‘Know Your Government’ – a Ten Year Curriculum

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Moving ahead from the idea of e-voting-perceived as the ‘first step’ towards e-Governance, the new paradigm of information revolution is ‘Know Your Government’ or KyG

Mangesh Desai

Interestingly, the origin of the word ‘curriculum’ as published in Wikipedia states – curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults. So while the universities, colleges and schools or any educational institutions may define curriculum as a course of studies or syllabus – the core objective of curriculum that is cultivating a certain level of maturity in the candidate, is not and cannot be deviated.

Essential Education

‘Know your Government’ can be conceived as a ten year mandatory curriculum to match our classical 1977 (10+2+3) education pattern and the RTE Act 2009 coverage of children in the age group of 6 to 14 years of age. So, now when at the age of 18 if a person is considered ‘matured’ enough to vote – then does our curriculum guarantees the minimum expected level of maturity? Does the person know anything about the Government for which he is eligible to cast his vote – does he know ‘the system’? While the RTE Act 2009 emphasizes on the right of every child to education, it is time in India that we also accentuate on inculcating in every child the right to know our Government as an essential component of education or moreover a mandatory curriculum.

To enlist a few imperatives that lead us to suggest ‘Know your Government’ as a mandatory curriculum include that in a democratic setup, it is unacceptable of a citizen being ignorant of the Government based on the Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Latin for “ignorance of the law does not excuse” or “ignorance of the law excuses no one”) a legal principle. In addition, it is necessary that every person appreciates the Government setup, its machinery, its roles and responsibilities and most importantly his or her own role in ‘the system’. Appreciation of more than 40 Ministries and their respective departments, corporations, etc. calls for an extended curriculum spanning across a ten year timeline.

How to Construct KyG

The means to construct ‘Know your Government’ or ‘KyG’ as ten year curriculums are
a.    Theoretical
1.    Between Std I and Std IV the child understands the basic structure of the Government in terms of the various Ministries and Departments, Centre and State hierarchical setups and finally the Block and Village level machineries.
2.    Between Std V and Std VII the child is  required to understand the functions of 50% of the total Ministries and their respective Departments
3.    Between Std VIII to Std X the child is made to understand the functions of the remaining 50 percent of the total Ministries and their respective Departments
b.    Practical
1.    Between Std V and Std VII the child is introduced to various essential processes that as a citizen he or she may encounter in near future. The child is also made to understand the Government budget and expenditure. The child is made aware of social welfare schemes rendered by the State and the Centre.
2.    Between Std VIII and Std X the child is imparted training on e-Governance in terms of e-registration, introduction to Government web sites and tours to State Data Centre and Citizen Facilitation Centres.

Mode of Education can include for Std I to Std IV books in comics form and cartoon videos and for Std V to Std X books in magazine forms, reference books and audio visual demonstrations. Examination and Grading can include exams to be held in line with those held for other subjects and grading system will be used to convey the results though the marks will be not considered for promoting to the next standard.

Some of the direct benefits of the system includes that every child appreciates the role of the Government and understands his or her contribution in various functions of the Government also each child thus becomes mature enough to cast his or her vote. Every child is empowered.

An Eye Opener

The premise for ‘KyG’as mandatory curriculum is that it is an easily implemental solution which addresses the core issue of the common man’s ‘indifference’ towards the existing ‘system’. ‘KyG’ as a mandatory curriculum may act as an eye opener for the masses to realize how their monies collected as taxes are meant also to be expended for various social welfare schemes – from feeding a child –to sponsoring his education- to funding his business. For in reason, someone said, all Government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. ’KyG’ can be the only means to reduce voter absenteeism – to seek the consent of the governed – voluntarily!

The Author

is Head-Government Solutions and Presales, Mastek Limited

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