Literacy in India:
We all know how important literacy has been in shaping our personal lives and it being one of the biggest challenges in our country. Although the literacy rate is constantly improving – thanks to the measures taken by the government and the NGO’s in this sector. However, it is important to note that literacy still ranks at 62.8%(Indexmundi.com, 2015) for a nation with the second highest world population which is headed towards being one of the strongest growing economies. We have all been very proud of our GDP and growth statistics but finally it all boils down to the level of inclusion of people in this GDP. There is no point in making the rich – richer and the poor – poorer if the GDP increases say by even a hundred fold.
High Rate of Drop Outs
It would be rather naive to assume that education alone would solve all the problems of the country, but it would be safe to state that it would be a very good start in this direction. The problems with education are widespread starting from awareness to quality and its continuance. The mid day meals scheme played a very important role in getting the children in rural areas to school, but the lack of infrastructure still plays a significant part in retaining these students. The school drop out rates in India, especially amongst adolescent girls is at an alarming high of 63.5%(CRY, 2015). The prime reason being the unavailability of basic infrastructure, lack of toilets, access to drinking water and sometimes not being able to follow what is going on in the class. But the first reason turns out to be the strongest across the country.
The Cleanliness Campaigns
Although Swach Bharat Mission, Nirmal Bharat Yojna have a mission of making the country cleaner and the Total sanitation campaign is about awareness about cleanliness and toilets in the country, the outcome still needs a lot to be done. In this wake, the Support My School project by coke gains importance. A part of the social responsibility initiative by Coca-Cola in this segment is the public private partnership to provide the necessary water and sanitation facilities along with the basic infrastructure required by a school. Coca-Cola is taking up the Mission 1000 to revitalise 1000 schools in the country through the process (Coca-Cola SMS – Support My School). This campaign in partnership between Coca-Cola, NDTV and the NGO partners is to spread awareness on the importance of education.
Aside from considering infrastructure in the mode of buildings, electricity, etc the focus has been on access to water and sanitation. Depending on the requirement of the schools, the following five components have been revitalized
- Access to sanitation
- Access to water
- playing facilities
- Environmental upkeep & Rainwater harvesting (based on need)
- Partner led intervention
IMPACT TILL DATE
- Over 600 schools already revitalized and work in another 200 schools underway.
- Approximately 200,000 children receive access to better sanitation, water, playing and other facilities
- In several schools enrolment figures show upward trend and also children’s attendance data.
- Panchayat, District Education Officers, Local elected officials, Teachers, Parents and Community members engaged across country.
This eventually will create an inclusive effect in developing awareness about cleanliness and the importance of hygiene among these students. The previous project by Coke was built on the same lines to build toilets in rural areas of the country. These projects have no doubt increased the social presence and responsibility taken up by these private companies to play a responsible role in the shaping of the society and the country as such as a whole.
Cleanliness, education, infrastructure are still a long way away and these projects might not solve the problem of the entire country, but they can sure go a long way to set the ball rolling and it is always these small steps and small gestures which go on to make the biggest differences.