is made by the privileged schools and privileged classes. This truth might be bitter to digest. But then that is how reality is!
Public Schools and expensive new style fancy schools take care also of our social illusions! Our society is unequal, inequity is built-in in so many forms and ways. We are as hyprocrtic a society as any society can be!
So, class divisions in education is not exclusive a national character in UK. India too, we secretly send our children to what we consider to be the most privileged schools and also promote our children in politics, not so secretly but in shameless open manner too!