Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies

Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies

Inequality in education biggest problem facing India: Dr. Balaji Sampath of AID tells KIAMS’ Chanakya

Posted on: May 4, 2012

Inequality in education is the biggest problem facing Indian society today, says Dr. Balaji Sampath of the Association for India’s Development (AID).

AID is a volunteer movement promoting sustainable, equitable and just development, which supports grassroots organizations in India and initiates efforts in various interconnected spheres such as agriculture, energy, education, health, livelihoods, natural resources including land and water, women’s empowerment and social justice.

Dr. Sampath, while a graduate student at the University of Maryland, spearheaded efforts to establish AID chapters in the United States and after receiving his PhD, returned to India to work with AID in Chennai.

In an interview with Siddhartha S. Modukuri, PGDM I, KIAMS (Harihar) for The Chanakya, he says while children from wealthy families have access to higher education those “from poor families at government schools cannot generally add or subtract even after five years of schooling.”

Twenty years back, being illiterate was different “because they did not have access or awareness of education,” he said. “Now this generation of kids had access to schools, but still cannot add or subtract.”

But now the world is very different, said Dr. Sampath, noting the need for education and pointing out: “Now there is this cutthroat competition wherever you go.”

Dr. Sampath told KIAMS’ Chanakya there is such a huge gap in education it is going to create another generation of inequality.

This in turn will lead to a number of other issues, he said, such as Naxalism,

the term used for various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India – groups that have been declared as terrorist organizations.

“They strongly feel that they were denied the opportunities,” he said. “This is going to create a big threat to the country in the future.”

Dr. Sampath said “I think at this point the government should take action in a very big way,” adding “It can be solved easily if there is some political will for it.”

But, he said, “Overall the government reacts in a very defensive mode” when approached. “I feel that the seriousness that should be there is missing.”

If he could give the youth of today a message, Dr. Sampath said it would be to do something, however small, to improve society.

“Society will change when millions of people make small changes in their lives – basically make a small effort to make society better. Make sure that opportunities are given to poor people equally. That is going to make a very large-scale and long-term impact.”

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