May 19, 2017

A Speed Post story

Today, I witnessed something which made me realize how important a good public education system is and how much that very system is lacking in India.

I had gone to the Post Office to send out a Speed Post package, and I was in queue waiting for my turn. Ahead of me, was a office errand boy holding two envelopes and some cash. He also had an office ID card with a company monogrammed neck strap; it said Social Alpha. Just before his turn, he checked with the counter whether he needs to write 'Speed Post' on the envelope and he was informed 'Yes'.

Now, he was visibly uncomfortable and slowly took out a pen from his pocket and proceeded to write on the envelope. He slowly put down SEEBD. And then he looked at it again and put the pen back. In a second, he again took out his pen and wrote a P.

So, now it was PSEED.

All this while I was standing right behind him and watching, waiting for my turn. When I saw PSEED, it just triggered a thought in my mind. This is what T would do when she misses a letter in her word. But, she usually puts the letter above or below the word at the right position. And here was a man of 25-26, who was doing pretty much the same thing. She was just going to start Class 1, and she has been trying to get words together, and read stuff and write them too, at times.

This incident just made me realize, the problem is pretty much at the start of the education system, for all those who are with the public system in this country. This person has not been given the right guidance from such a young age, and how can we expect them to work towards any professional degree where language is treated as a given. But, I was happy to note that he could get himself to spell, and correct his mistake too.

Yet, I don't know what hope lies for the people of India if a basic education is not even a given.