Unbeknownst to many, a primary school teacher recently filed a petition for “one nation, one education board” to, apparently, end disparity in knowledge dissemination during the formative years of a child. According to the senior advocates representing her, “the current education system under multiple boards did not provide equal opportunity to all, as enshrined under Article 21A of the Constitution. Otherwise, the chasm between rich and poor, reign of terror, events of looting and crimes against women that have taken the form of open threats will continue.”
By drawing a lucid, coherent, logical denouement in the form of the last sentence above, which, as is clear to everyone reading this, arises because of multiple education boards, these senior advocates have presented an open and shut case to the judiciary.
In 2011, a bench of the Supreme Court had apparently ruled that a common syllabus between the ages of 6 and 14 would help achieve a code of common culture. “Code of common culture”, a transparent and lucid phrase that everyone knows the meaning of. Separate education facilities and syllabi, it is to be understood, are the root cause of inequality in the world.
This petition has galvanised the moribund fight for equality being waged by a few crusaders in a world where people are making choices. Even, horror of horrors, choosing schools and education boards.
Supporters of the petition have encouraged the petitioner to expand its scope and include the provision of equal marks in all subjects for all children. It is a matter of shame that more than seventy years after independence, children continue to get marked on the basis of performance. “Is this the equality that our founding fathers lived and died for?”, has been the rallying cry for supporters of equality.
When a good thing gets rolling, under the weight of its goodness it acquires a momentum that becomes impossible to stop. Committed people, often unsung, will not stop till the job is fully done. Another group of educators has petitioned that in order that there is no discrimination after passing out from school, all children will get direct entry into college, whether they want it or not.
Different colleges, different courses, different universities, different professors, different teaching and marking styles. Is this equal opportunity? “Is this the equality that our founding fathers lived and died for?”, more people have asked. A petition has been moved to abolish the University Grants Commission (UGC), the apex body responsible for governing institutions of higher learning. All universities will become one university and one college teaching one course in order to eliminate discrimination between students studying in different colleges and universities and promote equal opportunity. Who gave universities and colleges the right to decide their curriculum and agenda? Is it equality? Such antiquated notions. Embarrassing to even read about them now.
And that is not all. Only one teacher will be appointed for teaching. Different teachers could vitiate the environment of equality by giving their students learning based on their own capability and knowledge and commitment. And, of course, everyone will get the same score on every subject they have taken, which, of course, will be the same for everyone.
Of course, no pun intended, the other issue of quality of education will automatically get resolved. With the desirable goal of equality for all, with a single course in a single institution taught by a single teacher, it will obviously be the best programme with none other coming even close. Or even existing. Educational nirvana! It will cease to matter what course they are studying. Or whether they are studying anything as long as everyone is studying nothing in the same way at the same school by the same teacher.
But life does not end with education and learning. Our petitioners know that. They have expeienced life. That is how they have become petitioners. Some may even say that life begins after education.
In order that we abide by the principles of equality for all, it has been petitioned that all bright students who have completed their college education with great results (which means all students) will be employed by the same organisation for the same job. All companies will have the same name and same business and will be allowed to make or lose the same amount of money. No longer will graduates need to strive for better jobs and more money. No longer will some go without jobs. No longer the tyranny of soul-searching to identify their passion and interest for them. Should I become a doctor or an engineer? Should I join the Navy or the Air Force? Should I pursue my passion in music or painting? Over. Finito!
And they will get exactly the same pay. For doing exactly the same thing. Or exactly the same nothing. And they will all wake up at the same time. And dress in the same way. And go to work in the same manner. And eat the same food. And get the same entertainment. And the same vacation. And the same bed and mattress to sleep on. And the same kind of dwelling. And the same transportation machinery.
In order that different genes don’t start acting up and interfering with equal opportunity, a petition has been moved to ban the natural cycles of procreation. In order to promote equality, one set of parents will procreate for the entire population. Again and again and again. Children will then be distributed to all. However, as differences in upbringing could vitiate the environment of equality, these children will not be given but brought up in a common facility.
And since so many children will need people to manage them, and since each person managing them might have a personality that could rub off on the children, they will be replaced by robots.
Equal marks to all, a common university with identical programmes and one single teacher for everyone, providing the same job with equal pay for all, procreating for all; who can do all this?
Who else but Big Brother?
We cannot trust parents to bring up their children. We cannot trust teachers to teach. We cannot trust education boards to provide education. We cannot trust businesses to provide employment. We cannot trust ourselves to take decisions for ourselves. Who can we trust?
Who else but Big Brother?
In fact, as we have seen done in the past in some societies, the word “choice”, and its many variants like “want”, “desire”, etc., which have been found responsible for many of the ills plaguing society, will be removed from the vocabulary of all languages known in the country. Nip the problem in the bud for a just and fair, and equal, society, they say. Long live this tribe of petitioners.
Unfortunately, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, has rained on the petitioner parade and dismissed the petition and nipped in the bud the move towards equality.