Education- a right not privilege

By Riddhi Mansukhani. Riddhi, 15, is a student at Appejay School in Delhi, India. Please read her essay and leave your comments below.

“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable development.”

An inspirational, impactful and motivational quote by Kofi Annan is very clear and direct in its motive. A person who is not just literate but has gained valued education would focus on the welfare of the society and would consider the non material goods that are privacy, justice, equality, fraternity etc. Education is definitely not a privilege but a right. Although right and privilege are synonymous that is words with a little difference in their meanings but the usage of these words in sentences; education is a right but not a privilege and education is a privilege but not a right; totally changed the meaning of these sentences.

Your parents might tell you that you are privileged to get so many comforts in life as well as education in a good school. If education is a right but not a privilege, why are they saying ‘privileged’? The answer is simple. It is because you are getting quality education and you are not among those people who do not go to the school even after ‘education law’ has been made. It’s just that their parents find sending their children to school ‘a waste of time’ or ‘not required’.

You might be wondering that why we put so much emphasis on education. Being educated has lot of advantages and benefits. Education creates a wider perspective and enhances the creativity in an individual. It helps a person gain confidence to face the competitive world. But a value based education would not only benefit the person but the whole country. Martin Luther King Jr., an American activist once said, “Intelligence plus character: that is the goal for true education”. So if the education system is fruitful and not only benefiting the people who are literate but also the analphabetic, then it can be used as a force to drive away all the difficulties and miseries faced in the world.

There is no age criterion to become literate. Even an old person who has passion to learn something can be taught. In the story, ‘How I taught my grandmother to read’, Krishna Murthy described that her aged grandmother who depended upon her to get to know the story that came in the weekly magazine, learnt to read in a few months time by her granddaughter as her teacher. This was because of her grandmother’s zeal and determination to be independent and be able to read by herself. This is a perfect example which shows that learning has no age bar. Every person has the ability to learn and education has the potency to utilize the person’s potential in a right way.

Education should not be a privilege based on birth or a prerogative of the rich. Instead the government which is responsible for making rules and regulations for us should make the law right to education for all and strictly implement it.

In my country India, our constitution guarantees right to education for children in the age group six to fourteen as one of the fundamental rights. But it has also faced many challenges like lack of proper infrastructure (schools, colleges etc.) or the specific age criteria.

Moreover the problem of child labour and human exploitation is a tremendous issue in today’s world. Do you know that there are around 168 million children in age group 5-17 who are trapped in child labour? Thus, there is a need for enforcement of stringent laws to ban child labour and human exploitation.

The power of education extends beyond the development of skills which creates a mind equipped to think. Education is providing a tool to enhance economic growth and equal opportunities to people which is leading to the betterment of society while investments in education, scientific and technological research leads to happiness creating more jobs and wealth for masses.

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