National Education Day: There’s a need to strengthen educational institutions

National Education Day

The National Education Day, the annual observance to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India. It is the day commemorated to strengthen the educational institutions in the country and raise the quality of education.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad served from August 15, 1947 to February 2, 1958. He laid foundations of the education system after the country became independent. He was instrumental in establishing national education system wherein free and compulsory education, until the age of 14, was introduced. An institution like Indian Institutes of Technology was also brought in under his guidance in the year 1951. He introduced University Grants Commission in 1953. His contribution in the development of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Faculty of Technology of the Delhi University has been phenomenal. He gave importance to adult literacy.

The late South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela said: ‘‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’’ Mandela hit the nail on the head in a way that the informed individuals understand their rights and duties.

Role of NGOs is crucial in ensuring that no one is left out of the education system. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been playing a major role in ensuring that children stay in school and hence, it today reaches over 1.6 million children across the country.

The objective of celebrating the National Education Day should be to strengthen our educational institutions and raise the quality of education. It should be an occasion to remember Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s contribution in laying the foundations of the education system in Independent India as well as to evaluate performance in this field. This would go a long way in advancing India as a knowledge economy and society.

It’s also an occasion to focus on finding means to educate the people left out of the system for various reasons. Any help extended towards achieving this, through NGOs, for instance, are considered tax deductible donations.

For strong institutions and a robust education system, we not only need the adequate infrastructure, but also need good teachers who not only teach what’s prescribed in the syllabus, but are in fact, inspiring and turn the students thinking individuals.

For achieving this, the system needs to ensure that there is the right type of training given to teachers. While Akshaya Patra ensures children attend school every day by incentivising them with food, charity donations from individuals can ensure that this can be minimised.

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This NGO in Karnataka is contributing to eradicate classroom hunger

Karnataka celebrated its formation day recently. Akshaya Patra has many memories related to the state. Starting from first school to be benefitting from the meals cooked by Akshaya Patra, the non-profit organisation in Karnataka currently serves 2,968 Government and Government-aided schools in the state over 17 years of its existence in the state. It has been instrumental in bringing down the dropout rate among schoolchildren.

feed the children

Many NGOs work towards countering hunger and malnutrition. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has come to be seen as a major participant in the mid-day meals that reach thousands of children, mostly from the economically-challenged backgrounds. Given the reach and impact of the NGO, it is among the list of NGOs in Bangalore that are helping the children in many ways.

The State Governments have been partnering NGOs like the Foundation in implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in their efforts to increase the number of children in schools.

The NGO has been using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model as a route to improve the quality and reach of the programme. The NGOs selected in this scheme are picked based on many variables set by the State Government. Such organisations must be transparent and of proven integrity. Akshaya Patra has been feed the children a wholesome meal every day.

The Foundation today helps feed over 4.86 lakh children in 2,968 schools in Karnataka. Over 2 lakh children from Bengaluru benefit from this initiative. They are supplied freshly-cooked food from kitchens in the city. Many corporates and individuals come together and make charity donations to enable the NGO to feed school lunch to these children.

The programme has only been increasing in its scope and reach over the years and is widening its reach fast.