Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” When an ordinary man gathers the courage and starts acting towards a problem, things are bound to change. One such man is Dheeraj Kumar, wants to ensure no student in his area ever denied the right to education due to poor socio-economic conditions or lack of educational infrastructure in his region.I met Dheeraj Kumar during one of my field visits as a Milaap fellow in the state of Bihar. He believes that changing one student’s world opens up possibilities that ripple out into the community and then the matrix continues.The true impact of education is the power it gives to those students who were at risk of never receiving a higher degree due to lack of resources. Their earning potential rises; their ability to contribute to their community also increases.[caption id="attachment_7209" align="alignnone" width="1920"] Dheeraj Kumar in his class[/caption]Dheeraj is a B.sc graduate from Magadh University. After the completion of the course his parents wanted him to get a job in Patna as it is the biggest city in the state of Bihar in terms of everything. But Dheeraj declined the idea of doing that and rather thought of starting a coaching centre in his native place tharthari. He feels that the innumerable number of schemes that the government of India has come up with have been not enough as they are not helping the students but the statistical progress the country have achieved in last few years.[caption id="attachment_7211" align="alignnone" width="1920"] A financial market expert from Delhi [/caption][caption id="attachment_7210" align="alignnone" width="1920"] Students in a special session on financial market[/caption]The census in 2011 showed a whopping 9.2% growth in Literacy in a decade. It is a matter of pride and without a doubt a huge leap forward for the country. Further, Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 showed that 96.5% of all rural children between the ages of 6-14 were enrolled in school. But are these statistics enough? The sad truth is that no one tried to look beyond. The vision of the nation was blurred by statistics as common men and leaders, alike, never understood that merely going to a school did not mean that kids were being educated. Most of the government schools in this part of Bihar lack basic facilities, teachers do not come to school (the only thing they do is mark their attendance so that they get the full salary without any deduction), Students they come but only for midday meals.Dheeraj teaches Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. He daily runs six batches of two hours each and there are more than four hundred students ranging from class six to class ten. Some of them want to crack IIT (Indian institute of technology) and some of them want to become doctors. Most of these students have enrolled themselves in government schools but they do not go to school and when I asked them the reason they said “Bhaiya waha koi padhai nahi hoti hai, teacher aate hai aur attendance laga kar chale jaate hai issiliye hum yaha aate hai kyuki yaha seekhne ko milta hai.”Dheeraj recently opened a computer literacy centre in the village and it is the first one in his area. He said that these days knowledge of computers is a necessity, wherever you go for jobs they ask you about it. So I thought of opening one where students can learn the basics of computer because otherwise it is not possible for them.By 2020, India will be the youngest country in the world with an estimated 64 percent of the population in the employable age range. While the economic potential of this is great, unless many changes are made – from education to mindset – many youth will remain unemployable.However, People like Dheeraj are doing their bit, against the odds and India needs more people like Dheeraj to make it possible.
Changing lives through education