Politically correct pronouncements and the ground-level realities
There was this empty debate on the recent Delhi high court judgement on the wrong policy of one Delhi-based IAS officers'(or IAS Officers wives-run) Sanskriti school for reserving 60 per cent of the admission to IAS officers ‘children.
Delhi is the middle class haven for all sorts of illusions by the rich and the poor; in between the middle class thrive under so many pressures. First, Delhi has no upper class unless you take in the newly rich, not so well-educated industrialists and businessmen, not to speak of a whole lot of indescribable adventurers, from politics to underground operators.
Even a politician’s personal assistant can be a crorepathi in Delhi, most of them are! If you see the politicians, old and new ones, the older are still considerable as the Congressmen. Along time, ruling ones have accumulated so many shady characters and most of them are corrupt and outside the law. Most of them are describing themselves as professionals, lawyers, consultants and all businessmen need some consultants or other for lobbying their cases.
The point is that the Indian middle class today is very large and also some sections are very powerful. Delhi has some of the most clever and wealthy lawyers who dominate the moneyed class. So, when we talk of the ambitious middle class in India, it is the one in Delhi which sets the tone and a sort of moral disregard for all truth and scruples. And of course, it is the bureaucracy that plays the middle man and you can lose your head if you try to believe in what an ordinary politician or a bureaucrat tells you in Delhi.
There is so much of ruthlessness and power struggle in Delhi society that schooling in Delhi, why even colleges in Delhi are utterly meaningless. What you ultimately gain after you end up in getting admissions to the Delhi elite schools? It’s nothing but simple illusion of a success. How many who entered IAS or other top services, now care to remember for their contributions?
One Satya Nadella or one Sundar Pitchai has now emerged as the icon of the new generation of the Indian youth.
The point here is that various new skills are now required to succeed in life, not the exams, the entrance exams, the IITs and of course the cut-off marks at 100%! Education in India is undergoing a near revolution, there is an aspirational revolution, and every child has the right to join any institution it likes and thanks to acts like RTE and others. You can’t deny admission simply on some bogus criteria, merit is a middle class mania and where is merit in a traditionally hierarchical Indian society?
There are now many new layers of middle classes. First, the old and the new middle classes. The old is into three or even four generations of education and thus there is some cultural sophistication and sensibility. So, these old middle classes preferences for further education and career or family aspirations are different. The second layers, the second generation, if we can so put it, the OBC-benefitted generation are into many services from IAS to IPS and other Central and state government services.
Now coming to the first generation schoolers and graduates, it is the new one, the first time entrants that have now changed the schooling into coaching, tuition and other intensive commercialization of education. So, there are many new challenges for the schools to cater to and also for the new commercially driven schools to pursue various course to browbeat the many new laws that try to impose many restrictions so that the new schools serve the larger national and socio-cultural, justice-driven egalitarian society. There are equally other objectives like secularism, gender parity, why even the RTE like objectives.
Every child outside the schooling is a problem and we have to all ensure that the justice-driven goals are enforced, from midday meals to cycles, child safety norms etc.
To summarize, schooling is no more simply running schools. It is also participating in the creation of a new vision for all concerned parents, children and school managers.