Illiteracy is our sin and shame and must be liquidated.
By Mahatma Gandhi
Education has an immense impact on the human society. One can safely assume that a person is not in the proper sense till he is educated. It trains the human mind to think and take the right decision. In other words, man becomes a rational animal when he is educated.
It is through education that knowledge and information is received and spread throughout the world. An uneducated person cannot read and write and hence he is closed to all the knowledge and wisdom he can gain through books and other mediums. In other words, he is shut off from the outside world. In contrast, an educated man lives in a room with all its windows open towards outside world. Without education, a man is so circumstanced he know not how to make best of himself. Therefore, for him the purpose of society is ab-initio frustrated.
Education is powerful because without it, early civilizations would have struggled to survive and thrive as a culture. It is important that adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on. It is universally accepted that education empowers the people for the full development of human personality, strengthens the respect for human rights, and helps to overcome exploitations and traditional inequalities of caste, class and gender.
Without knowledge you can’t be informed nor can you truly understand the meaning of many topics. It is important to have knowledge, so you can pass your knowledge to the next generation. Education is important because it equips us with all that is needed to make our dreams come true. Education opens doors of brilliant career opportunities. It fetches better prospects in career and growth. It is a preparation for living in a better way in future with an ability to participate successfully in the modern economy and society. Education is empowerment for socio-economic mobility, an instrument for reducing socio-economic inequalities, and equipment to trigger growth and development.It is through education that knowledge and information is received and spread throughout the world.
There has been a paradigm shift in this sphere: from education as a transcendental and value to education to cost recovery system. The feature such as commodification of education, private sector’s dominance in higher education, and market-driven education flowing from world trade law stand juxtaposed to the fact that largest pool of illiterates is in India and high dropouts of students even at primary level here is owing to economic reasons. The linkage of right to education to right to dignified life, equality, freedom and cultural and minority right has made it highly intricate and the extent of regulations relating to it from different perspectives, quite complex.
The right to education originates from the apparent motion that it obligatory for the state to provide education to its citizens. The core of the right to education relates to its substance, which differs from education itself. Effective and transformative education should be the result of the exercise of the right toeducation, which is a universal human right. The right is about the entitlement to claim the substance of it; it relates to the possibility of demanding the right to education and making it justiciable.
The substance of the right to education is given in broad terms by international legislation but realmeaning is given to it as national legislators incorporate it. The process of incorporation is more important than the process of adhering to an international treaty because it is this incorporation that entitles people to demand for their right to education.
The importance of education cannot be neglected by any nation. And in today’s world, the role of education has become even more vital. It is an absolute necessity for economic and social development of any nation. In the context of a democratic form of the government like ours, education is at once a social and political necessity. Even several decades ago, our leaders harped upon universal primary education as a desideration for national progress. It is rather sad than in this great land of ours where knowledge first lit its torch and where the human mind soared to the highest pinnacle of wisdom, the percentage of illiteracy should be appalling. Today, the foremost need to be satisfied by our education is, therefore, the eradication of illiteracy which persists in a depressing measure. A true democracy is one where education is universal and the nation and know-how to govern themselves.
Education is undoubtedly a human right which has been transformed into a “luxury” instead of a right in many places. Signs of that can be seen through words and images of student journalists who report on thecondition of education worldwide for the Education for All consortia and observe that hindrances in education range from lack of schools in Mozambique to issues that affect curricula formulation and not living up to the prestige of a previous era, like in the Russian Federation system. In India the situation is no different as many people were excluded from their right to education for very many years. . It is rather sad that in this great land of ours where knowledge first lit its torch and where the human mind soared to the highest pinnacle of wisdom, the percentage of illiteracy should be appalling. Today, the foremost need to be satisfied by our education is, therefore, the eradication of illiteracy which persists in a depressing measure. A true democracy is one where education is universal and where people understand what is good for them and the nation and know-how to govern themselves.
In this background, “Implementation and Enforcement of Right to Education in India”attempts to analytical study of right to education in India. This project is divided into four chapters. First chapter concentrate on the historical prospective of Indian education system which deals with the demand for free education in pre-independence period. The second chapter deals with various committees and national policies formed in relation to fulfilment of the demand of free and compulsory education. The third chapter concentrate on the constitutional provisions and judicial trends that followed. The fourth chapter concentrates on the administrative steps taken by the government for the enforcement and implementation of free and compulsory education in India. This chapter also shows the some lacunas in programmes and gives some data about present situations.This project also suggests some ideas to make programmes effective.
Education System: Historical Prospective
1.1. Demand for Free and Compulsory Education in the Pre Constitutional Era
Education has its functionalism in almost all sphere of life. Its signification can never be marginalized. An educated society prepares the present generation for a bright future and enables the individual to galvanize the capacity of collective. More than 2300 years back Chanakya had said “that mother and that father are enemies, who do not give education to their children”. In the recent past Nelson Mandela had proclaimed, “Education is most powerful weapon which you can to change the world”
There is disagreement amongst scholars regarding the origin and nature of the education system in ancient India. Some of them hold the view that it is difficult to speak of ancient Indian education with certainty, as our information is based on the documents of ‘unequal value and unequal date.’ Nevertheless, it may be stated that education in India has been notorious for not being socially inclusive. Till the 19th century, it was largely considered a privilege restricted to persons at the higher end of the caste or class system. History is replete with examples of caste, class and gender-based discrimination in imparting education. Education was the sole privilege of the priestly castes (Brahmins) primarily because of the religious basis for the content of education, coupled with the elitist medium of instruction that was chose to impart the knowledge. Admission to Gurukulas or Ashramas was not open to all. People from lower castes, and socalled ‘shudras’ (untouchables), in particular, were barred from receiving education. Several learned Brahmins started Pathasalas (schools) in important towns where they received patronage. The Muslim rulers of the Indian sub-continent also did not consider education as a function of the State. It was perceived as a branch of religion and therefore entrusted to learned theologianscalled ‘Ulemas’. Therefore, in ancient and medieval India, education was intertwined with religion. From the location of Gurukulas to excluding sections of the society from accessineducation, the system of education was clearly not accessible to all persons.
The discovery of the sea route to India, in 1498, influenced the course of development of education in the Indian sub-continent. Although many scholars have commended the British policy of introducing modern education, it was not a spontaneous benevolent act. The progress in education was facilitated with a view to serving their vested interests, i.e., to train Indians as clerks, managers and other subordinate workers to staff their vast politico-administrative machinery. However, education of the ‘Indian masses’ was largely neglected, and by the beginning of nineteenth century, it was in shambles. The demand for education in India can be traced back to the early stages of the freedom struggle in British India. It subsequently became an integral part of the freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress fought valiantly for the expansion of elementary education and literacy, in general, and in rural India, in particular. The first law on compulsory education was introduced by the State of Baroda in 1906. This law provided for compulsory education for boys and girls in the age groups of 7–12 years and 7–10 years respectively. The Legislative Council of Bombay was the first amongst the Provinces to adopt a law on compulsory education. Gradually, other Provinces followed suit as control over elementary education was transferred to Indian Ministers under the Government of India Act, 1919. However, even though Provincial Legislatures had greater control and autonomy in enacting laws, progress in universalizing education was poor due to lack of control over resources.
In 1937, at the All India National Conference on Education held at Wardha, Gandhi mooted the idea of self-supporting ‘basic education’ for a period of seven years through vocational and manual training. This concept of self-support was floated in order to counter the Government’s constant excuse of lack of resources. The plan was to not only educate children through vocational training/manual training by choosing a particular handicraft, but also to simultaneously use the income generated from the sale of such handicrafts to partly finance basic education. Furthermore, education was supposed to be in the mother tongue of the pupils with Hindustani as a compulsory subject.
Despite the consistent demand for free and compulsory education during the freedom struggle, at the time of drafting the Constitution, there was no unanimous view that the citizens of India should have a right to education, let alone a fundamental right. The Constitution Assembly Debates reveal that an amendment was moved to alter the draft Article relating to FCE, by removing the term entitled to ensure that it was merely a non-justifiable policy directive in the Constitution. Therefore FCE made its way into the Constitution as a directive principle of State Policy under the former Article 45, whereby States were required to ensure that free and compulsory education was provided to all children till the age of fourteen.
The effects of above mentioned initiatives had come in forms of various committees and national policies on education. In next chapter I have mentioned about such committees and policies.
Policies and Committees on Education
As the demand and supply rules always present in society, after being felt, the great importance and demand of education for the development of new independent India, Government of India moved forward in this direction and made various efforts to make India educated.
2.1Kothari Commission (1964)
In view of the important rote of education in the national development and in building up a truly democratic society the Government considered it necessary to survey and examines the entire field of education in order to realize a well-balanced, integrated and adequate system of national education capable of making a powerful contribution to all aspects of national life. To achieve these objectives speedily, the Government of India in October 1964 set up an Education Commission, under Resolution of July 14, 1964.
The Commission in particular was to advise the government on the national pattern of education and on the general policies for the development of education at all stages-ranging from the primary to post-graduate stage and in all its aspects besides examining a host of educational problems in their social and economic context. The Commission was, however, not to examine legal and medical education.
The Commission in its report in 1964-66 recommended the establishment of a Common School System for all children irrespective of their class, caste, religious or linguistic background. The commission stated that in order to fulfil this purpose, neighbourhood schools should be established in all localities. It also recognized that this was the only way we can promote social harmony and equality of education. This commission given much importance to CommonSchool System because they said that by common school system will eradicate many problems and give common platform to every individual.
NEED FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSION:
1) Need for a comprehensive policy of education in spite no. of educationcommittees after independence, satisfactory progress would not beachieved.
2) Need for detailed study even though a good deal of expansion ofeducation facilities took place, it was at the expanse of quality.
3) Need to emphasize role of people in national development.Tomake people aware that they have a share in the nationaldevelopment along with the government.
4) Need for overview of educational development.To create more integration between various parts and consider it as awhole not as fragments.
5) Need for positive approach to the status of teacher.The teacher community had been neglected suffering many hardships requiring a positiveapproach to the problem.
2.2 The National Policy on Education, (1968)
The National Policy of 1968 marked a significant step in the history of education in post-Independence India. It aimed to promote national progress, a sense of common citizenship and culture, and to strengthen national integration. It laid stress on the need for a radical reconstruction of the education system, to improve its quality at all stages, and gave much greater attention to science and technology, the cultivation of moral values and a closer relation between education and the life of the people.
After the adoption of the 1968 Policy, there has been considerable expansion in educational facilities all over the country at all levels. More than 9 % of the country’s rural habitations now have schooling facilities within a radius of one kilometer. There has been sizeable augmentation of facilities at other stages also. Perhaps the most notable development has been the acceptance of a common structure of education throughout the country and the introduction of the 1 +2+3 system by most States. In the school curricula, in addition to laying down a common scheme of studies for boys and girls, science and mathematics were incorporated as compulsory subjects and work experience assigned a place of importance.
A beginning was also made in restructuring of courses at the undergraduate level. Centers of Advanced Studies were set up for post-graduate education and research. And we have been able to meet our requirements of educated manpower.
While these achievements are impressive by themselves, the general formulations incorporated in the 1968 Policy did not, however, get translated into a detailed strategy of implementation, accompanied by the assignment of specific responsibilities and financial and organizational support. As a result, problems of access, quality, quantity, utility and financial outlay,accumulated to implement all the provision. Besides, a variety of new challenges and social needs make it imperative for the Government to formulate and implement a new Education Policy for the country.
2.3 The National Policy For Children, 1974
The National Policy for Children 1974 was founded on the conviction that child development programmes are necessary to ensure equality of opportunity to these children. It provides the framework for assigning priorities to different needs of children, and for responding to them in an integrated manner. Other policies, programmes and schemes for child development have been formulated, keeping in mind the objectives of this National Policy. The National Policy provides the framework for assigning priorities to different needs of children, and for responding to them in an integrated manner. Other policies, programmes and schemes for child development have been formulated, keeping in mind the objectives of this National Policy. The policy reaffirmed the constitutional provisions for adequate services to children, both before and after birth and through the period of growth to ensure their full physical, mental and social development.
Accordingly, the government is taking action to review the national and state legislation and bring it in line with the provisions of the Convention. The aim of this policy also was to inserts much new provision relating this child policy in constitution. “It shall be the policy of the State to provide adequate services to the children, both before and after birth and though the period of growth, to ensure their full physical, mental and social development. The State shall progressively increase the scope of such services so that, within a reasonable time, all children in the country enjoy optimum conditions for their Balance growth. ”
In particular, the following measures shall be adopted towards the attainment of these objectivesthat all children shall be covered by a comprehensive health programmes, programmes shall beimplemented to provide nutrition services with the object of removing deficiencies in the diet ofchildren, programmes will be undertaken for the general improvement of the health and for thecare, nutrition and nutrition education of expectant and nursing mothers.
The State shall take steps to provide free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of fourteen for which time-bound programmes will be drawn up consistent with the availability of resources. Special efforts will be made to reduce the prevailing wastage and stagnation in schools, particularly in the case of girls and children of the weaker sections of the society. The programmes of informal education for pre-school children from such sections will also be taken up.
This policy not only given facilities regarding the education but also tried to eliminate the restriction in social life of children by protecting against neglect, cruelty and exploitation and no child under 14 years shall be permitted to be engaged in any hazardous occupation or be made to undertake heavy work. This policy also emphasis on amendment of existing laws to be amended so that in all legal disputes whether between parents or institutions, the interest of children are given paramount consideration.
2.4 National Policy on Education, (1986)
The National Policy on Higher Education (1986 ) translated the vision of Radhakrishnan Commission and Kothari Commission in five main goals for higher education, as enumerated below; which include Greater Access, Equal Access (or Equity), Quality and Excellence, Relevance and Value Based Education.
1. Greater Access requires an enhancement in the education institutional capacity to provide opportunities to all who deserve and desire higher education.
2. Equity involves fair access to the poor and the socially disadvantaged groups.
3. Quality and Excellence involve provision of education by accepted standard so that students receive available knowledge of the highest standard and help them to enhancetheir human resource capabilities.
4. Relevance involves promotion of education so as to develop human resources keeping pace with the changing economic, social and cultural development of the country;
2.5 165th Law Commission Report, 1998
• Advocated legislation of a central Act for providing free and compulsory education without waiting for any amendment in the Constitution of India.
• Suggested to include private unaided institutions in the scheme of free and compulsoryEducation.
• Advocated dispensing with the tuition fee, providing free text books, free uniform, freelunch, etc. whatever necessary.
• Interpreted compulsion as:
• Compulsion on state
• Compulsion on parents
• Compulsion on society
As the effects of all above mentioned committees and policies is the 86th amendment of constitution which added a new clause in Art. 21 and created new clause, Art. 21-A. Apart form all these things, the Constitution of India holds the spirit of education in itself from very beginning. In next chapter we will see, how the Constitution of India explain this spirit.
Constitution Provisions and Judicial Trends
Making India educated, judiciary of India has explained the concept of education , as the constitution holds in itself, by delivering various decisions. In this chapter, we finds how judiciary explained all these things.
3.1 Identification of Right to Education with reference to Part IV and Art. 21 and 14
The extent of right to education as a component of right to life is determined with reference to State’s duty under Part IV of the Constitution and by applying Art.21. While primary and secondary education is inevitable for the right to life, attainment of higher education is not indispensible for human dignity. The opportunity for higher learning depends upon individual aptitude and capacity of student.
Under the ICSECR, primary education is directed to be compulsory and free for all, whereas concerning higher education, equal accessibility base on individual capacity is assured. Universal Declaration of Human Rights also makes such distinction.
According to Article 45 of the constitution, “The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years”. While this duty isirrespective of State’s economic ability, under Art.41 State’s duty of making effective provision for securing right to education is “within the limits of its economic capacity and development”. Since positive rights of life are carved out in case law by gathering the values of Part IV, the above dichotomy necessarily influenced stage-wise differentiation in recognizing right to education as a component of right to life.
Initially, the Three Judges Bench of the Supreme Court Mohini Jain ruled that right to education at all levels is concomitant to the fundamental rights observed, “The State is under a constitutional mandate to provide educational institutions at all levels for the benefit of citizens”. But the Five Judges Bench of Supreme Court in Unnikrishnan v State of A.P. overruled the principle laid down in Mohini Jain’s case. The majority in Unnikrishnan viewed that content of right was to be determined in the light of Directive Principles, and so understood it meant that (a) every child/citizen of this country has a right to free education until he completes the age of fourteen years and (b) after a child/citizen completes 14 years, his right to education is circumscribed by the limits of economic capacity of the State and its development.
A landmark development in the matter of right to primary and secondary education is the passing and incorporation of the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act 2002. It inserted a new Article 21-A that states, “ The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may by the law, determine.” It substituted Article 45: “The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years”. A new fundamental duties was added in Art.51-A, so that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India “who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years”. The interactions of provisions in Arts.19(1)(g), 26(1), 29(1) and 30(1) vis-à-vis Art.21-A would means that State has power and duty to ensure right to education under Art.21-A by imposing reasonable obligation upon private educational institutions to realize the objective of compulsory education.
3.2 Right to education and rights under Arts.19, 21, 26, 29 and 30
Right to education has a relation of mutual assistance with other positive rights of life and with various liberties. The links of educational rights with freedom under Art.19 are also significant. In Santosh Kumar , while ordering that Sanskrit should also be included as one of the optional languages at the level of secondary education, the Supreme Court replied on the aspects of freedom of speech and conversation of culture.
The role of freedom of association in forming educational institutions is given judicial recognition in D.A.V. College and Unnikrishnan. In Unnikrishnan, the Court ruled that Professional Education Intitutions could be established by registered societies only. The role played by educational associations at lower levels of education is also important.
About Art. 26(a) as the basis for educational right, the Supreme Court in Bramhachari Siddeshwar ruled that religious denominations could establish institutions for charitable purpose subject to limitations prescribed under Art. 26(1). The TMA Pai Foundation judgment made significant contribution in this sphere by holding, “The right to establish maintain educational institutions may also be sourced to Art. 26(a), which grants, in positive terms, the right to every religious denomination of any section thereof to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purpose, subject to public order, health and morality. Education is a recognized head of charity. Therefore, religious denominations or sections thereof, which do not fall within the special categories carved out in Art. 29(1) and 30(1), have the right to establish and maintain religious and educational institutions”. This enables the religious denominations of majority religious community also to set up any educational institution.
The rights of any section of every citizens, under Art. 29(1) having distinct language, script or culture of their own to conserve the same entitles them to establish and maintain educational institution for this purpose. The right of religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions for their choice under Art. 30(1) also provides a basis and opportunity for education.
3.3 Right to Education and Right to Equality
While the Supreme Court, in its recent judgment in the Mohini Jain v Karnataka case, may be faulted on both doctrinal and practical grounds for its use of article 21 of the Constitution for articulating the right to education, its indictment of the capitation fee system has not come a day too soon. THE Supreme Court has recently declared that right to education was a fundamental right and that the charging of capitation fee was arbitrary, unfair and therefore violative of the fundamental right to equality contained in article 14 of the Constitution. Since the decision of the Supreme Court is the law of the land, the above decision has created a storm in the educational world. The immediate reactions have been hostile to the decision. Usual comments such as that the court has gone too far or that the decision is impractical have already come in. While we share the court’s agony over the immoral practice of capitation fee in the new medical and engineering colleges, some wider propositions enunciated therein need careful examination. The purpose of this article is to examine the three leading propositions, namely
(1) That every person has the right to education as part of his right to live with dignity included in article 21 of the Constitution;
(2) That the practice of capitation fee is violative of the guarantee of equality enshrined in article 14 of the Constitution; and
(3) That the state is under a constitutional mandate to provide educational institutions at all levels for the benefit of its citizens.
Some of the outstanding development and application of right to equality in India have been in the domain of educational right. Brown v. Board of Education decision on progressive desegregation has expanded the scope of right to education. In India, in addition to general provisions like Art. 14 and 15(1), the principle of non-discrimination in the matter of admission to State funded educational institutions, is laid down in Art. 29(2). Quashing of a Communal GO, which had provided for compartmentalised treatment of caste-based claims in admission to educational institutions, was the starting point set in Smt. Champakam Dorairajan . The subsequent insertion of Art. 15(4) for enabling special provision for SEBC, SC and ST was to give a dimension of substantive equality to the disadvantaged sections of the society. In Ajay Hasia v. Khalid Mujib, right to equality could be claimed in the matter of admission to engineering college run by a registered society with the assistance of state fund. In Vibhu Kapoor v. Council of I.S.C. Examination , arbitrary treatment of students by educational institutions could be remedied by invoking Art. 14 and 12.
3.4 Right to Education Under Article 21-A
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act 2002, created a history in field of education as a landmark of right to education in India. It inserted a new Article 21-A that states, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may by the law, determine.” The Constitution of India is a directive Principle contained in Art. 45, has made a provision for free and compulsory education for all children upto the age of fourteen years within ten years of promulgation of Constitution. We would not achieve this goal even after fifty years of adoption of the provision. But the right to education under Art. 21-A will give required momentum to compulsory education to children upto age of fourteen. The right to education under this article would cover primary as well as secondary education and petitioner can claim the benefit of Part III as well. After the insertion of Art.21-A, every child upto the age of fourteen has a right to compulsory education and under Art.45 State is under the duty provide this compulsory education to every child upto age of fourteen. But in Unnikrishnan v State of A.P. wherein it was held that free education until the child completes 14 years is a fundamental right and after the completion of 14 years, his right to education is circumscribed by the limits of the economic conditions of State and its development. Recently it was held that to improve education, various State Government grant aid to educational institutions and by large teachers of aided private schools deserve to be treated on a par with teachers of Government Institution to the extent possible especially when Art. 21-A makes education a fundamental right.
As we find that in Mohini Jain Case and in Unnikrishnan Case , the judiciary explained the right to education. The judicial activism in this direction played a vital role. The effects of all activism is in form of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The Government of India has started various scheme and plans to make every child educated. Next chapter we will discuss all these things in detail.
Administrative Steps and Efforts towards Education
4.1 The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009
“I beg to place the following resolution before the council for its consideration.…the state should accept in this country the same responsibility in regard to mass education that the government of most civilized countries are already discharging and that a well-considered scheme should be drawn up and adhered to till it is carried out.. The well-being of millions upon millions of children who are waiting to be brought under the influence education depends upon it…”
The above words are part of the resolution which Gopal Krishna Gokhale moved in the Imperial Legislative Council on 18th march, 1910 for seeking provision of ‘Free and Compulsory Primary Education” in India.
If Gopal Krishna Gokhle, one of the greatest sons of India, would have been alive today, he would have been the happiest person to see his dream of ‘Right to Education’ for the children of the country come true. It was he who, a hundred years ago, urged the Imperial Legislative Assembly confer such a right on Indian children. That goal has been realized a century later.
The present Act has its history in the drafting of the Indian constitution at the time of Independencebut is more specifically to the Constitutional Amendment that included the Article 21A in the Indian constitution making Education a fundamental Right. This amendment, however, specified the need for a legislation to describe the mode of implementation of the same which necessitated the drafting of a separate Education Bill. The rough draft of the bill was composed in year 2005. It received much opposition due to its mandatory provision to provide 25% reservation for disadvantaged children in private schools. The sub-committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education which prepared the draft Bill held this provision as a significant prerequisite for creating a democratic and egalitarian society. Indian Law commission had initially proposed 50% reservation for disadvantaged students in private schools. The Government has finally come over all the odds and given effect to the Right to Education Act. The very first step toward the achievement of right to education as fundamental right is enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. This Act holds some specific features for the making Shakshar Bharat. On 1st April, India joined an elite group of countries which gives high regard to the fundamental rights of its citizens. It was a historic step making a law which promises education a fundamental right of every child come into force. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 will do well to the millions of children who are aspiring to contribute to their countries development. The right to education is inserted under the garb of right to life covered under article 21A of the constitution of India. Article 21 over the years, has pushed its legal boundaries to incorporate all the rights which are basic to the dignified enjoyment of life. Right to education is one peculiar right which is concomitant to other fundamental rights under ‘Right to Life’.
The salient features of the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education act are-
1. Free and compulsory education to all children of India in the six to 14 age group;
2. No child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education;
3. A child above six years of age has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could not complete his or her elementary education, then, he or she shall be admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age; Provided that where a child is directly admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age, then, he or she shall, in order to be at par with others, have a right to receive special training, in such manner, and within such timelimits, as may be prescribed: Provided further that a child so admitted to elementary education shall be entitled to free education till completion of elementary education even after fourteen years.
4. Proof of age for admission: For the purposes of admission to elementary education. The age of a child shall be determined on the basis of the birth certificate issued in accordance with the provisions of the Births. Deaths and Marriages Registration Act,1856 or on the basis of such other document, as may be prescribed. No child shall be denied admission in a school for lack of age proof;
5. A child who completes elementary education shall be awarded a certificate;
6. Calls for a fixed student-teacher ratio;
7. Provides for 25 percent reservation for economically disadvantaged communities in admission to Class One in all private schools;
8. Mandates improvement in quality of education;
9. School teachers will need adequate professional degree within five years or else will lose job;
10. School infrastructure (where there is problem) to be improved in three years, else recognition cancelled;
11. Financial burden will be shared between state and central government.
In a very brief, the Act provides for neighbourhood schools within reach, with no school refusing admission to any child. It also provides for adequate number of qualified teachers to maintain a ratio of one teacher for every 30 students. The schools have to train all its teachers within 5 years. They have to ensure proper infrastructure, which includes a playground, library, adequatenumber of classrooms, toilets, barriers free access for physically challenged children and drinking water facilities within three years. 75% members of the school management committees will comprise parents of the students who will monitor the functioning of the schools and utilization of grants. The school management Committees or the local authorities will identify the out of school children and admit them to standards appropriate to their age, after giving them proper training.
4.2 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
The SSA programme is an endeavour to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities of all children, through the provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had been set with specific targets. These are:
• All children in school, Education Guarantee Centre, Alternate School or ‘Back-to-School’ camp by 2003.
• All children complete five years of primary schooling by 2007.
• Children complete eight years of elementary schooling by 2010.
• Focus on elementary education of satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life.
• Bridge all gender and social category gaps at the primary stage by 2007 and at the elementary education level by 2010.
• Universal retention by 2010.
More recently, the Government of India has launched in 2001 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA) a flagship pogramme in partnership with the state government to cover the entire country and address the needs of 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations. The SSA is an extensive scheme to universalize elementary education through district based, decentralized specific planning and implementation strategy by community ownership of the school system. The scheme subsumes all other major governmental educational interventions of the entire country. The SSA is to provide useful and relevant elementary education for children in the 6-14 age groups by 2010.
The SSA focused mainly on alternative Schooling, Children with special needs, Community mobilization, Girls Education, Quality of Elementary Education. The SSA is based on the premise that financing of elementary education interventions has to be sustainable. This calls for a long-term perspective on financial partnership between the Central and the State governments.
The programmes call for community ownership of school-based interventions through effective decentralization. This will be augmented by involvement of women’s group and members of Panchayati Raj institutions. The Programmed will have a community based monitoring system.
The Educational Management Information System will correlate school level data with community-based information from micro planning and surveys . Besides this, every school will be encouraged to share all information with the community, including grants receive. A notice board would be put up in every school for this purpose. SSA lays a special thrust on making education at the elementary level useful and relevant for children by improving the curriculum, child-centered activities and effective teaching learning strategies. It also recognized the critical and central role of teachers and advocates a focus on their development needs, setting up of block Resource centers, cluster resource centers, recruitment of qualified teachers, opportunities for teacher development through participation in curriculum-related material development, focus on classroom process and exposure visits for teachers are all designed to develop the human resource among teachers. As per the its framework, each district will prepare a District Elementary Education Plan reflecting all the investment being made andrequired in the elementary education sector, with a holistic and convergent approach. There will be a Perspective Plan that will give a framework of activities over a longer time frame to achieve aim. There will also be an Annual Work Plan and Budget that will list the prioritized activities tobe carried out in that year. The Perspective Plan will also be a dynamic document subject to constant improvement in the course of programmed implementation. SSA played an important role in making waking individual regard child education as well as child right. It affects the every level of administration to control and make aware of children welfare, right, interest etc.Though the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is being administered through government and government aided schools, some private unaided schools are also actively involved in contributing towards universal elementary education. Recently, the government entered into anagreement with the World Bank(External website that opens in a new window) for assistance to the tune of US $ 600 million to fund the second phase of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a valuable endeavour of the Government of India, in the universalization of elementary education, which strives to help citizens to realise the importance of elementary education. Social justice and equity are by themselves a strong argument for providing basic education for all. Provision of basic education also improves the standard of living, especially with regard to life expectancy, infant mortality and nutritional status of children.
4.3 Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan(RMSA) is aimed at expanding and improving the standards of secondary education classes’ eighth to tenth. The RMSA would also take secondary education to every corner of the country by ensuring a secondary school within a radius of five km for every neighbourhood. RMSA which is the most recent initiative of Government of India to achieve the goal of universalization of secondary education. The SSA program set up by the government to bring elementary education to millions of children has been successful to a large extent, and has thus created a need for strengthening secondary education infrastructure across the country. The HRD Ministry has taken note of this, and now plans to implement a secondary education scheme called RMSA during the 11th plan. “With the successful implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a large number of students are passing out from upper primary classes creating a huge demand for secondary education,” the HRD Ministry said.
1. To ensure that all secondary schools have physical facilities, staffs and supplies at leastaccording to the prescribed standards through financial support in case of Government/Local Body and Government aided schools, and appropriate regulatory mechanism in thecase of other schools,
2. To improve access to secondary schooling to all young persons according to normsthrough proximate location efficient and safe transport arrangements and residentialfacilities, depending on local circumstances including open schooling. However in hilly and difficult areas, these norms can be relaxed. Preferably residential schools may be setup in such areas.
3. To ensure that no child is deprived of secondary education of satisfactory quality due togender, socio-economic, disability and other barriers
4. To improve quality of secondary education resulting in enhanced intellectual, social andCultural learning.
5. To ensure that all students pursuing secondary education receive education of goodquality.
6. Achievement of the above objectives would also, inter-alia, signify substantial progressin the direction of the Common School System.
4.4 Mid-Day Meal
The Mid-day Meal Scheme is the popular name for school meal programme in India which started in the 1960s.It involves provision of lunch free of cost to school-children on all working days. The key objectives of the programme are: protecting children from classroom hunger, increasing school enrolment and attendance, improved socialization among children belonging to all castes, addressing malnutrition, and social empowerment through provision of employment to women. The scheme has a long history especially in the state of Tamil Nadu introduced statewide by the then Chief MinisterK. Kamaraj in 1960s and later expanded by M. G. Ramachandran government in 1982 has been adopted by most of the states in India after a landmark direction by the Supreme Court of India on November 28, 2001. The success of this scheme is illustrated by the tremendous increase in the school participation and completion rates in the state of Tamil Nadu.
12 crore (120 million) children are so far covered under the Mid-day Meal Scheme, which is the largest school lunch programme in the world. Allocation for this programme has been enhanced from Rs 3010 crore to Rs 4813 crore (Rs 48 billion 1.3 million) in 2006-2007.
Various orders and memos from the Ministry of the Rural Development during the last fifteen years have not been enough to feed the primary school children, specially the target group-the needy and the malnourished, through the National Programme for Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE), popularly known as Mid-Day Meal Programme(MDM).
The MDM is the world’s largest school feeding programme reaching out to about 12 crore children in over 9.50 lakh schools/EGS centers across the country.
MDM in schools has had a long history in India. In 1925, a MDM Programme was introduced for disadvantaged children in Madras Municipal Corporation. By the mid-1980s three States viz. Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the UT of Pondicherry had universalized a cooked Mid-Day Meal Programme with their own resources for children studying at the primary stage By 1990-91 the number of States implementing the mid-day meal programme with their own resources on a universal or a large scale had increased to twelve states.
The objectives of the MDM scheme are:
• Improving the nutritional status of children in classes I-V in Government, Local Body and Government aided schools, and EGS and AIE centres.
• Encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities.
• Providing nutritional support to children of primary stage in drought affected areas during summer vacation.
With a view to enhancing enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, theNP-NSPE was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 15th August 1995, initially in 2408 blocks in the country. By the year 1997-98 the NP-NSPE was introduced in all blocks of the country. It was further extended in 2002 to cover not only children in classes I -V of government, government aided and local body schools, but also children studying in EGS and AIE centers. Central Assistance under the scheme consisted of free supply of food grains @ 100 grams per child per school day, and subsidy for transportation of food grains up to a maximum of Rs 50 per quintal.
In September 2004 the scheme was revised to provide cooked mid-day meal with 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein to all children studying in classes I – V in Government and aided schools and EGS/ AIE centers. In addition to free supply of food grains, the revised scheme provided Central Assistance for (a) Cooking cost @ Re 1 per child per school day, (b) Transport subsidy was raised from the earlier maximum of Rs 50 per quintal to Rs. 100 per quintal for special category states, and Rs 75 per quintal for other states, (c) Management, monitoring and evaluation costs @ 2% of the cost of food grains, transport subsidy and cooking assistance, (d) Provision of mid-day meal during summer vacation in drought affected areas. In July 2006 the scheme was further revised to provide assistance for cooking cost at the rate of (a) Rs 1.80 per child/school day for States in the North Eastern Region, provided the NER States contribute Rs 0.20 per child/school day, and (b) Rs 1.50 per child/ school day for other States and UTs, provided that these States and UTs contribute Rs 0.50 per child/school day.
In October 2007, the scheme has been further revised to cover children in upper primary (classes VI to VIII) initially in 3479 Educationally Backwards Blocks (EBBs). Around 1.7 crore upper primary children were included by this expansion of the scheme. From 2008-09 i.e w.e.f 1st April, 2008, the programme covers all children studying in Government, Local Body and Government-aided primary and upper primary schools and the EGS/AIE centres of all areas across the country. The calorific value of a mid-day meal at upper primary stage has been fixed at a minimum of 700 calories and 20 grams of protein by providing 150 grams of food grains (rice/wheat) per child/school day. 8.41 crore Primary students and 3.36 crore Upper Primary Students i.e. a total of 11.77 crore students are estimated to be benefited from MDM Scheme during 2009-10.
Today, MDM scheme is serving primary & upper primary school children in entire country.
Apart from these programmes, Government of India has been initiated National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Education. It is being implemented in educationally backward blocks, where the level of rural female literacy is less than the national average and the gender GAP is more than the national average. About 3286 educationally backward blocks are covered under the scheme in 25 states.
In April 2001 People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Rajasthan) initiated the now famous right to food litigation. This public interest litigation has covered a large range of issues relating to right to food, but the best known intervention by the court is on mid-day meals. In one of its many direction in the litigation the Supreme Court directed the government to fully implement its scheme of providing cooked meals to all children in primary schools. This landmark direction converted the mid-day meal scheme into a legal entitlement, the violation of which can be taken up in the court of law. The direction and further follow-up by the Supreme Court has been a major instrument in universalizing the scheme.
4.5 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya
The Government of India launched a scheme called Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) with the objective to ensure access and quality education to the girls of disadvantaged communities by setting up residential schools with boarding facilities at elementary level. In Bihar, till today, 385 KGBV centres have been set up since October 2005 and are functioning to serve the educational needs of approximately 35,938 girls from the disadvantaged communities.
The KGBV scheme is to be implemented in coordination with other existing schemes, and in Bihar, it is being implemented through the Mahila Samakhya (MS) Society in the districts where MS exists, and other districts by Bihar Education Project Council in collaboration with local NGOs/VSS.
The scheme is applicable in those identified Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) where, as per census data of 2001, the rural female literacy is below the national average, i.e. 46.58% and gender gap in literacy is more than the national average i.e. 21.7%. Among these blocks, residential schools are to be set up in areas with:
Concentration of tribal population, with low female literacy and / or a large number of girls out of school;
Concentration of SC, OBC and minority populations, with low female literacy and/or a large number of girls out of school;
Areas with low female literacy; or
Areas with a large number of small-scattered habitations that do not qualify for a school.
Objectives of KGBV
The objective of KGBV is to ensure access and quality education to the girls of disadvantaged groups of society by setting up residential schools with boarding facilities atelementary level as gender disparities still persist in rural areas and among disadvantaged communities.
495 KGBV will be opened in a phased manner.
Such residential schools will be set up only in those backward blocks that do not have residential schools for elementary education of girls under any other scheme including that of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
In the state, all the KGBV centres follow the same strategy, which is to provide the enrolled girls with hostel facilities, remedial teaching and life skills. While they learn upper primary level education curriculum at formal schools during schools’ operation period, the KGBV centres provide them with remedial teachers who support them to cope with the learning at schools and also facilitate them to gain life skills, ranging from critical thinking skills to bicycle riding. The KGBV centres that are managed by Mahila Samakhya are following the same functioning structure with the Mahila Shikshan Kendra, residential bridge course programme of Mahila Samakhya. The girls are divided into three groups based on their academic achievement, and being supported by the teachers based on their levels, and they are provided with empowerment programme following Jagjagi manual, vocational training, karate practice, yoga etc, all of which try to aim the empowerment and development of the girls in holistic nature.
Components of the scheme
i. Setting up of residential schools where there are a minimum of 50 girls predominantly from the SC, ST and minority communities available to study in the school at the elementary level. The number can be more than 50 depending on the number of eligible girls.
ii. To provide necessary infrastructure for these schools
iii. To prepare and procure necessary teaching learning material and aids for the schools
iv. To put in place appropriate systems to provide necessary academic support and for evaluation and monitoring
v. To motivate and prepare the girls and their families to send them to residential school
vi. At the primary level the emphasis will be on the slightly older girls who are out of school and were unable to complete primary schools (10+). However, in difficult areas (migratory populations, scattered habitations that do not qualify for primary/ upper primary schools) younger girls can also be targeted
vii. At the upper primary level, emphasis will be on girls, especially, adolescent girls who are unable to go to regular schools In view of the targeted nature of the scheme, 75% girls from SC, ST, OBC or minority communities would be accorded priority for enrolment in such residential schools and only thereafter, 25% girls from families below poverty line. Established NGOs and other non-profit making bodies will be involved in the running of the schools, wherever possible. These residential schools can also be adopted by the corporate groups. Separate guidelines are being issued in the matter
The National Literacy Mission has been launched recently as Saakshar Bharat in which at least 7 crore non-illiterates will be made literate to achieve 80% literacy and to reduce gender disparity in literacy from 21% to 10%. 365 districts in the country, with adult female literacy rate 50% or less, have been identified for the implementation of Saakshar Bharat.
Though all these plans are working well, but there are so many instance where many inconsistencies and lacunas are present, because nothing is absolute and perfect in this universe.
4.6 Lacunas in Programmes
The RTE Model Rules under RTE Act, 2009 have finalized in February 2010 provide guidelines to be followed by the states to implement the RTE Act. Some of these rules, however, need to be reassessed in order to maximize the chances for success in their implementation.
There is provision mentioned under RTE such as, “No child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education”, this very provision is very bad in itself. As without obtaining proper ability and qualification, no child can understand in his next class. It will create similar effect of illiteracy and it may be possible that if he/she is not able to understand to what is going on, may create mental agony.
Second where a child above six years of age has not been admitted in any school and if such child is admitted in class appropriate to his age, it will create similar effect as the first one.
The Model Rules hardly provide any details on the implementation of the 25 per cent reservation in private schools. There are many unanswered questions such as;
1. How are weaker and disadvantaged sections defined and verified?
2. How will the government select these students for entry level class?
3. What will be the mechanism for reimbursement to private schools?
4. How will the government monitor the whole process?
5. Would the admission lottery be conducted by neighborhood or by entire village/town/city?
6. What would happen if some of these students need to change school in higher classes?
The reimbursement to private unaided schools for the 25 per cent quota should be calculated not only on the basis of the recurring expenditure in government schools but should also include thefixed or capital expenditures with due allowance for depreciation of assets and interest costs including other costs related to elementary education at all levels of the State Government.
The actual position of Mid Meal Programme is also not very good. There are so many incidents and news about insufficient quality of foods/meal given to children. Various scams involving Mid-Day Meal Scheme have been unearthed since it was started.
In January 2006, the Delhi Police unearthed a scam in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. In December 2005, the police had seized eight truckloads (2,760 sacks) of rice meant for primary schoolchildren being carried from Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns in Bulandshahr District of UP to North Delhi. When the police detained the trucks, the drivers claimed that the rice was being brought all the way to Delhi to be cleaned at a factory. However, according to the guidelines, the rice has to be taken directly from FCI godown to the school or village concerned. Later it was found that the rice was being siphoned off by a UP-based NGO, Bharatiya Manav Kalyan Parishad (BMKP), in connivance with the government officials.
In November 2006, the residents of Pembong village under the Mim tea estate (around 30 km from Darjeeling), accused a group of teachers of embezzling mid-day meals. In a written complaint, the residents claimed that students at the primary school had not got midday meal for the past 18 months.
In December 2006, The Times of India reported a scam involving government schools that siphon off foodgrains under the mid-day meal scheme by faking attendance. The modus operandi of the schools was simple—the attendance register would exaggerate the number of students enrolled in the class. The additional students would not exist—they were “enrolled” to get additional foodgrains which were pocketed by the school staff. The scam was exposed, when P Asha Kumari, an assistant teacher at the government model primary school, Jakkur, in Yelahanka acted as a whistleblower. She informed the Lok Ayukta, who conducted a probe and indicted four persons for misappropriation. The whistleblower was harassed by the school staff and requested a transfer. She was transferred to a government primary school at Cholanayakahalli, where she again found the same modus operandi being used to siphon off the foodgrains. She again complained to the Lok Ayukta, who issued notice to the school.
Another instance is, that in April, 2010 in Pune more than 70 children – most of them aged between six and 13 – were hospitalized on Friday after having lunch under the mid-day meal scheme at their school at Bopodi, which is run by the PuneMunicipal Corporation (PMC). Shockingly, dead insects, flies and even tiny pieces of magnets were found in the food served to the children. PMCschool board chairman Sangeeta Tiwari, after visiting the school,said that”The khichadi (rice and daal preparation) was foul-smelling We were shocked to seethe quality of the food”.
Despite the success of the program, child hunger as a problem persists in India. According to current statistics, 42.5% of the children under 5 are underweight. This is due to simple reasons such as not using iodized salt. “India is home to the world’s largest food insecure population, with more than 200 million people who are hungry,” India State Hunger Index (ISHI) said, adding that the country’s poor performance is driven by its high levels of child under-nutrition and poor calorie count. “Its rates of child malnutrition is higher than most countries in Sub Saharan Africa,” it noted. A report released as part of the 2009 Global Hunger Index ranks India at 65 out of 84 countries. The 2008 report says that India has more people suffering hunger – a figure above 200 million – than any other country in the world, it says. The report also says “improving child nutrition is of utmost urgency in most Indian states”.
A Citizen’s Review Report (7th Jan, 2008) on “India’s Progress on the MDGs” showed that 55% of Muslims have never attended school compared to national average of 41% (rural); In Bihar 86% of enrolled children drop-out by Standard VI. 99% Dalit children study in Public schools & inadequate facilities and infrastructure as major problem for access to health & education. Whether SSA is performing well but the corruption is also there. The funds are misused.
The total budget for ‘SSA’ stands at Rs.131 billion and the scheme’s operation has come under severe flak from India’s official auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). Out of Rs 8004.71-crore allotted for the development work of “Elementary Education” and “SSA”, only Rs 2,324.99 crore was spent through record. For rest of the money spent on the development work there no records available & Human Resource Department is clueless about rest of the money. It means rest of the money was simply siphoned off. In this Gujarat and Rajasthan governments come first in misusing the funds! Despite the success of the program, child hunger as a problem persists in India. According to current statistics, 42.5% of the children under 5 are underweight. This is due to simple reasons such as not using iodized salt. “India is home to the world’s largest food insecure population, with more than 200 million people who are hungry,” India State Hunger Index (ISHI) said, adding that the country’s poor performance is driven by its high levels of child under-nutrition and poor calorie count. “Its rates of child malnutrition is higher than most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa,” it noted. A report released as part of the 2009 Global Hunger Index ranks India at 65 out of 84 countries. The 2008 report says that India has more people suffering hunger – a figure above 200 million – than any other country in the world, it says. The report also says “improving child nutrition is of utmost urgency in most Indian states”
Child labour is also a main problem. According to an article published in “Nyaya Deep” by Justice Ajit Prakash Shah :-
1. Census 2001- 5,79,841 children in the age group of 0-4 years are engaged in household activities in India.
2. Census 2001- 13 million child labourers in age group of 5-14 years i.e. children who are economically active.
3. NSSO’s 61st Report (2004-05)- estimated child labour in India at 8.6 million.
4. “Nowhere children” (i.e. children who are neither in school nor working)- 75 million children who are ‘nowhere’.
5. Education Statistics provided by MHRD, number of children who are out of school during 1997-98 to 2004-05 is 6.55 crores.
6. Proportion of out of school children in the 6-13 age group, computed on the basis of door to door annual surveys of teachers, is reported to about 3.5% (about 75 lakh children) in 2006-07 from 6.94% in September 2005.
1. Dropout rate is 69.06%
2. In absolute numbers, there are 1.5 million children who are drop outs or who have never been sent to school. However, these children are not counted when calculating thenumbers of ‘out of school’ children. Therefore, the estimate of the Education Department of ‘out of school’ children remains at 54,220.
3. 80% of Class V who pass out of MCD schools do not know how to read and write their names.
4. Only 14% of students who enter government school in Class I make it to Class X.
5. It is estimated that 25%-30% of children drop out between classes I to V.
The standards of the Government, municipal schools are appalling. Apart from the inadequacy of infrastructure, there is shocking incidents of absenteeism and neglect on the part of many teachers in Government schools. The school inspection system has practically broken down in many parts in India. Another disturbing element is that that the teachers in Government schools are forced to engage in variety of Governmental works like dise-dine census, elections to local authorities, state legislatures and Parliament and disaster relief duties.
In the context of globalisation, education assumes greater meaning. Greatness of a nation should not be measured by its ranking in global economic order, but by its ability to provide quality education. The last two decade have shown enormous improvement in the literacy scene in the country as reflected by the average literacy figures. Education is perhaps the most vital requirement for inclusive growth, empowering individual and society, opening up opportunities and promoting true public participation in the development process. It is an important factor that fuels both social change and economic growth.
How much education does India need, and for what purpose? We can readily agree that universal good quality basic education is a requisite and moral requirement of all modernsocieties, for the sake of social equity, cultural values, and economic functionality. India is actively pushing forward with its agenda for revamping and restructuring education in the country. It is submitted that though the judiciary has made education as a fundamental right yet it is for the State to secure it for all people. It is beyond any doubt that education is of fundamental significance to the life of an individual and the nation.
We have seen in this paper Right to Education is now a Fundamental Right for all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. In simple word, it means that the Government will be responsible for providing education to every child up to the eight standards, free of cost, irrespective of class and gender. Part III of the Constitution of India gives all force to every child to get free and compulsory education through Art.21, and insertion of Art.21-A by 86th Amendment is also a landmark in this respect. Thanks to scheme like SSA and MDM Scheme, which are providing almost all necessary requirements to the ‘Future of India’ Enrolment rates in schools have gone up, as the number of schools is rising through these scheme. The progress rate in rural literacy is also rising through the initiative of SSA. The SSA, initiated to universalize quality education, has brought about positive changes by increasing accountability of schools to the community through greater involvement of village education committees and parent-teacher associations. In primary schools especially enrolment and attendance of girls is increasing. The MDM Scheme is helping in taking care of nutritional needs of the students. This is not only affecting positively the health of poor students but also improving learning outcomes by ending ‘school hunger’.
Despite everything is going upward in the right direction, there are so many instance as we have seen in the 5th chapter, though SSA is performing well, corruption is also involved, funds are misused. The quality of foods in the MDM Scheme is not so good.
Calories and nutrients in MDM are insufficient. There is also news that children are more interested in meal only not in education. The shortage of teachers is one of biggest problem in implementation of such schemes, and teachers involved in schemes are less experienced and untrained. Child labour is also a major problem.
However, realization of the objective of ‘Education to All’ is not going to be very easy- not when the school system in the country, especially those rural areas continue to be plagued by problems of poor infrastructure, shortage of teachers, their lack of training motivation besides poverty and livelihood issues that are responsible for the huge drop out of rates. It is estimated that there is a shortage of nearly five lakh teachers, while about three lakh of them are untrained at the elementary school stage. Over 50% of schools have a student teacher ratio much poorer than the 1:30 prescribed under the RTE Act. About 46% schools do not have toilets for girls, which is another reason why parents do not send girl children to schools.
Though, the programmes are implemented in right directions and there are some inconsistency regarding implementation, I want to suggest some idea for better results and strengthening inclusive education.
Here are some of my (not so complete) ideas for effectiveness of Right to Education:
1. Compulsory free education should be made available till Class XII
The state and central governments should completely absorb the cost of providing free education till 12th standard to every child, irrespective of caste, religion and economic status. This should cover not just school fees, but also free books, food if necessary, uniform clothing and even a place to stay if the parents cannot afford that to their children. Those with money can always opt for their favourite private school, and feed their own children. Alternately, some rich may decide to send their children to the govt. schools.
2. Govt. schools should be run by private entities/entrepreneurs.It is very doubtful if the government can manage hiring qualified teachers and provide quality education to children. Like in the USA, the government can opt for building the schools and make them available to private companies on a long-term lease, based on auction. The organization that comes up with the lowest bid and agrees to maintain the best quality education would be chosen to run each school in each locality.
3. There should be some amendments in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 as it is provisioned that “no child shall No child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education” because without having proper ability and knowledge, no child will able to survive in next class.
4. In villages the Panchayat members can play important role in promoting education. The village education committee should not be an ad hoc project arrangement and should be permanent.
5. There should be a teacher and parent interaction because a frequent parent and teacher interaction will enhance student enrolment and attendance rate.
6. The incentives like books, uniforms etc. available to the students must be made at the beginning of session.
7. The quality of MDM needs to be improved, which will attract children of the weaker sections of the society.
8. Village monitoring committees must be formulated so that they will monitor the enrolment and student absenteeism.
9. More Acts like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act should be started because only those parents who employed think about not to employ their children in any labour work.
10. The goal of 100% female education can be achieved by creating community awareness for girls education at all levels.
11. Improvement in the infrastructure like availability of water, sanitation and toilets in schools should be done on priority basis.
12. Propertraining for teachers and staff should be provided.
13. Training for teachers and staff at the residential schools will be coordinated by the District Institutes of Educational Training, Block Resource Centers and the Mahila Samakhya Resource Groups.
14. All education above higher secondary school level should be primarily dealt with by private entities.
15. If some state governments wish, they can run colleges, but it should be unnecessary. Students should be offered lenient education loans at very low interest rates. These loans are liable to be paid only after the students finish their education and find a job of their own.
16. That is, free education until higher secondary; but paid-for education after that. Those who can’t afford to pay for this higher education get low-cost and lenient loans. This kind of comfortable educational loans are made available to students in USA.
Though the state has the primary obligation to provide education for all children but non-governmental organizations and other civil society partners can make a vital contribution to education by mobilizing public demand and expanding participation. So, the government needs to build effective partnerships with all organizations and institutions that have an impact on children’s education.
I do not claim that these suggestions, if implemented, will remove all problems we have in our education sector. However I am hopeful that they can alleviate the problem considerably.
Books, Journals, Articles,Websites
1. Diksit S S, 1966, ‘Nationalism and Indian Education’, Sterling Publications, Jullunder.
2. M. P. Jain, ‘Indian Constitutional Law’, 6th Ed., Laxis Nexis Butterworth Wadhwa.
3. Jagdish Swarup, ‘Constitution of India’, 2nd Ed., Modern Law Publications.
4. H.M. Seervai, ‘Constitutional Law of India’ 4th Ed., Vol.2, Universal Law Publication.
5. V.N. Sukla, ‘Constitution of India’ 11th Ed., Eastern Book Company, Lucknow.
6. Kanta Maitra Pandit Lakshmi, 1995, ‘Constitution Assembly Debates’, Volume 7, Universal Publications, NewDelhi,
7. Mukerji S N, 1966, ‘History of Education in India: Modern Period’ Acharya Book Depot, Baroda.
8. Naik J P, 1975, ‘Equality, Quality and Quantity, The Elusive Triangle in Indian Education’, Allied Publisher, New Delhi.
9. Nurullah and Naik J P, 1943, ‘A History of Education in India’, Macmillan, Bombay.
10. Siqueira T. N, 1952, ‘The Education of India’, Oxford University Press, Bombay.
11. Kurukshetra, A Journal On Rural Development.
12. Sumeet Malik, Supreme Educational Institutional Cases, 8th Ed. Eastern Book Company, Lucknow.