Right To Education

Last night I was listening to an enlightening discussion on Right to education on NDTV. Barkha Dutt was interviewing Minister of Human Resources Development,Kapil Sibal. The audience comprised of students and teachers from various fields. I must confess here that I find our HRD minister very efficient. He is a man of action. A great visionary. Instead f short term goals he has an eye on the future.

Like I said in one previous post, our education system needs a massive overhaul. Starting from the basic primary education to the highest degrees, our system is grossly inefficient and archaic. This man with his ideas is trying to bring India’s education at par with international standards.

We can discuss on the nitty-gritty’s of education system in some future post. Right now we can focus on the RTE.

SO what is RTE?

In a nutshell, Right to education guarantees children aged between 6 to 14 years the right to study in government schools for free, irrespective of their social and economic backgrounds. The private institutions will have to reserve 25% seats for economically disabled students and have to provide them with financial aid for pursuing their studies. The government also proposes to bring school to everyone’s doorstep and plans to build one school in every 1Km of targeted areas.

In India, 220 million children go to school. But with advancing classes the number of dropouts surges! Only 18 million in India are lucky enough to avail college education. So the rest 202 million children are deprived of education. Sociologists working at grassroots will be able to guess the reason for such high rate of dropouts. In a family where eating two square meals in a day is a luxury, schooling is but elitism. Many students from not so “well-to-do” families face scorn and bullying at school from so called “elites”. This makes them school-phobic. Mostly girls are taken off schools after they reach puberty, to make them learn household chores – something that they would require in future married life rather than the puzzles of the human body or the universe. In many cases the medium of instruction becomes a great divide. The “English medium educated” students look down upon students from vernacular schools. The race for getting admitted to a Private English medium school has given rise to mushrooming of such schools where “education” is missing. Moreover the quality of education imparted at government institutions is also a big hitch. Teachers in many places just make an appearance in class but do not bother to teach. Lack of accountability makes them arrogant. The government is short of 5 lakh teachers. In many parts of the country the one single teacher has to teach many classes together due to shortage of teaching capacity. This definitely qualifies as a herculean task for the government.

Kapil Sibal sounded very optimistic. He stressed on hope for every problem facing this act. Increased co-operation from the civil society would go a long way to make this act a success. He asked each one of us – the “educated” elites – to spread the message. Recruitment of teachers would continue and he set a target of 5 years by which this law would be fully active and generate results.

But the problem of implementation remains. Time Of India showed the way with Teach India campaign. The government can re introduce that to recruit teachers. But what about the monitoring of quality? Who will see whether the money sanctioned for the education of the downtrodden is actually spent for them? Moreover where will such a huge amount of funding come from?

Already politics has started over this act. The chief minister who can spend crores for statues and garlands does not have money in the coffers for education of the dalits!!! And I fear the same will happen in many other states where the Ruling UPA is not in power!

Come what may this law should be enacted in letter and spirit. It looks good on paper and imagine what a great country our nation would be if we could actually guarantee that the nation’s future goes to school and not t work in a tea stall. The onus lies with us as much as it lies with the government.

About Agnivo Niyogi

Typical Aantel, reader, blogger, news addict, opinionated. Digital media enthusiast. Didi fanboi. Joy Bangla!

Posted on April 6, 2010, in Politics, Social Issues and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. On the Blog: Well, nice post. I had also watched that show so the blog seemed to be revolving around what i heard on that show. On the RTE: Though the RTE act seems to be a great way forward, I feel it's not easy to implement them on ground. It will be difficult to raise fund for many state governments like Orissa, UP, Bihar etc which states are not so rich. But with Karnataka supporting the act, i dont feel there is any kind of politics involved. But the fact remains that some govt.s may not be able to raise requisite funds. There are lots of other issues to deal with. Quality of teachers has to be ensured while we are already dealing with the problem of quantity. How the administration brings children to the schools is another concern. But i feel, best way to deal with the problem is by implementing it, not by postponing it and or HRD min looks confident enough to see all these are implemented on ground. Mr Sibbal should be made isolated from party politics and should give full time in this area. Our country is already running late in the field of education. if we need to be the super power, we must generate knowledge not consume knowledge as we are presently trying to do. So the best step is in the forward direction, Let's just do it.🙂

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  2. first of all : nice vocab :)many people in india are very poor, the thought of sending kids to school doesn't hit their mind, Government has to ensure for proper eductaion at govt. schools, also at higher level, where finance is an important factor, educational loans etc. should be provided to the deserving children…

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  3. Some one you might know

    I am an elitist at heart. I do not subscribe to the idea of equality of all men, nope! no siree, not me, there are some people who are just much more able than their peers. But it is a travesty of ideas to suggest, it is an elitist idea to deny education. Actually, I very much support this idea! I would however please ask the government to subscribe to some realism, as to understanding, as much as a welfare state responsibility lies with them to make a proper and workable business model out of this project. Let's face it , if there is no reasonable business model to back this up, sorry, not going to work for long! I am optimistic however that our leaders will be long drawn enough as usual in their rhetoric for the rest of us to make sense of it, and actually do our masses some good! It is time India Woke up!

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  4. @dibya….. completely subscribe to ur ideas.@subhro well always the govt cannot do everything unless we help it!🙂 moreover turning education into a business wud be disastrous! it wud mean more money less quality@stephen yes! its our duty to try in our own ways to impart education to children

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  5. Wow! I was talking abt this today and here I see your post on RTE… good work.. by the way, even Food Security Act is going to help our case..at last the cherished "Indian Dream" of Roti, Kapda, Makaan aur Gyaan! Good job bro! Keep writing.

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  6. @shakti FSB….hmmm a future post from my kitty!!! LOL

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  7. Some one you might know

    My lord! the business of education is not disastrous! believe me it is not! After all, the teachers and the institutions do not run on just ideas and morality the way many preach it! nope! It is only reasonable to wish for a more professional educational system, and no professional does not mean detached, it means more focused, and less of the biog rhetoric. Education is about building a Human being, it does not come cheap. Not talking about money here, it is so much more than just money.It is time people wake up to the fact, if it is not reasonable it is not even moral to do something. By business models I do not mean setting up of schools modeled on mass producing industrial products, but rather places of truly professional imparting of knowledge. Nothing less, nothing more either.

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  8. @subhro on this >>> "By business models I do not mean setting up of schools modeled on mass producing industrial products, but rather places of truly professional imparting of knowledge. Nothing less, nothing more either." i am completely with you, but yeah i agree with you commodification of education should stop. i want to ask.Will any private school come out and help any under priviledged kid if it had no "monetary profit" in it? i think no! in today's world everyone looks for the benefits he or she would derive from a deal.so it would be unfair to even think of big biz houses to take part in this noble cause.

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  9. Some one you might know

    @Agnivo da I do not believe that the Right to Education is anything of a "noble cause" no it is not. Ir can be a simple gesture which pushes India into the next century, instead of being stuck to the early 20th century in terms of quality of life.Also I would not like the fact if Private institutions are made to pay through their noses for this Right to Education thingy, I believe, private schools are segregatory for a good reason (yeah , call me elitist, you would be right)one cannot milk them dry, yes, call for a share in their expertise, not profits, it is those profits which actually put their quality of education at a higher plane, yeah I know, I read in a private school, whereas they did their best to preach to me, that we all were equal, but at the end of the day, we are not (for more references read Animal Farm). So it is not unfair, no, it is just damned unreasonable for fully private schools running on no aid but the fees of their students, being forced into RTE quotas. It would be great if they volunteer, but if not, do not make them a social spectacle, I simp0ly cannot believe God is a communist, who will force all to share everything.You see propriety is needed even in education, unfortunately epistemology of reason, is not that widely followed, and people forget that money is the one truly honest medium, which has been vilified by the ones who do not have enough of it. So my point after this long winding post is this, DO NOT force private schools if they are NOT Government aided. If however they are government aided, they are contractually bound to follow up and fall in line with Governmental policy.

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  10. @subhro well on this matter i would like to quote Sibal himself.private players are only 7% in the indian edu system.so the onus lies with the government.But the "elite" private schools cannot shirk responsibility.I agree they thrive on fees but they have their own ways of funding too.and u will agree the fees they charge are exorbitant!So they need to be reigned in too! and if its this way…why not!!! why would our money just fill their coffers…if it can be of use to the society so be it!Secondly.No this RTE is not a social cause! It is a RIGHT.everyone has a right to education.some just cannot claim that right.It is imperative then that we help them get their dues!Just imagine.The country's future begging on the street instead of studying in the classroom! this very thought should invigorate us to do something for this cause!

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  11. Hitesh Kumar J

    I watched that show with @bdutt and Mr.Kapil.He singlehandedly destroyed the negative stereotype we have of Indian Politicians.He was very open and frank in explaining the RTE.A point I liked most was he didn't make blanket promises.He made it clear that this initiative is something which needs participation from us aam aadmi.Regarding the challenges RTE faces,I believe we need to repeatedly question the administration when we find RTE not being enforced in letter and spirit.RTE is that single most important thing which has happened to Indian education.If we are to compete with China,RTE is not something to be debated and made in to a political issue,it's the basic foundation needed.

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  12. Aditya Nandode

    Well the way UP is behaving, i do not see any future for that state, politics apart, will people like you and me be ready to teach India in govt schools at that salary?

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  13. @aditya i did it for free for Teach India…but yeah its a pertinent question.But hey government employees get really fat pay packets! Not that meager bhai!Actually you have touched upon a good point.How many of us would really be interested in doing our nation a favor!

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  14. Some one you might know

    @Agnivo Da Lost you there among your words and wide generalizations about society and what are social causes. Truly speaking, the attitude that everybody has to be reigned in such a load of Crap! Why control those who can be better huh? just because some who is not as good might never ever reach their level if the better person were not to be reigned in?You have read in the Calcutta University haven't you? What once used to be the premiere University in this country is a victim of that attitude " So they need to be reigned in too! and if its this way…why not!!! " You see, the Communists in Bengla wanted all universities at the same level, and rather than bringing up other universities to the level of CU they brought down CU with politicizations, and what nots to GROUND Level, I mean look at the bloody CU Senate…what is going on anyway? Do you understand why the government should never interfere? Not even in the least?I feel bad that in our minds there is this hard-wiring about altruism and the greater good, well, If we are that concerned, why do most of us run after high-paying jobs eh? Rather than applying for the posts of Village educators? I do not have any illusions about the fact that RTE is the right way to go! Heck! Education should be imparted to all, but NO NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS!

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  15. Somesh Mukherjee

    well, I agree with Subhro. All Equals are not equal. ya maybe some rickshaw driver's son gets into IIT, but what about the thousand well to do ppl that get into IIT? So one rickshaw-driver's son a year is suddenly better than all of them. You are where you wereSecondly, as I said on my blog, you free education is useless if its not good education. Apart from all this, I think its a great idea

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  16. Aditya Nandode

    Yaar, just check the pending salaries for teachers all over India, you will understand the concept of Fat Salary Package.

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  17. @somesh A middle class person's child gets access to a lot of more resources than a rickshaw puller's son,so if the latter gets a rank in the IITs his achievement is obviously greater than the middle class guy.I did not even mention the rich people.they can build their own institutions if they want to.@subhro what u said about politicisation of CU is something which we all know and agree on! why CU look at Presi!!!!the fuss over its upgradation!!!! To both of you….i know the realities that all equals are actually not equals. That needs to be changed! The underprivileged class needs a boost of sorts to at least be on par with the well to do class.And that would never be at the cost of the "well to do". Why do we pay taxes? Coz we are a socialist nation.the rich man pays his tax so that the poor can benefit(theoretically).So same with private institutions.Those who pay 5000 bucks as monthly tuition fees can pay 6000 also! for the sake of the underprivileged.And about the quality of education.Well i already posted an update on that some time back!@aditya Hmmm yeah i agree on that!

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  18. Somesh Mukherjee

    as I said I agree with Subhr0, there'll be a lot more taxes. Frankly I have little faith in Government machinery. There's a high chance that most of the money will go directly into pockets of babus, headmasters and other honchos. Having said that, its a great idea, and an ambitious one. Hope the Government can actually make it work. but one thing that I don't understand is: how will it make it complusory? you gonna decapitate the parents ffor not sending their kids to school. you need some strong machinery to establish that. like incentives or a child services sort of thing.

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