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JOINING HANDS IN THE INTEREST OF CHILDRENThe 86th constitutional amendment (2002), madeelementary education a fundamental right & the RTE Act(2009) described the modalities of the provision, gave the toolsto provide quality education to children. When challenged byprivate schools as unreasonable, the SC Bench said: content ofArticle 21A flows from Article 45 (as it then stood), the 2009 Acthas been enacted to give effect to Article 21A. For the abovereasons, since the Article 19(1) (g) right is not an absolute right asArticle 30(1), the 2009 Act cannot be termed as unreasonable.
Elementary education forms a foundation for alllevels of learning and development. It empowersand equips individuals with analytical capabilities,instills confidence and fortifies them with will toachieve goal-setting competencies.It, therefore, plays a pivotal role in improving thesocioeconomic condition of India and for India togrow, it is imperative that it has in place a strongelementary school driven education system. 2
Universal Elementary Education• The role of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) for strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunities to all has been accepted since the inception of our Republic.• The original Article 45 in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution mandated the State to endeavour to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to age fourteen in a period of ten years.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act• Passed by the Indian parliament on 4 August 2009. It describes 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.• India became one of the few countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on April 1, 2010. 4
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002,inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to providefree and compulsory education of all children in the agegroup of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right insuch a manner as the State may, by law, determine. TheRight of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE)Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislationenvisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child has aright to full time elementary education of satisfactory andequitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain 5essential norms and standards.
SC backs Right to EducationThe apex court upheld at least 25% students from socially and economicallythe constitutional validity backward families. Theseof the Act and directed students will be guaranteed free educationall schools, including from class I till they reachprivately-run schools, the age of 14.irrespective of the boardthey are affiliated to, toadmit from thisacademic year (2012- 613)
SC Bench said: “To put an obligation on the unaided non-minorityschool to admit 25 per cent children in class I under Section 12(1)(c) cannot be termed as an unreasonable restriction. Such a lawcannot be said to transgress any constitutional limitation. Theobject of the 2009 Act is to remove the barriers faced by a childwho seeks admission to class I and not to restrict the freedomunder Article 19(1) (g).“From the scheme of Article 21A and the 2009 Act, it is clear thatthe primary obligation is of the State to provide for free andcompulsory education to children between the age of 6 and 14years and, particularly, to children who are likely to be preventedfrom pursuing and completing the elementary education due to 7inability to afford fees or charges.”
The SC judgment said: “We hold that the Right ofChildren to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 isconstitutionally valid and shall apply to a schoolestablished, owned or controlled by the appropriateGovernment or a local authority; an aided schoolincluding aided minority school(s) receiving aid or grantsto meet whole or part of its expenses from theappropriate Government or the local authority; a schoolbelonging to specified category; and an unaided non-minority school not receiving any kind of aid or grants to 8meet its expenses from the appropriate Government orthe local authority.”
The 86th constitutional amendment (2002),And the RTE Act (2009), have given us thetools to provide quality education to all ourchildren. It is now imperative that we thepeople of India join hands to ensure theimplementation of this law in its truespirit. The Government is committed tothis task though real change will happenthrough collective action. 9
With this, India has moved forward to a rightsbased framework that casts a legal obligation onthe Central and State Governments toimplement this fundamental child right asenshrined in the Article 21A of the Constitution,in accordance with the provisions of the RTEAct.Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is implementedas India‟s main programme for universalisingelementary education. Its overall goals includeuniversal access and retention, bridging ofgender and social category gaps in educationand enhancement of learning levels of children. 10
Both the Central and state governments are responsiblefor ensuring effective implementation of the Act. There hasbeen significant improvement in terms of the number ofprimary schools, largely due to additional resources madeavailable through the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan to bridgeexisting gaps. The scheme is now being extended to thesecondary school level as well.In addition to the Government‟s initiative, the privatesector has also played a role in improving the state ofeducation in the country and continues to do so. 11
Reservation of 25% seats in privateschools for children from poorfamilies • The principle behind 25%• The school may be there but students may not reservation is to promote social integration. attend, or drop out after a few months. A school is a perfect setting• Through school & social where existing inequalities mapping, many issues in society can be bridged need to be addressed if the school encourages that prevent a weak child students to integrate from completing the process of education. psychologically, emotionally and academically. 14
RTE Act –What does it specify?• The Act makes education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 to 14 and specifies the minimum norms in government schools.• It specifies reservation of 25% seats in private schools for children from poor families, prohibits the practice of unrecognized schools, and makes provisions for no donation or capitation and no interview of the child or parent for the admission. 15
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights• The act also provides that, no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education.• Provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them at- par with the students of the same age.• Right to Education of Person with Disabilities till 18 years of age has been made a Fundamental Right.• The act provides for establishment of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for supervising of proper implementation of the act, looking after the complaints 16 and protection of Child Rights.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education(RTE) Act, 2009 has come into force with effect from April1, 2010. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Framework ofImplementation and norms for interventions have beenrevised to correspond with the provisions of the RTE Act.This includes• interventions, inter alia for opening new primary and upper primary schools as per the neighbourhood norms notified by State Governments in the RTE Rules, 17
• support for residential schools for children in areas which are sparsely populated, or hilly or densely forested with difficult terrain, and for urban deprived homeless and street children in difficult circumstances,• special training for admission of out-of-school children in age appropriate classes, additional teachers as per norms specified in the RTE Act,• two sets of uniforms for all girls, and children belonging to SC/ST/BPL families,• strengthening of academic support through block and 18 cluster resource centres, schools, etc.
Since RTE Act came into force,• 50,672 new schools,• 4.98 lakh additional classrooms,• 6.31 lakh teachers, etc• have been sanctioned to States and UTs under SSA. The fund sharing pattern between the Central and State Governments has also been revised to a sharing ratio which is more favourable to States Governments. 19
The RTE Act mandates the following timeframe for implementation of its provisions:Activity TimeframeEstablishment of neighbourhood 3 years (by 31st March, 2013)schoolsProvision of school infrastructure All weather school buildings One-classroom-one-teacher Head Teacher-cum-Office room Library 3 years (by 31st March, 2013) Toilets, drinking water Barrier free access Playground, fencing, boundary wallsProvision of teachers as per prescribed 3 years (by 31st March, 2013)Pupil Teacher RatioTraining of untrained teachers 5 years (by 31st March 2015) 20Quality interventions and other With immediate effectprovisions
Struggle for universalizingelementary education• Everybody acknowledges the value of education in the overall development of the children.• Administrators• Educationists• Development professionals• Economists• Parents 21
Administrators focus on• Enrolment• Availability of schools within walking distance• Provisioning for infrastructure• Deployment of teachers. 22
Educationists: What is Learnt, howis it presented?are concerned about• Whether or how children learn, and the• Burden of syllabi, which is passed on to• Tuition centres or Parents 23
• Development professionals discuss• The impact of years of schooling, for example on• the age of marriage and• family size.• ‘Development’ is a blessing sustained by the beneficial environment: “Trees give fruits to assist others. Rivers flow to help others. Cows produce milk to feed others. In the same way, our own human body should also be employed for the assistance of others”: Administrators, Educationists, Economists, Development professionals 24 and Parents.
Economists• talk about the economic returns on Investment in education.• Our economist PM says „ An education that enables them to acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary to become responsible and active citizens of India‟ is our commitment. 25
Parentshave expectations from the education system• that it should equip their children for gainful employment, and• economic well being.• उद्यमेन हि सिद्धयन्ति कायााणि न मनोरथैः । न हि िप्िस्य सििंिस्य प्रविशन्ति मखे मगाैः ु ु ृ• Any work will not get accomplished just merely by desiring for its completion. A prey will not 26 by itself come to the mouth of a sleeping lion.
Fulfill goals of universal elementary education• The enforcement of fundamental right to education provides us a unique opportunity to mount a mission encompassing all the above discourses to fulfill our goal of universal elementary education. 27
Implementation of RIGHT TO EDUCATION ACTprovides for all children the benefit of free and compulsory• admission,• attendance and• completionof elementary education. 28
In India, since we gained freedom of self governance,• Undoubtedly, much progress has occurred since the last sixty years of our independence and• many more children with a diverse background are accessing school.• Yet.... 29
Dropped out, child labourers• There are ‘invisible’ children_ children bonded to work with an employer,• young boys grazing cattle or working in a dhabha• girls working in the fields or as domestic help or caring for younger siblings, and• children being subjected to early marriage. Many of these children are formally enrolled in a school but 31 have either dropped out or have never been there.
Extremely vulnerable ones• Many others such as migrant and street children, who live in extremely vulnerable conditions; denying them education is against the universal nature of human rights. 32
Enrol, attend, learn, and Be empowered by education• Providing universal access itself is no longer enough; making available school facility is essential but not sufficient.• A monitoring mechanism is needed to ensure that all children attend school regularly and participate in the learning process. 33
Not attending, drop-out in a few months?• Focus must be on the factors that prevent children from regularly attending & completing elementary education. Children from• weaker sections and• disadvantaged groups, as also• girls.• SOCIAL,CULTURAL,ECONOMIC, LINGUISTIC AND PEDAGOGIC ISSUES 34
Good education is empowering• विद्याविधधवििीनेन ककिं कऱीनेन दे हिनाम ् । ु अकऱीनोऽवऩ विद्याढ्यो दििरवऩ ितद्यिे ु ॥• Of what use is nobility of family if a person is illiterate?• A learned man is respected by Gods too though he does not belong to a noble family. 35
Free, compulsory and of high quality• The right to education is free, compulsory and it includes good quality education for all.• A curriculum not only provides good reading and understanding of text books but also includes learning through activities, exploration and discovery.• Comprehension, competence, competitiveness and creativity should be developed, not forgetting compassion. 36
Education Depts of State & Union Governments have direct responsibilityTo provide• schools,• infrastructure,• trained teachers,• curriculum and• teaching-learning material, and• mid-day meal.A well coordinated mechanism is needed forinter- sectoral collaboration & convergence. 37
On the part of the whole Govts:• The factors that contribute to the achievement of the overall goal of universalizing elementary education as a fundamental right requires action on the part of the whole Governments. A well coordinated mechanism is needed for inter- sectoral collaboration & convergence. 38
Timely & appropriate financialallocations, redesign school spaces• The Finance Department to release funds at all levels.• The Public Works Dept. to re-conceive and redesign school spaces from the pedagogic perspective & Address issues of including disabled children through barrier free access. 39
Provide Social & Location Mapping ofschools, Water & sanitation facilities• The Dept. of Science & Technology to provide geo-spatial technology to perform at grass-root survey.• Provision of access to sufficient safe drinking water• Provision and access to adequate sanitation facilities, specially for girl child. 40
ROLE OF CIVIL SOCEITY in RTE• Above all, people‟s groups, civil society organizations & voluntary agencies will play an crucial role in the implementation of the RTE Act.• This will help build a new perspective on inclusiveness, encompassing gender & social inclusion, & ensure that these become integral & crosscutting concerns informing different aspects like training, curriculum and classroom transaction. 41
ROLE OF CIVIL SOCEITY• A VIBRANT CIVIL SOCEITY MOVEMENT CAN ENSURE THAT THE PARENT / CHILD FROM WEAKER OR DISADVANTAGED SECTIONS BECOME AWARE OF THE VALUE OF EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO ELEMENTARY EDUCATION AND PUT IN SERIOUS EFFORTS ON THEIR PART.• NGO contribution of knowledge, ideas and solutions to the challenges are needed. 42
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh:"We are committed to ensuring that allchildren, irrespective of gender and socialcategory, have access to education. Aneducation that enables them to acquire theskills, knowledge, values and attitudesnecessary to become responsible and activecitizens of India 43
Good teacher‟s company enables.• यैः ऩठति सऱखति ऩश्यति ऩररऩच्छिी ऩन्डििान ् ृ उऩाश्रयवऩ । िस्य हदिाकरककरिैः नसऱनी दऱिं इि विस्िाररिा बुवद्धैः ॥• One who reads, writes, sees, inquires, lives in the company of learned men, his intellect expands like the lotus leaf does because of the rays of sun. 44
► A key issue being raised against theprovisions of the RTE Act is the absenceof provisions for improving the job conditions ofteachers. This leads to limited availability ofquality teachers in rural or inaccessible areas.► According to analysts, teacher training is oneof the biggest requirements of thecurrent system and has been neglected by theAct. 50
Since the Government has finite resources,reimbursing expenses to private schools willbe at the expense of government schools.Therefore, it should be made voluntary forprivate schools reserve seats for children fromdisadvantaged sections of society. It is unfairto make this applicable for all private schools.“The whole idea of reimbursement ofexpenses to private schools is a case of pooreconomics. If the government is unable tomeet the expenses from where will itgenerate additional resources to reimbursethe private schools”. 58Prof. Praveen Jha, JNU