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Dalit Girl Children – Access to Quality Education

Andhra Pradesh Annual State Conference was held on 25th February 2020 at Conference Hall of Hotel Swarna Palace, Vijayawada.

Every year, Annual General Body meet is conducted to boost the self-esteem of the members

and leaders of women collectives of the villages. They will be travelling to the venue from their villages and the very fact of going to a distant place to attend a meeting gives lot of exposure to them. At the venue the dalit women will have the opportunity of interacting with each other. Annual conferences are always held on a theme and the gathering is educated on the theme with high level dignitaries/intellectuals as resource persons.

The theme selected for the Andhra Pradesh General Boddy was:“Dalit Girl Children – Access to Quality Education”.

Eminent personalities were invited to elaborate on the selected theme. The following dignitaries attended the conference and inspired the dalit women gathering

DSS Women Collective leaders and the team members along with the Convener of DSS first garlanded Ambedkar statue near Bus Stand and then Proceeded to the venue of the GB in a procession.

All the dignitaries first garlanded the photos of Dr BR Ambedkar and Savitribai Phule and then occupied their respective seats on the dais.

The chief guest of this conference is Sri B Raj Sekhar, IAS, Principal Secretary to Govt of AP, School Education, while the other

dignitaries were: Sri B Udaya Laxmi, IAS,Health & Medical Department,Principal Secretary to Govt of AP, , Sri Chayaratan, IAS, Home Secretary, Retd, Sri Yesuratnam, MD of Christian Minorities Corporation, AP, Sri A Subrahmanyam, Dean of Law, (Retd)Acharya Nagarjuna University, Sanja Ambedkar, Bank Manager, Retd, Sri Manikyam DEE, APTRANSCO, Dr N Siddoji Rao, Convenor, SC, ST IAS/IPS Officers Forum. Sri Daniel Vijay Prakash, National Program Manager of DSS presided the meeting.

Jhansi Geddam, National Convener, Dalit Sthree Sakthinarrated about the activities of DSS since its inception and highlighted the tasks accomplished during the year 2019.The 13th Annual report containing the report of activities done during 2019 in Telugu was released by Sri B Raja Sekhar, IAS and Sri Chayaratan, IAS.

First, Prof. A. Subrahmanyam spoke about the social and political situation in Andhra Pradesh.He commented that the media, people are divided on party lines and their perspectives are influenced by the parties.The two leading political parties and newspapers are divided on caste lines and all other people belonging to various castes including the

castes are divided on the party lines.He suggested that people should raise above prejudices and party affiliations and cultivate the habit of thinking objectively.He asked everyone to introspect their perspectives and prejudices and come out of unconscious influences.He quoted, the famous intellectual, Noam Chomsky and narrated how the media and mainstream political parties ‘manufacture consent’ of the people on important issues.In this connection he analysed how the dominant media and upper caste political elite manufactured consent of the people in favour of encounter of rapists in the recent incident of rape and murder of Disa.He suggested everyone to think and study about questions like, why such rapes did not occur 40/50 years ago?What type of ‘development’ and factors like, western culture, urbanization and industrialization,has turned the rural poor to migrate to urban slums and how these factors created/ turned poor youngsters to turn as criminals/rapists? In this connection he

quoted Arundhati Roy who felt that more such crimes like the Delhi gang rape are likely to occur in future in which poorer sections from slums may become rapists.

Sri. Udayalakshmi, spoke about the need for hard work and education for achieving women empowerment. She reminded that the rights that the women have now is the result of many historical movements by women. She pointed out that the self-help groups played significant role in developing women and their economic empowerment. She suggested that education is important for women and in this connection, she cited the achievement of Ms. Poorna, a young girl who with her commitment and hard work was able to scale the Everest mountain and hoisted the national flag there. She highlighted the strong roots of democracy in the country and told that this nation was the place for such great personalities like Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi. She drew the attention of the gathering to the fact that women are able to exhibit their strengths and skills in the defence forces on par with men. She called upon the women to improve their life skills and develop further.

Sri. Chaya Ratan, explained how the girls hailing from dalit communities are deficient in physical health due to lack of proper nutritional diet. In this connection she narrated her experience that many dalit women could not get selected in police recruitment due to lack of physical fitness requirements, like chest, height, weight etc. She recollected how she worked out to see that a G.O. is issued relaxing physical fitness measurements for dalit women in view of the fact that dalit women are mostly weak. She called upon the dalit women to see that their girl children are educated properly without leaving the entire responsibility on the teachers/schools.

Sri. Rajasekher, highlighted the importance of educating the children.He pointed out that earlier schools were located at long distances and that was the problem for sending the children to schools.But now most of the schools are located within one-kilometre distance but

now the problem is about the quality of education in the schools. In most of the schools the strength is less than 30 as the parents are concerned that the quality is not up to the expectations in these schools. This is an indication that the dalit parents are now seriously concerned about the education of their children, which is a very positive development. He then expressed his opinion that the existing system of school education in Delhi should be replicated in our State also. He called upon the parents to be active and suggested that the parents committees should play key role in streamlining all aspects of the school education and should not leave everything to the teachers/ government.

Mr. Mahesh from Quest Alliance gave power point presentation and he stressed the need to equip the children on Science, Technology, English and Maths (STEM).

Sri. Sanja Ambedkar, Dr. Siddoji, Sri.Manikyam, Jayaraj, Sri.Prakash Kumar, K K Raja and Sri. Samuel John stressed the need for education of dalit children and to lay future path for their empowerment.

DSS cultural team inspired the gathering with emotional songs on Ambedkar and songs on dalit lives.

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