The importance of the Delhi government’s mentoring programme
Last week, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched an ambitious programme, Desh Ke Mentors, for students of the Capital’s government-run schools. Under the programme, 0.9 million students of classes 9 to 12 ---- the crucial years when students decide on their future career paths --- will be connected with mentors from various professional and academic backgrounds to help them in their overall growth and personality development by sharing knowledge, skills and expertise. The mentors will engage with their mentees over the phone for 10-15 minutes every day, and interested citizens from across the country can join the effort by registering on the Desh ke Mentors app. During the launch of the programme, Mr Kejriwal said that other than helping the students with their educational needs, the programme could motivate people to start seeing beyond the fault lines of caste, creed, and religion.
Mentoring is crucial, but not everyone is lucky enough to have a support system to guide them. Students from privileged backgrounds enjoy a set of mentors: Educated parents and their extended network, good schools and their ecosystem, coaching, and access to career information. These advantages are carried over to their professional lives. But children from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom go to state-run schools, don’t enjoy these advantages. Therefore, they often fail to transition from their parents’ livelihoods. For underprivileged girls, who often face gender discrimination at every stage of their lives, the lack of a mentor can further limit educational and career prospects, and eventually push them to drop out of the workforce. A structured mentoring process, which the Delhi government promises to put in place, can address students’ needs and provide them with a robust knowledge ecosystem that they lack.
One of the major focus areas of the Delhi government has been education, and the results at the board level have been encouraging. The new mentoring programme, which other states can think of replicating, is a good and much required add-on to the ongoing changes in the education sector in the Capital.