The recent horrifying incidents have greatly shaken the country. Once again, and worst of all, these had to do with children and with education sector, both of which are considered the base and driving factors to a globally competitive India. The murder of a teenager in one of the better known and so-called reputed schools in Gurugram (erstwhile Gurgaon) and rape of a teenager in a privately run school in east of Delhi points towards a bigger malaise with which the society is suffering with amidst changing lifestyle, and a quest to attain relevance in a utterly chaotic world around us.
Nothing can explain the motive behind the first incident. It’s sheer negligence on school administration’s part and a lack of proper training to all the staff working in school in any capacity on any rank. Schools today are money making machine that never stops and the quality of teaching they impart to students has always been in question. One of the reasons most public schools fail to attract good teachers is because the salary compensation is hardly attractive for the kind of work and responsibility that’s thrust upon them, and going further deep, it exactly points out to amount of respect and importance our society and our government place on teachers. The auxiliary staff in any school is hardly given the desired training as to how important they are to the school’s overall reputation and especially to the children’ overall growth, because they also get to interact with children during off-class activities, sports activities, cultural functions, and during traveling in school bus, and so on. Most of these schools with big name and money do not allow admission of children of their lower level employees and staff in the school, which should be automatically ensured as part of admission under economically weaker section quota.
The second incidence that of rape is something that we as a society have been continuously facing in NCR region of our country, whether it happens inside school premises or at home is another matter altogether, although security and discipline inside school’s premises is a big question, especially in schools that do not have financially sound ownership.
The bigger issue is that time and again these incidents point towards the fact that our government and civic administration really do not have any answer towards how to improve safety and security for youth in schools and outside of it, and that all the talks we make on big platform that Children are our country’s future and we must invest in them, sounds hollow and fake.
Other incidents, one of which took place in one of industrially and socially developed states and another two in one of the lesser developed states, pertain to healthcare sector, and the state of hospitals we have in our country’s tier-2 & 3 cities. Hundreds of infants dying due to lack of very basic treatment facilities and amenities such as ventilators or oxygen points towards very systemic money making and mafia-styled business mindedness. In one of the cases, the hospital is owned by government. Rise of service sector is good and that of hospitality sector is also a good trend but here again we find how the hospital management gets away with lack of compliance on the minimum basic facilities that they must possess to ensure peace of mind to patients and their relatives. It also points to lack of government’s audit of all hospitals, clinics, and treatment facilities operating in cities and villages on the parameters of hygiene, safety, and care.
If education and healthcare are two basic responsibilities of government, why has there been a lack of proper process-based framework to ensure the hospitals and schools both adhere to certain minimum basic requirements in terms of infrastructure, safety & security, and quality of resources they employ.
We may have a large population to cater to, but this cannot be an excuse to suggest that our civic machineries are over-stressed. Healthcare is an area where we need intervention from government on not just audit of their services and facilities, but also a financial audit as to why a hospital charges a certain amount for a certain line of treatment to a patient’s problem or disease. Lack of apathy and empathy both on part of government reflects in lack of successful implementation of various projects in services sector where public-private partnership could have been a major success story.