Is Education a Right or a Privilege?

By Trishika Subramanian, 17, who lives in Kolkata, India. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Emerging from a quick shower, my hands subconsciously reached out for the immaculately laid out, well ironed school uniform that my mother had kept on the bed for she always knew I was late. Once again. A routine practiced by me every morning for the past 11 years yet no sign of remembrance by my body.

School. I thought. Once again.Ugh.When will Friday come?

A quick glance at my calendar quickly brought down by already gloomy mood by a notch.

Still three days away.Ugh.

As I heard my mother asking me to hustle, I quickly submerged myself to the task at hand. School. I’ll be late, I thought. As I buttoned my shirt, I thought I could probably do this getting ready for school routine blindfolded but never on time though! Ha!

The kind of society I hail from, it was not a matter of why but a matter of when a child would go to school. So was the case for my brother. As soon as he could stand up and speak afew words and the rest gibberish, he was enrolled in one of the finest schools in town. And so is the case for the majority of us.

You start to think school which is the powerhouse of attaining education a right which should be bestowed on each and every one of us. Like you energize yourself at the start of the day with a fulfilling breakfast, you energize yourself with knowledge by going to school daily.

Yet all of us dread going to school and if you are me then you are late every single day. My parents would go bonkers if I even miss a single day of school. It was as if I had to do it. Every single person of my age went to school. Whether they loved it or not, they did anyway.

So it is a right of ours to go to school? Educate ourselves? For instance I wouldn’t have ever known that an earthworm had no bones if I hadn’t ever been to school or for that matter, eaten it.

I pondered. Wrong. Not a right but a privilege.

As I fixed my tie in front of the mirror, I saw the young housekeeper enter the room from the corner of my eyes. She had come to clean the room and was perfectly on time. A routine she maintained. I wondered how drastically different our days were for we were almost the same age.

How could I even forget my breakfast was so different from hers? While I helped myself to a bowl of cereal and a fruit, she ate anything available to her and many a time nothing at all. For her it was not a matter of when but a matter of why should I go to school to educate myself when I could work and supplement my family’s income.

The fruit of knowledge quenches my hunger but a simple apple would do wonders to her. How could it ever be a right when so many children are deprived of it still now?

The same monotonous activity I engaged in everyday 5 times a week didn’t seem futile anymore. It was worth all the effort. You wouldn’t ever understand the worth of something until and unless you lose it. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

The day when my education halts would be a day I stop growing as a person. In the 21st century, educating yourself shouldn’t be co related with or considered equivalent to being a literate. Being able to read and write should be a right but education is much more than that. Education means to furnish yourself with knowledge that would facilitate progressive thoughts within yourself and empower you to make a change in society.

If every day I went to school with the mindset that it was my right, I wouldn’t ever feel special enough to embark on a journey of change. The fact that I am privileged enough to go to school makes me feel special as a human being knowing there are many people deprived of it and that I have a purpose- a duty entrusted in my small hands to make the world a better place.

As I entered my car to go to school, I was not just one of the million students going to school but a student with a purpose. Once this realization dawned in me, school didn’t seem a burden on my shoulders but a form of gratitude I eternally owed my parents for.

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