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Legal Education is now a fundamental right of every child

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by rajneesh madhok, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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    Education is now a fundamental right of every child

    Education is now a fundamental right of every child- Hindustan Times

    The Right to Education Act came into force today with Doordarshan telecasting the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the nation announcing the operationalisation of the Act. The law envisions to provide free and compulsory education for all children between 6 and 14 years of age. In his address to the nation Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the Right to Education becoming a fundamental right. He said that the Government of India pledges to provide education to every child in India. The PM said, "Right to Education Act will realize the dreams of many children across the nation." Adding that education is the key to progress and will empower children to become better citizens of the nation. Manmohan Singh called upon state governments and teachers to join the effort, adding that parents and guardians have a major role to play too. He said, "Centre and the States wll work to make this Act a success."

    There are approximately 92 lakh out of school children in the country.

    PRIME MINISTERS STATEMENT ON THIS HISTORIC OCCASION

    “About a hundred years ago a great son of India, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, urged the Imperial Legislative Assembly to confer on the Indian people the Right to Education. About ninety years later the Constitution of India was amended to enshrine the Right to Education as a fundamental right. Today, our Government comes before you to redeem the pledge of giving all our children the right to elementary education. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, enacted by Parliament in August 2009, has come into force today. The Fundamental Right to Education, as incorporated in our Constitution under Article 21 A, has also become operative from today. This demonstrates our national commitment to the education of our children and to the future of India. We are a Nation of young people. The health, education and creative abilities of our children and young people will determine the wellbeing and strength of our Nation.

    Education is the key to progress. It empowers the individual. It enables a nation. It is the belief of our government that if we nurture our children and young people with the right education, India's future as a strong and prosperous country is secure. We are committed to ensuring that all children, irrespective of gender and social category, have access to education. An education that enables them to acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary to become responsible and active citizens of India. To realise the Right to Education the government at the Centre, in the States and Union Territories, and at the district and village level must work together as part of a common national endeavour. I call upon all the State Governments to join in this national effort with full resolve and determination. Our government, in partnership with the State governments will ensure that financial constraints do not hamper the implementation of the Right to Education Act.

    The success of any educational endeavour is based on the ability and motivation of teachers. The implementation of the Right to Education is no exception. I call upon all our teachers across the country to become partners in this effort. It is also incumbent upon all of us to work together to improve the working conditions of our teachers and enable them to teach with dignity, giving full expression to their talent and creativity. Parents and guardians too have a critical role to play having been assigned school management responsibilities under the Act. The needs of every disadvantaged section of our society, particularly girls, dalits, adivasis and minorities must be of particular focus as we implement this Act. I was born to a family of modest means. In my childhood I had to walk a long distance to go to school. I read under the dim light of a kerosene lamp. I am what I am today because of education. I want every Indian child, girl and boy, to be so touched by the light of education. I want every Indian to dream of a better future and live that dream. Let us together pledge this Act to the children of India. To our young men and women. To the future of our Nation.”

    Rajneesh madhok
     
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  3. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    This bill is on paper and will remain on paper.It nearly impossible to implement this bill practically
     
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    kanwardeep ji

    With your indulgence... what are the factors that prevent the bill from being implemented?
     
  5. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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    Dear Kanwardeepji, Narayajot Kaurji,
    "too much indulgence spoils a child"
    A few years back the children in the Schools had been provided the facility of Mid-day meal in Government Schools. We suppose that the children go to school just to take Mid-day meal. Even then the children will get education like to sit in a class room, how to talk, how to sit in assembly. These sort of bills certainly prove useful for the children. Though these sort of the bills may be criticized due to political reasons but even then the truth is that it is for the benefit of the children of our country to which we support. What are the worrisome points that are the education standard of Government schools is declining day by day. If the act implemented and the private schools have to provide education to the deprived lot compulsorily then this will be too much beneficial for the children. Any way it is a step in right direction.
    Why the countries those are equal to not more than one state of India are developing. Why Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland are developing like anything. Why Japan is lagging behind everybody, Why Singapore, Korea, Scotland, Malaysia---are developing. It is due to the educational policies of those countries.
    Advanced countries of Western Europe and North America have developed due to education.

    1. It is really a right step in right direction for the economic, social development of our country. The Govt. should stress on economic, social and power structures in India. But till date the Govt is stressing in giving realxation to the multi-national companies those don't develop any sort of infrastructure. They are marketing the Potato chips. The potatoes are produced in India and the Chips are being made by Indian companies. The cost of potatoes is about 5-10 per Kg if we consider the best quality potatoes. The Chips manufacturing cost will be hardly 10 per Kg. The end products cost is about 15 per Kg if we count all the expenses made. The Selling price of the Chips is Rs 200-300 per Kg. Same is the position of Soft drinks. The cost of a bottle of Coke, Pepsi or Limca will not be more than 50 paise. But it is being sold at Rs 15 per bottle. Why there is hold of multi-national companies on these products? Why the Chips, Soft drinks are being marketed by Multi-national companies.
    2. Why the professional education is so costly in India. Why business, medicine, engineering is so costly. Why Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. are successful in India. Because the seats are being alloted under the table. The Bright students don't get admission in IIT even. The mediocre grab the seats.
    3. Why there are Reservation policies. Why not the students should be provided free education and other facilities. When the reservation had been come in to existence it had been floated for 10 years only. But to achieve their own goals the reservation could not come to end. At present the seats in educational institutes and the vacancies are reserved more than 50%. The student who gets 33% marks in Medical and Engineering competitive exams gets seat in prestigious institution of medicine and engineering and the student who get 95% marks could not get the seat in low standard institution. Why there is so highhandedness with the children.
    We pray to almighty that He should shower His blessings to Indian Politicians so that the bills and laws should be passed for the benefit of masses.

    Rajneesh Madhok
     
  6. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    First of all Govt is already fooling people.Number of children outside school is
    60-90 million not 9 million.So by taking wrong data and that too of only 10%
    they can't provide adequate funds.

    second who will make sure that children are going to school.They are saying that police will keep an eye on it.India already have very low police -public ratio so how could they take another burden.

    Third point is if the child is 10-11 year old and he can't even read or write then its not possible A,BC to put in 5th - 6th standard where otherchildren are studying algebra.

    In many families financial condition is very bad,they need children to work and not go to school so everybody could get 2 square meals in family.Now in that cases how could they manage to send children to schools at the cost of income from which they are getting food

    One thing is sure that this bill will ensure that many children will now get certificate's upto class 8th even if they can't do simple + - .So yes statistically India is going to be educated
     
  7. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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    Dear Kanwardeep ji,
    Now the point is what is our contribution to make the act successful. The question about the study of 10-11 years child has been considered. If child of 10-11 years start to go to school, there may be chances that he may learn something, that may be based lie etiquettes, discipline and other allied subjects those are again useful for child to make his career.
    I agree to your point that the financial position of many families are not good and they need children to work. But one thing which should be considered is that in those families the male members don’t do physical work, secondly if they do unskilled jobs then the whole days’ earnings are being spent on liquor. If the child goes to school and he gets the Mid-day meal in the school and after the school time he is helpful to his parents to earn their livelihood then also it is not a bad bargain.
    Suppose those children get certificates for the education that have got up to 8th Standard without having the practical knowledge of Standard 1 even. When he will apply for a job he will get the job according to his caliber.
    Now our contribution starts as under:

    http://www.infocommpunjab.com/htm/documents/2009/Orders%20dated%2029.12.09%20(11.30%20AM)%20Court2.doc

    STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION, PUNJAB
    SCO No. 32-33-34, Sector -17-C, CHANDIGARH

    Sh. Rajneesh Madhok,
    B-XXX/63, Nehru Nagar,
    St No-2, Railway Road,
    Phagwara-144401.

    …………………………….Appellant

    Vs.​
    (1) Public Information Officer
    O/o District Education Officer (S),
    Kapurthala.
    (2) Public Information Officer-First Appellate Authority,
    O/o Special Secy., Education,
    3rd Floor, Mini Sectt., Pb, Chandigarh
    ………………………………..Respondent​
    AC No. 722 of 2009
    Order

    The judgment in this case was reserved on 10.12.2009.

    2. The core question falling for decision in the instant matter is whether the PIO of the office of District Education Officer, Kapurthala can be directed under the RTI Act 2005 to cause the information, pertaining to the fee structure/ hike in a purely private school namely Swami Sant Dass Public School, Phagwara (hereinafter referred to as ‘the school’), provided to a person seeking it under said Act.
    3. The information demanded from the Respondent is regarding the rules /instructions permitting an increase in the monthly fee by the school ; action taken against the increase in fee ; rules under which students can be forced to buy certain products e.g. school badge, uniform, books etc. from the school tuck shop; Govt. instructions regarding provision of facilities in the private schools etc. In the application seeking information, the Appellant has also referred to the definition of information as given in Section 2(f) of the Act, emphasizing that the ‘information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force’ would also be information under the Act that can be demanded by a citizen. In answer to the
    Contd…P-2​
    -2-​
    demand, the Respondent intimated the Appellant vide his letter dated 13.08.09 that the information demanded pertains to purely private school in relation to which the office of the District Education Officer does not enter into any correspondence. It is also submitted that the Respondent’s office is not in possession of any record pertaining to the school nor is there any legal provision under which the office of the DEO can access the record of the private school in question. It is also submitted that there are no rules/regulations framed by the government in relation to the matters referred to by the Appellant. In this premise, it is argued that the application for the information made by the Appellant before the Respondent is not maintainable. In answer to the submission made by the Respondent, the Appellant places reliance on the decision of the Delhi High Court in the case of a private unaided school recognized under the Delhi School Education Act-1973. It is also submitted that the school in question is to be treated as a public authority inasmuch as it enjoys income tax concessions and has been provided with land at subsidized rates by PUDA. It is further submitted that DEO can ask for information from private schools as it is the controlling authority/competent authority in providing the recognition to them. It is lastly submitted that the department of Education has full control over the functioning of the private schools and has power to collect information from those schools.
    4. On the basis of the rival submissions, the following three questions arise for determination:-
    (i) whether the decision by the High Court of Delhi in regard to a case of a private unaided school covers the case of the Appellant herein?
    (ii) whether the income tax concessions and provision of land at subsidized rates by PUDA confer a status of public authority on the school in question?
    (iii) whether the school in question is controlled by the office of the DEO/Government of Punjab and can access the information in relation to the school under the law as contemplated under Section 2(f).
    Contd…P-3​
    -3-​

    5. I shall deal with these questions ad seriatim :-
    Re(i)
    6. The reliance placed by the Appellant on the Delhi High Court is misplaced. The private unaided schools in the national capital territory of New Delhi are controlled by a
    statutory enactment i.e. Delhi School Education Act – 1973. Under the provisions of this statute, the authorities in the department of education, exercise considerable control over the fixation of fee structure in those schools. The education department , therefore, has access to information in relation to the private unaided schools in a host of matters pertaining inter alia to fixation of fees etc. In the state of Punjab, however, there is no statutory enactment providing for the control of private unaided schools by the Government in the matter of fixation of fees etc. The Government also has not made any provision in that behalf in exercise of its executive powers under article 162 of the Constitution of India. The situation prevailing in the NCT of Delhi is , therefore, substantially different from that obtaining in the State of Punjab. I, therefore, am of the view that the decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court referred to by the Appellant is of no help to him. This point is decided against the Appellant.
    Re (ii)
    7. I have carefully considered the submission based on income tax concessions and provision of land at subsidized rates by PUDA. Exemptions, Rebates and Concessions under a tax legislation are granted as per the provisions of the Statute. These are provided pursuant to the fiscal policy of the State adopted with a view to achieving certain objectives. The incidence of tax is created by the Statute and it has no existence de hors the Statute. The computation of the tax is undertaken as per the provisions of the tax legislation and the liability to pay tax is quantified accordingly. It is not that there is any primordially existing tax liability, which the tax legislation seeks to regulate or waive. The tax liability arises only because it is created by the Statute and its incidence and quantum is also determined by the Statute. The liability to pay tax is as per the operation and inter-play of the various provisions of the Statute. The liability arises as a result of the conjoint effect of all the provisions of the Act. The grant of Exemptions/Rebates/Concessions under a tax legislation is not a largesse doled out by the State to an individual or an institution. These are granted as a part of fiscal policy of the
    Contd…P-4​
    -4-​
    State with a view to giving impetus to certain activity/activities deemed beneficial to the Public. A tax exemption cannot be perceived as an instance of funding by the State. In fact, acceptance of this submission would lead to patently absurd consequences. To illustrate, let us take the case of tax exemptions granted under Section 88of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Under Section 88 ibid, various kinds of investments/payments made by individuals have been exempted from the incidence of income tax. One such instance is the contributions/payments made by a person to a Public Provident Fund. All deposits made in a Public Provident Fund are exempt from Income Tax. Even the interest accruing on such deposits remains outside the pale of the tax liability. Accepting the submission made by the Complainant would mean that in relation to any individual investing in a Public Provident Fund, the expenditure incurred by him on his own living would be deemed to be provided by the State through tax funding. It is also seen that as per the scheme of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the subjects are taxed at different rates. For higher incomes, the rates of tax are higher and the lower incomes are taxed at comparatively lower rates. From this, one could say that there are concessional rates of tax provided for the lower income groups. Does it mean that the individuals paying income tax at lower rates or whose income are exempt from tax wholly or partly are being funded by the State indirectly? Obviously not. In view of this, the grant of income tax concessions have no bearing on the question whether the school in question has the status of a public authority. Insofar as provision of land at subsidized rates by PUDA to the school is concerned, it by itself will not be enough to determine whether the school concerned can be termed as a public authority. The question is whether the provision of land at subsidized rates tantamounts to substantial financial assistance by the Government to the school. It is true that the financial assistance would also include within its fold, the bringing into existence assets of enduring nature i.e. infrastructural facilities. However, mere provision of land at subsidized rates will not be enough to clothe the beneficiary with the status of a public authority. The matter is one of degree. If infrastructural facility is provided at a nominal price, it may amount to substantial financial assistance.
    Contd…P-5​
    -5-​
    But some concession in the price of land allotted to an institution, keeping in view the beneficent purpose for which it has been established, is not the same thing as making available the infrastructure free of cost or at a nominal price. No material has been placed on the record by the Appellant to show that the confessional rate referred to by him are nominal rate. Nor has it been so alleged by the Appellant in his appeal.

    RE(iii)
    8. As per my finding on question No. (ii), the school in question is a purely private body that can, by no stretch of imagination, be held to be a public authority under the RTI Act 2005. Now the question is whether the information relating to the school in question can be ‘accessed under any law for the time being in force’ by the Respondent i.e PIO O/o District Education Officer, (Secondary), Kapurthala. Section 2(f) of the RTI Act 2005 includes within the term ‘information,’ information relating to a private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law. As already noticed in this judgment hereinearlier, there is no statutory enactment vesting the control of the school concerned in any Govt. authority. There are no executive instructions / orders issued under Article 162 of the Constitution of India providing for any governmental control over the private unaided schools in the State of Punjab. In the absence of any legal provision requiring / permitting a governmental authority to have access to information in the custody of a private body, no public authority can compel or require a private body to disclose information relating to it for being transmitted to the citizens. I answer question no. (iii) accordingly.
    9. In view of the foregoing, I hold that the Respondent is under no obligation to procure the information from the school concerned and thereafter provide it to the Appellant. Rather, the Respondent is legally incompetent to even ask the private school
    Contd…P-6​
    -6-​
    concerned to divulge the information for the said purpose. The instant appeal is, therefore, dismissed being without merit. Copies of the order be sent to the parties.


    Sd/-
    (Kulbir Singh)
    Dated: 29th December, 2009 State Information Commissioner

    Though it was known to me that the Private Institutions don’t come under the purview of Right to Information Act, 2005. Even then I fight up to the State Information Commission. The benefit of the struggle is that:
    From this session the School has not made enhancement of fees which had become the trend by enhancing more than 100%. This year the enhancement is merely 10% of fees, annual charges.
    Secondly the school has instructed to the parents that they are free to purchase the books from the school and from the market. The books list with price has been provided to the parents before the commencement of the session.
    Thirdly the parents had been instructed in writing that the parents can purchase school dresses from the market. The school will not object if there is slight variation in the colour combination .
    Now I come to the point:
    The govt has declared that the above mentioned policy will be applicable and the private schools will also make admissions to the students in their schools.
    Kanwardeep ji, we shall seek information from the Govt. regarding action taken on the subject matter cited above. Kindly be the vigilant citizen you will certainly get results.

    Rajneesh Madhok
     
  8. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Maya objects to Right to Education Act: Rediff.com India News

    Accusing the Centre of overlooking practical aspects of implementing the Right to Education Act, Uttar Pradesh [ Images ] Chief Minister Mayawati [ Images ] sought funds from the United Progressive Alliance [ Images ] government to enforce the law on Saturday.

    Mayawati alleged the Centre was not serious in implementing the Act.

    "This was the reason the Centre did not look into practical aspects while implementing the Act and a nominal provision was made in the budget," she said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ].

    "If the Centre is really willing to implement the Right to Education Act to benefit the people, it should bear the financial burden to be created on the state for implementation of the Act," Mayawati said.

    She said that to implement the Act in Uttar Pradesh, Rs 18,000 crore would be needed in one year, of which 45 percent -- Rs 8,000 crore -- have to be arranged by the state.

    It would be difficult for the state to arrange Rs 8,000 crore considering its present financial condition, she said.

    Mayawati said if the Centre seriously wanted to implement the RTE Act, it should provide required funds to UP.

    "The state had in a letter sent to the Centre in November last year already requested for required funds," she said.

    "As education has been included in the concurrent list, it was necessary that the Centre should have held a formal discussion with the states and should have made financial arrangements for the implementation of the Act. But this has not been done," Mayawati said.

    "This is not fair that the Centre should issue directives after framing policies relating to the Act and its implementation is left solely on the states," she added.

    She said though the Centre has framed the Act, it has made no financial arrangements required for its implementation.

    "I hope the Centre would seriously think over this important issue and take a positive decision," she said.

    Mayawati said that to implement the new Act on the ground 4,596 new primary and 2,349 upper primary schools other than development of infrastructure would be needed, for which an expenditure of Rs 3,800 crore was estimated.

    In addition to this, she said that to provide compulsory education facility to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years 3.25 lakh teachers would be required in primary schools.

    "Besides 67,000 new regular and 44,000 part-time teachers would be required in upper primary schools, which would create an additional burden of Rs 10,000 crore in the form of salaries and other heads," she said.

    She said an expenditure of another Rs 3,000 crore was estimated for compensating the private schools against enrollment of 25 percent children from economically weaker section.
     
  9. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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  10. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Dear Rajneesh

    I don't know what this case has to do with the topic.In Delhi many top schools for their reputation expel students if they fail.

    When we talk about things right to education bill then we should look at broader level.
     
  11. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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    Dear Kanwardeepji,
    I agree to your point. Now we discuss the matter of Right to Education Bill, if it becomes law in India, then both the private and government schools will not be allowed to force a child to repeat a year or expel students until class VIII for any reason. Whether this bill will be beneficial for the students, whether the Education standard of India will improve? Though at present the trend is that the student is being passed or failed and the schools identify the children as best and worst.
    Now we come to another aspect, in Child psychology EVERY CHILD IS A UNIQUE ONE, there are so many reasons that a child could not be able to produce good result. But instead of discovering the good qualities of the student or uniqueness within the student if the school authority expel him/he from shcool, is it a good criteria or it is a correct way to deal with the child. Now we come to the point should the child be failed or expelled form the school?
    Though the educationists admit that trapping of hidden talent within every child is a big task. We should not judge the I.Q. of each and every child at par with all children. The child's potentiality should be checked and he/she should be trained on the particular line. But after 63 years of independence we could not be able to produce that kind of education pattern.
    Now the mode of discussion has moved to another line, the matter is Should we proceed to expel the child at a random by simply telling that the child is not fit to the school, academic system or should we go for a new pattern of education system.
    There are so many academicians in our group. I request to Dr. Narayanjot Kaur to please throw light on the subject of her expertise. That why not we respect the extracurricular activities, achievements of the child why every child's record is considered with pass/ fail pattern. Why every time we consider the achievement of the child on the academic point of view. We keep on stressing the academic qualities of the child by evaluating on subjective mark and don't give credit to the sports, music, painting etc.... Even the schools make partiality in giving grades to extra curricular achievements and marks for pass and fail to subjects such as Maths, Science or SST on the report card.

    Why we keep on assessing the child on academic rating system. Children are unique in their characters in different fields. Can we force all students to put on equal size of dresses or shoes though the size of every child differ. Why not there is a provision of alternate type of education for a child. If a student is bad in academic field but he is good in other fields. Is it not an illogical or unreasonable pass/ fail criteria. Whether it is not injustice with a child. for how much period the child will have to face this injustice made by our own high class society people and academicians on those shoulders the coming generation of the country depends.

    Rajneesh Madhok
     
  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    rajneesh ji

    We have a similar movement in the US, now in approximately 6 presidential administrations have passed since its implementation. The bill, No Child Left Behind, which was authored by Democrats and Republicans, became law and required massive changes in school policies. Unlike India, public and private schools are covered by state level law not federal law. That became the first impasse in terms of putting No Child Left Behind into effect because the federal level created a "new reality" without allocating funding to the states to make changes. At first the states and local boards of education found ways to circumvent the most drastic issues that had the greatest impact on budgets. It made everyone cynical. Slowly but surely each part of the law was implemented, but not without a lot of political distress. Today local level officials seem to be in favor of it more than against. However, I must point out, that rather than children served, accountants were served, by the emphasis on accountability. Now databases and spreadsheets are the camera that retains pictures of "progress" but the progress is based on benchmarks that are trivial indicators (my opinion) of educational progress. Bottom line. The children attending schools in the wealthiest communities continue to make progress; the poor continue to lag behind. The schools however have been come more "accountable" because everyone is now an accountant with access to databases and a good spreadsheet program. High school graduation rates and performance on annual tests are still under stress in the economically distressed school districts. The parents have no idea what it all means because there isn't enough time to explain it to them. Filling in numbers on electronic templates designed for data upload takes a lot of time. I am rambling. Database designers have done well.

    I cannot say what will happen in India. I don't know enough about similarities and differences in the way education is delivered in both countries. But for sure, India has a plethora of accountants and information management specialists. So if India becomes enamored of the American experience, they should have no trouble implementing it.

    I really think both countries should be focused on increasing literacy. That would be a modest objective -- yet hard on its own to achieve.
     
  13. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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    India's children have a precarious right

    The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : India's children have a precarious right

    One hardly needs a reminder that the Right to Education is different from the others enshrined in the Constitution, in that the beneficiary cannot demand it nor fight a legal battle when the right is denied or violated.



    Now that India's children have a right to receive at least eight years of education, the gnawing question is whether it will remain on paper or become a reality. One hardly needs a reminder that this right is different from the others enshrined in the Constitution, in that the beneficiary —a six-year old child — cannot demand it, nor can she or he fight a legal battle when the right is denied or violated. In all cases, it is the adult society which must act on behalf of the child. In another peculiarity, where a child's right to education is denied, no compensation offered later can be adequate or relevant. This is so because childhood does not last. If a legal battle fought on behalf of a child is eventually won, it may be of little use to the boy or girl because the opportunity missed at school during childhood cannot serve the same purpose later in life. This may be painfully true for girls because our society permits them only a short childhood, if at all. The Right to Education (RTE) has become law at a point in India's history when the ghastly practice of female infanticide has resurfaced in the form of foeticide. This is symptomatic of a deeper turmoil in society which is compounding traditional obstacles to girls' education. Tenacious prejudice against the intellectual potential of girls runs across our cultural diversity, and the system of education has not been able to address it.

    Rajneesh Madhok









    Right to education for children



    The new law has many critics. Some of them are among the nation's best known educators and, therefore, their concerns must be heard. They have raised two major issues: one, the law does not cover pre-school education; and two, it offers no vision of systemic reforms leading to a decent common school system. Both issues are valid and the government's strategy to implement the law must cover them. As for the first issue — coverage of early childhood — a first step can be recognising the year before Class I as a necessary pre-school year to provide an enabling experience for the success of eight years of formal education stipulated by law. This step would require substantial planning and coordination among the departments of Child Development, Health and Education. The second point the RTE critics are making draws attention to the divisive, and not just divided, character of our system of education. A vast gap of resources, facilities and efficiency exists between the private schools which cater for the better-off strata of society and the ones run by the government. Within government schools, there is a vast difference between Central schools and those run by municipalities and village panchayats. It is not true that RTE offers no vision of improving our fragmented system. The provision for 25 per cent reserved seats for poor children in all private schools as well as Central schools makes a gesture towards the common school model. Critics of the RTE rightly find it a weak gesture but they forget how difficult the execution of even this diluted form of common schooling is going to prove in a stratified and divided society.



    Already, lobbyists of private schools have gone to court, challenging the legal validity of the RTE. The private sector in school education has grown quite substantially and rapidly over the last two decades. Not just private schools, a strong ideological lobby which favours privatisation has also grown. Members of this lobby believe that the RTE can best be implemented by market forces and the government should subsidise these forces by distributing school vouchers. This remarkable philosophy sees the RTE as a crowning moment in the ongoing history of the state's withdrawal from education. Critics of the RTE rightly suspect that it could speed up commercial privatisation. Considering how fast popular disillusionment with the state's capacity to provide education of reasonable quality is spreading, we should not be astonished if the critics are proved right. Many State governments see privatisation as a real option, and the signals coming from the Centre seem to endorse this view.



    However, the debate over private versus public interests conceals the single greatest problem both private and government schools face: the shortage of qualified teachers. Behind this shortage lies a long history of neglect of teacher training and the poor social status of the elementary school teacher. Teacher training has remained on the margins of the Indian academia, and the training of primary school teachers outside it. The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has reinforced this message of the RTE by demanding a higher entry-level qualification for elementary teachers' training. The NCTE has also sent a strong policy signal that all courses for this level should come under the purview of universities. These signals will require sustained follow-up action, for which the NCTE will have to improve its own functioning and image as a regulatory body.



    Going by RTE norms, at least a million teachers will need to be freshly recruited and trained. The challenge of teacher recruitment and training will prove especially grim in the Hindi belt and the northeast, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir. In Bihar, the number of teachers required is very huge and the institutional capacity for training very low, and in Madhya Pradesh, no one knows how to undo the decision taken long ago to stop the recruitment of career-path teachers. In West Bengal, overlapping structures have impeded curricular and administrative reforms. These States are not the only ones battling internal legacies of neglect or confused planning. The northeastern States have a vast number of untrained and poorly qualified teachers who are already in the system. Violent conflict between the government and the people has cast a shadow on childhood in many parts of central and northeastern India. The progress of the RTE in these parts cannot be easy or smooth. This also holds true for mega-cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai where children of the poor live in Dickensian misery.



    For the southern States where the system is in better health, the RTE will pose the challenge of radical improvement in quality. How things turn out will depend on the willingness of the directorates to adjust their outworn perspective and policies to the new expectations the RTE arouses in syllabus design, teacher preparation and deployment. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are better placed than any other State to implement the RTE with confidence, but even they require radical measures to improve teacher training. The courses available are uninspiring and based on obsolete ideas. The pedagogic perspective of the National Curriculum Framework (2005) is yet to percolate into teacher education programmes.



    While the RTE's future depends on the initiative and resolve of the State governments, the Centre's role is going to be crucial too. If its policy signals remain coherent, the States will have a better chance of staying on track. One major signal the Centre must send pertains to institutional strength and capacity to deliver the RTE. No case illustrates this better than the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which has the responsibility to monitor the RTE. It is supposed to keep a vigilant eye on several million classrooms where children are to be taught and protected from corporal punishment, mental harassment and discrimination.



    How is the NCPCR going to perform this huge task with the extremely meagre infrastructure it has today? When a child falls victim to neglect, abuse or violence, the protective arms of the state must reach out fast. For a national commission to serve children in every corner of the country, it must have good State-level units with district-level branches. As of now, the NCPCR's presence in most States is barely symbolic. Between the responsibility entrusted to it and its apparatus, there is a vast gap. It has no academic staff to study cases and to work with the States to find solutions. Its first chairperson, Professor Shantha Sinha, was a tall academic figure who put in a monumental effort to make its presence felt. Asking her to stay on to initiate institution-building would have been a sensible step, and one hopes that the Ministry of Women and Child Development might still take this decision. If the NCPCR becomes an empty shell, so might the RTE.
     
  14. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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    Today I have sent this application to a School Principal
    The Principal,
    *********
    (This school is Recognized school, and the application made for a girl child whose mother has been doing petty jobs in houses, the father also do labour jobs and earn livelihood. The school has been charging exorbitantly from the child. When I contacted the School Principal, She told we can not make full fee concession as the school has to bear all expenses including Generator when there is power off and the teachers have been paid full scale which is about 20-25 thousand. If we shall provide free education then how will we run the schools. You people say that the Children should get all the facilities but when the point of fees arise then the parents don't like to pay. i said Madam the financial condition of the child is not good, kindly don't deprive her from elementary education. She has not given ear to my requests and turned out my applicaton submitted to her by hand.
    To
    The Principal,
    ***********
    Phagwara
    From:
    Rajneesh Madhok
    **********
    SUB: APPLICATION UNDER RIGHT OF CHILD TO FREE & COMPULSORY EDUCATION ACT.
    Respected Madam,
    Kindly go through the bill passed by the Indian Parliament on 4 August 2009, which describe the modalities of the provision of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.

    As education is fundamental right of every child and the act has been came in to force from 1 April 2010, As the act provides that no child shall be held back, expelled or required to pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education.

    As per the directions of the above said Act I request you to kindly admit the following student FREE AS IT IS HER RIGHT TO GET COMPULSORY EDUCATION.
    1. Name: Manisha D/o Sh. Ramesh Kumar
    2. Class: To be admitted in VIII Class as she has been passed out in 7th Class.
    3. Address: Bhagat Pura Gali No. 1, Phagwara.
    4. To be admitted in: The class incharge Madam Miss/Mrs. Sunanda.
    In addition to it I request the student to be admitted FREE OF FEES AND CHARGES as her father has been doing petty jobs and her mother has also been engaged in petty household chore jobs.
    Thanking you,
    Yours faithfully,
    Rajneesh Madhok
     

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