Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Sneha Madiath

Dream a Dream
11/17, 3rd Cross, 1st Block,
Jayanagar (Near Ashoka Pillar), Bangalore 560011.

The criticality of life skills in education

Despite education being a fundamental right in India, universal access remains elusive and the quality of provision erratic. Schooling provision favours those better off. Disadvantaged groups (including poor children, girls, children from Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) groups) have less access and access to poorer quality education. Large variations in access exist across different states, geographical areas, and social categories such as gender, caste and ethnicity. Access is gendered. The reality of girls’ exclusion is further complicated by caste, religion, ethnicity and age. While rural schools cater for the vast majority of students nationally (85% of total enrolments in primary schools in 2005). Yet rural schools tend ! to have poorer resources such as school infrastructure, teaching materials, fewer teachers per school and higher dropout rates.

It is also important to understand and question the way the term “education” is perceived in India. Unfortunately, education is limited to learning by rote. Education does not seek to develop skills in children which enables them to think critically, question and apply what they learn in the classroom, as well as connect the classroom experience with the reality of the world as experienced by them. This in turn adversely affects their decision-making ability and limits the means by which they garner relevant information. Add to this the fact that only 59% of male children and 49% of female children enrol for secondary education. This means that at an extremely crucial juncture in life, these children have neither education, nor the skills required to understand its importance and make decisions that are the best for them.

This paper argues that in addition to ensuring universal access to education, the integration of access to life skills is of critical importance. In its experience, Dream a Dream, believes that the mediums of sports and creative arts have the potential to transmit life skills and thereby bridge the current gap in the education system.