Kareena Kapoor is a top Bollywood actor noted for playing a variety of characters across a range of film genres. She has received six Filmfare Awards and has firmly established herself as one of the highest-paid female actors of the Indian Film Industry. She has made valuable contributions to the industry as well as strongly involved in supporting social causes to bring a difference to the society.
Ms. Kapoor has been supporting UNICEF India in the area of quality education for over an year now. Some of her key public service statements on this issue are helping us to spread extensively the message of child friendly schooling and the need to include secondary education under the ambit of Right to Education (RTE), to communities across India.
With the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education coming into effect on April 1, 2010, every child has been assured of the basic right to eight years of education.
However, four years later, while there has been an appreciable progress in resource allocations to the education sector, infrastructure, new student enrolments, the quality of education in schools still remians an issue. . Though children have the right to access free education, a staggering 41 per cent of them drop out before completing Class 8.
Ms. Kapoor will be working closely with UNICEF in the coming years and will lend support to various programs advocating the cause of quality education and free secondary education for children with high-level government officials,across the country. She will also be a part of our fundraising and advocacy events for this cause.
Talking about the issue, Ms. Kapoor says, “Good quality education is the basic right for every children. Children are the future of our country and if they don’t have access to good quality education, the future of our country will be questionable. Thus, it is very important to encourage child friendly and inclusive learning environments, shifting the focus from ‘Right to Education’ to ‘Right to Learn and Quality Education’. ”
As a happy, independent woman who has always exemplified living life on her terms, Ms. Kapoor is a suited role model for adolescent girls standing at the difficult forked path of secondary education or early marriage. Ms. Kapoor was also a part of the movie 3 idiots that has delved deep into the problem of substandard education systems prevalent in India. With her work, she has been reiterating every child’s right to joyful learning through child friendly schools and teaching methods.
Ms. Kapoor has visited the hinterlands of Rajasthan and Maharashtra to see how some child friendly schools have come up in the interiors of these Indian states. Contrary to the usual education system employed in most schools, these schools endeavour to create happy spaces for children where they can freely intermingle with teachers, are safe and secure, and where interactive and creative tools are used to ensure happy learning.
Ms. Kapoor is specifically advocating for secondary education for teenaged girls above 14 years of age, as that would give them the opportunity to continue learning in a protected space, equipping themselves with life skills and empowering themselves with knowledge, while also keeping away the unwanted pressures of early marriage and pregnancy.
Ms. Kapoor is supporting our efforts on improving the quality of education given at schools and encouraging dialogue on the various facets of the RTE. With her support and other stakeholders’ effort this child centered approach is now being practiced in 250,000 primary schools across the nation, resulting in major improvement in both academic and co-curricular outcomes.