Lobbies to Elevate Education for the Underprivileged in Rural India
NEW YORK and MADHUPUR, India, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With a student-teacher ratio of 112:1, the state-run Madhupur Government School in Jharkhand, India underscores the problems of public education in the country's community schools, reports Video Volunteers Community Correspondent, Mukesh Rajak.
In this municipal primary school of 112 students, Suresh Mehra serves as the sole teacher, providing daily instruction in math, English and science to children aged five to ten. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Mehra also serves lunch and attends to the administrative work of the school. This has led to a steep plummeting in the quality of education received by children in the community.
The students of the Madhupur Government School are all Dalits, the caste group in India formerly known as "untouchables." Unable to afford private school, they are left to make do with whatever the government can provide.
A young, enthusiastic social activist, Mr. Rajak, produced a recent Video Volunteers video documenting the understaffing of the Madhupur Government School and the repercussions for its students. He grew up in an environment where corruption is rampant in schools, especially those in which underprivileged children are the majority. "Even though the villagers I interviewed for my film had been registering complaints with the government for the last two years and demanding that the situation be addressed, they received no positive response," he stated.
By screening his video to various town officials and others in powerful positions, Mr. Rajak successfully lobbied to have one more teacher appointed to the Madhupur Government School. He aims to have two more assigned, thus meeting the central requirement for the minimum number of teachers mandated for a government school.
Mr. Rajak works for IndiaUnheard, a news feature service launched by Video Volunteers, an international media and human rights organization. IndiaUnheard provides a platform for disadvantaged communities all over India to voice their issues and concerns through video.
"Mukesh is one of the brightest and most committed young individuals I have come across," says Manish Kumar, program manager of Video Volunteers. "Come rain or storm, he will never give up without a fight. We at Video Volunteers consider ourselves very lucky to have him as part of our team."
To watch Mr. Rajak's other videos, visit his profile at the IndiaUnheard website at http://indiaunheard.videovolunteers.org/author/mukesh/.
IndiaUnheard is the first ever community news service launched by Video Volunteers. The initiative is constituted of a network of community correspondents who are trained to tell unique stories; stories about their own communities; stories which are otherwise left untold. By feeding this community-produced content to national and international outlets, such as mainstream television channels and social networking sites, IndiaUnheard links rural communities with a truly global audience. In bridging these worlds, IndiaUnheard empowers communities to create real change on real issues affecting their lives.
About Video Volunteers
Video Volunteers identifies, trains and empowers grassroots media producers who create change in and for voiceless communities in the developing world. The organization's work has been recognized by the Knight News Challenge, Echoing Green, TED, Waldzell, the King of Belgium, UNESCO, YouTube, and others who have helped Video Volunteers elevate the voices of these rural communities. For further information on Video Volunteers please visit www.videovolunteers.org or follow us @twitter/video volunteers or fan us on Facebook/Video Volunteers.
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