India, as ever, remains a country of great contrasts – of big economic challenges, but also of indomitable strength of spirit. Few nations around the world have endured as tough a Covid-19 lockdown as India, yet from Karnataka state come two stories that can inspire people all over the country, and beyond.
Against the national trend, Karnataka has only recently decided to go ahead with crucial education board exams in schools, despite the pandemic. Many other Indian states have cancelled them. Within Karnataka there has been strong debate on whether the decision to go ahead has been the right one.
Against many dissenting voices, the staff at one school have shown courage and uplifting commitment to deliver the true purpose of education – the betterment of children. Welcoming 13 and 14-year old exam-takers and their parents, the Vijaya Karnataka newspaper reports teachers at Swami Vivekananda High School in Gangavati Taluk, Koppla district decorating the school as they would for festivals or returning war heroes. Accepting the salutes of staff, full attendance by students demonstrates not only the importance of education for themselves, but also the power of positive thinking and action to overcome adversity.
At another exam centre in the Gulbarga district (one of the places in Karnataka cursed with a high number of Covid-19 cases), Vijaya Karnataka reports another example of tenacity and spirit overcoming a challenge. Proving there should be no barriers to educational success, one strong and positive student with a physical impairment has simply washed his hands, donned his mask and walked into the exam centre ready to get started.
India may remain a paradox, but as The Economist puts it, the country “still has the power to beguile”. Thanks to the Vijaya Karnataka for publishing such positive news. Do these stories from Koppla and Gulbarga illustrate the spirit of exams, or the spirit of life? For sure, the latter.
Questionbang would like to thank Vijaya Karantaka for bringing out this inspiring news, also to Tim Hamper for wanting to share this with a wider audience.