Children having fun during a Hindustan Times initiative 'You Read They Learn' programe at Pratham centre at Trilokpuri in New Delhi. HT/Virendra Singh Gosain
Yesterday I got into a partnership. A partnership which goes beyond runs, averages and cricketing victories. This partnership is with Hindustan Times’ You Read They Learn initiative. Through this I will be trying my bit to raise awareness on importance of education amongst children.
I remember I was once asked on a talk show that was the biggest hurdle for our country. The answer to that was pretty easy for me – population. The galloping population means strain on our natural resources. If you simplify it further it means we need more food and water, more homes, more jobs and importantly more schools for our children. Unfortunately resources do not grow in the same proportion as population.
To control population I really believe we need an educated mother more than an educated father. For that to happen we must act now and that is what drew me to You Read They Learn. Today’s girl is tomorrow’s mother. She is the one who will ensure that our future generations are literate. She is the one who will give us a better, brighter and more educated India.
I think the challenge is not to take children to school but to ensure they stay there. To my understanding many enrollments are done in the initial enthusiasm but then fall by the way side losing to the battle of survival. For parents on meager earnings, their children are extra hands which can surplus the income. For them a child has more value working than studying in primary school. Can you fault that mindset? May be, may be not.
I think this is where teachers have a role as well. If they can encourage the parents and show them the virtues of education, a difference can be made. While we are on teachers I’d also like to mention that even they need better incentives. Sometimes I have got a feeling that teaching as a profession is used as a filler and not for its real virtue. Teaching as a profession is encouraged amongst women because of its secure nature and 7 AM to 3 PM work time. To my mind it’s a wrong approach.
A little secret: one of the kicks of being a cricketer is to sign autographs for the fans. It is such a great high, believe me. But one thing that can give a bigger high is when one day the whole of India can sign autographs rather than ask for one. All thanks to initiatives like HT’s You Read They Learn