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We Have To Provide An Opportunity: Freyaz Shroff On Inequalities In Our Education System

  • IWB Post
  •  April 9, 2019

Freyaz Shroff is bridging the gaps of socio-economic divide through education, dialogue, friendship, and platforms. “Pehchaan”, an initiative of the Rotaract Club of H.R. College and KurNiv, is for children from the municipal school and private school sectors to raise awareness about the inequalities in our education system.

Speaking on the initiative, Freyaz shares, “Through this initiative we are trying to move the discussion from the problem to the viable and sustainable solutions to nurture tomorrow’s leaders. Every child dreams, every child has a talent, every child has the will to achieve heights. The only thing missing is an opportunity. Pehchaan provides the platform of opportunity.”

She adds, “Thus, Pehchaan aims to build the self-confidence of children who come from municipal schools and provide support of different kinds like making them familiar with the admission process in college, helping them adjust in the English speaking environment of English medium colleges, being there for them as mentors and friends (or didis and bhaiyas) so that they have a sense of motivation to continue with their college and education.”

Day 4 started with a nutritious breakfast followed by “Balance it”, “Blindfold Activity” which taught the children how to trust each other and communicate better, and the Finance session in which they learnt how to open and operate a bank account, the day ended with the confidence walk. @rc_hr @kurniv @communicateindia @salaambbayorg @ismemumbai @ymcabombay #pehchaan #bridgingthegap #community #communityservice #india #india_gram #indiaclicks #education #educationforall #mumbai #mumbaiuntold #success #bridgingthegap #empoweringtheyouth #Education #equitableeducation #day4

139 Likes, 1 Comments – Pehchaan (@pehchaanbridgingthegap) on Instagram: “Day 4 started with a nutritious breakfast followed by “Balance it”, “Blindfold Activity” which…”

Since the initiative is based on connecting different factions of society, it becomes imperative to talk about its dynamics. As Freyaz explains, “A stigma can be observed around our education system. But I can’t say that it’s only their fault or the society’s. We all are a part of this. When I started working for the children, a few of my friends used to say that, ‘oh, you’ve touched them, you’ve worked with them’, and so they refused to stay. It was disturbing. I believed that it was time to change this ill mindset.”

When asked about how it is affecting the education system, Freyaz says, “First of all, people need to understand about the gap in education between municipal school education and private school education in India. Private schools provide many co-curricular activities whereas municipal schools provide few. The difference in the curriculum affects a child’s growth and understanding. The child studying in a private school and the child studying in a municipal school would have talent. Both of them would have the same zeal, excitement and will to learn things. But there would be a difference of opportunity. Also, we can’t just keep talking about it. People talk about how and why, but we need to focus on the solutions as well.”

I am You This is Me! Pehchaan!

113 Likes, 0 Comments – Pehchaan (@pehchaanbridgingthegap) on Instagram: “I am You This is Me! Pehchaan!”

When it comes to the children studying in municipal schools, an unspoken bias automatically comes in our perception, as if we are unable to see them as fellow humans. Freyaz noticed a rift between the private schools and municipal schools and the impact these mindsets were creating on children’s mind. “The stigma around socially excluded groups of people falls on the children. It severely affects their aspirations and will. They are often reminded about where they come from, their way of living, their clothes and minute things like this. They lack confidence. To be honest, it isn’t fair to them and their dreams.”

When asked about the way Pehchaan is bridging the gap, Freyaz says, “We work on three main programs, empowering kids, personal power, and leadership connect. It guides them in becoming more personally and socially responsible. With the help of their didis and bhaiyas, children get an insight into the college life they are going to step in. The programs help children make better choices, understand their interest areas, and create channels of free expression. They go back home little more disciplined, communicating better with both parents and siblings and paying more attention to the right priorities.”

On eliminating the stigma in the education system, she shares, “This should be a contribution from both sides. We also need to empower the children to dream, we are here to support. Also, the school curriculum should welcome creativity, innovation and original thinking. They should not normalize these issues. Children are the budding minds, we should fill it with zeal, positivity, and courage.”

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