Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mediclaim for Education

Mediclaim for Education

It has been quite some time since I was last seen on my blog space—but I assure you that it was not without any reason(s). After all whatever we do, or end up doing,the incidents that happen around us, and to us as well---all have reasons, for unfolding the way they do. Though it is equally true that most of the times we are clueless as to why they happened, the way they happened. The reason(s) manifest themselves only later, at an appropriate time, which is ascertained by the discretion of the laws of nature. Fortunate are those who can correlate these ‘delayed’’ manifestation(s) of the reason(s), with their actual and ‘corresponding incident(s)’. But in spite of the apparently non-apparent reasons and thus seemingly illogical occurrences, both with me as well as my surroundings—all encompassing, with the inclusion of environment in totality comprising of my acquaintances and nature as a whole—I remain a staunch believer of the existence of a “theory behind everything”. Just as the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who has authored a book of the same title—Theory Behind Everything.

Armed with this belief I have tried to assess various prevailing situation(s) in the society—the society serving as a unit, which makes up the nation and when extrapolated, the world as a whole. During the ‘assessment assignment’—self-imposed, of course—I have quite naturally come to accept and appreciate the development(s) that has (have) taken place all around and which continues to do so. These are the fruits of scientific endeavours and toils of innumerable individuals—after all “success & development” is a team game, requiring the involvement of one and all. In fact, more the merrier, though at times too many cooks do spoil the broth!

Anyway, one ‘positive’ that I want to discuss here, is the help—towards medical expenses—extended by the various ‘Mediclaim’ policies—floated by as many insurance companies. One needs to pay a ‘premium’ for sustaining the policy(ies) and in turn they sustain us by taking care of our medical expenditures—in case of surgeries and hospitalization(s). The medical bills, given the exponential increments they are undergoing, add up to the mental agony; over and above the physical pain that a person or a family member has to endure—and members of the family too do not stay immune to this pain. Hence this concept of “Mediclaim” can claim its place as financial anxiolytic (anxiety breaker), in the wake of acute medical condition(s).
There are certain pitfalls of such policies. Then what doesn’t have? So in this context I think considering the negatives would not be appropriate. And also it is equally true that these policies are yet to reach the economically weaker class—a paradox, as they need it the most. That would require a discussion entirely and exclusively devoted to the cause though. By dealing with it here I do not want to dilute the seriousness of the issue.

So now I move on to something else, pertinent to my ‘reason’ (again!) of indulging in this discussion primarily, and that is the education in India.

The kids of this generation have been found to be more receptive, given the subjects that they are subjected to, from a very early age. But its after-effect is, a fast burnout. The faster the brain accepts the information, the faster it rejects, by ejecting it out—from the brain—the moment its utility: read exams, projects, etc., is over. The retention is found to be difficult, if not impossible. This after-effect seems to be an extension of the “Use & Throw” policy, which first came into vogue with regards to commodities, but frighteningly is being applied for qualities and relationships as well, along with finding application in what we call ‘education’.

Another thing, which has come out as the direct fallout of the current policy adopted by the schools, is the physical fitness—rather the lack of it, of the kids. I have found that more and more of the kids have started to suffer from neuralgic pains—severe back pains, spondylitis and the like. And on intense analyses have found the cause to lie with the school bags—the kilograms they carry are of frightening proportions. No wonder they are suffering from such degenerative ailment (s) in their formative years! When the body is still in the process of growth, it buckles under the inhuman weight the school bags have come to signify.
In our times, we had definite routine for each day and carried the books and copies of the corresponding subjects only. But nowadays, the routine is not specified. The kids have to carry all books in their curriculum and copies too, rendering them assess with mass of books on their back.

Accepting the prevailing norm, in the name of education, various manufacturers of school bags have hit the market with a ‘ trolley’ incorporated in the bag. This allows the kids some relief, as they are spared from carrying the bag—in fact baggage—on their back. But how many can afford such an innovative bag—only a select few. That leaves the majority with no option but to lug their bags, on their shoulders—shoulders too weak and small for such weights, which thus become burden.
This burden manifests itself in various forms—mental and physical. And as I am with the physical part in this discussion, I think, the insurance companies should induct ‘education’ too in their mediclaim policies—wherein injuries inflicted by such norm for education too would have the medical expenses borne by them. The companies would reap rich dividends having thus increased their area of applicability. While the kids and their parents can be spared from bearing the heavy medical expenditures that follow such ‘criminal education’.

Yes, it is a type of crime that is being committed in the name of education. Education is a quality, whose attainment is the birth right of every individual. It is not a quantity, which needs to depend upon the kilograms of books that are being enforced on the shoulders of the student(s).
There are number of reforms that are being tried to improve our education system. But it is restricted, as of now, to the arena of exams, marks and no-marks! I sincerely hope that steps would be mulled over, in the future—not distant but near—to address the issue. The ‘baggage’ should be reverted to the ‘bag’ it once used to be. The kids can only then blossom mentally—with the elimination of the physical burden.

I know people might disagree with me, and put forth as evidence, a very low ‘percentile’ of such ‘painful’ cases. But one cannot disagree with the existence of, even if, a low percentile! And in any case exception(s) prove(s) the rule. So if all are not suffering, then sufferings of a few, is a valid enough reason to bring about the downfall of the prevalent ‘norm’.
But till something is done in this direction, education would continue to be disbursed as a baggage, in the name of norm and in the form of ‘educational baggage’. And in the interim, this ‘education’ would be claiming the health of many more hapless kid(s).

Since education, synonymous with unimaginable weights, is causing such severe medical condition(s), there needs to be a Mediclaim for Education. That would be some solace in the wake of the irreparable damages that are incurred at times— by taking care of the financial worries. The actual damage though could never be compensated.
So either the schools, or the Government, should come up with such group insurance schemes in collaboration with the insurance companies.

As for what should be the name of such a scheme, I can propose one: EDUCLAIM.

Sushmita Mukherjee,
Thursday, 8th April 2010.