seven questions on the right to education bill

* will it send chief ministers who do not work towards putting every child in school to jail?
* will it ensure that all children shall go to the same kind of schools?
* will it ensure that all children going to state schools shall go to the same kind of schools?
* will it ensure that all children going to aided, unaided schools shall go to the same kind of schools?
* will it ensure that all children going to private schools, shall go to the same kind of schools?
* will it ensure that all children learn in the language, at least in elementary stage (upto class 8), they speak at home?
* will it ensure that all children learn in the language they speak at home upto class 5 (at least)?

no. that's the answer to all those questions. i'm talking about the 'right to education bill' that's been passed today in the rajya sabha. the ruling classes seem to have no interest in ensuring equality of opportunity- not even at elementary school level.

the media seems overly impressed with the idea that 25% of all seats shall be reserved for children from the weaker and disadvantaged sections, specified by the government as those from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and educationally or economically backward classes- i find that one of the more disgusting aspects of the bill. 85% of the children in the country shall get 25% of the seats? and where are the rest of the kids from these so-called disadvantaged sections supposed to go? and why should any kid need reservations if the bill promises every child compulsory education?

in my view, the aim of the bill is to i) continue to foster inequality, provide inadequate access to elementary education to the marginalized sections of indian society (or maintain the existing caste system in education that i'd talked about in this post) and ii) endorse and legitimize the public funding of the privileges of a few, and provide more funds and support for their private elitist education.

update: forgot to add the words 'to jail' at the end of the first question. i believe that's where every chief minister and his team should actually be, when he doesn't perform- i believe every state government should be measured first on the basis of its performance in the area of elementary education.


SS said...

I wish you'd talk about the other side of the coin as well. The thing about Rights is that they are guaranteed by the Constitution all right, but the onus is on the citizen to move a court of law and enforce them if they are violated. Now, how many citizens in this country will even bother about/lose sleep over (forget moving courts!) children deprived of education? Parents will protest the hike in fees by private schools, but not the standard of state-run schools. It's all of us, Kuffir. The politicians are just the symptom.

Kiran said...

Government seems to have abdicated its role in providing education to its citizen. A mere 69 MPs were present in RS during this bill discussion. Education now is to be provided by private institutions whose motivations range from religious to caste to political and to pure commerce.

I suspect in not so distant future Government will see schools as lucrative real estate and announce plans for divestment from this sector - with stock markets and media cheering it up.

kuffir said...


i don't get it. parents who protest hike in private school fees, don't care about state-run schools because their children don't go there- why should they?

SS said...


True. Why indeed. It is the government's concern. And governments will only (at least appear to) work on issues that bring them votes. Education clearly doesn't. And those who know the value of education are quite happy keeping it to themselves.

Kiran said...

The issue here is that domination of other castes on Indian policy. They draft policy that suits them. Democracy, votes, Constitution are attempts against this tsunami of caste oppression. They moderate the castiest fuckers but not yet tamed them.

Shruti said...

Dear Kufr and everyone,
There was a citizen's hearing on the bill today in Delhi where several issues were highlighted--the bill's shortcomings,absence of addressal of several relevant/related socio-cultural issues, the blatant disinterest of the govt in involving the public, making it a more 'public' bill which gets enough public space for debate and discussion and then accordingly introduce clauses, and the strange 100 days deadline and an unwillingness to take time over it etc.
The nationwide campaign to talk about the bill, to insist on a public debate and to force the govt to take cognizance of public response before the passing of the bill in its current state is being headed by Mr Anil Sadgopal, a senior DU Professor.I think what we all need to do, what I intend doing is lend it support, join it. To doggedly pursue this as citizens, post recommedations, highlight points, spread a signature petition, whatever it takes, if we really care about it enough. Or it'll never get heard, taken seriously by any govt as this one isnt.I dont have the URL of his campaign, but my suggestion is we look for it, add our recommedations/changes to the bill clauses,any knowledge you have of any specific education related situation you know at school level and place it there.The campaigners have specifically asked the public to submit their information, suggestions in writing with their names and numbers, so it can be brought out as a document by the public: of the public's response to a bill that will have such sweeping, far reaching effects.
My apologies for not having the campaign's web details to provide here. But googling for Mr Sadgopal and the bill ought to reveal something.

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