Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Finally the dream of free and compulsory education for all children in India seems to be shaping up. In a major boost to education sector, the Union Cabinet has cleared the long-pending Right to Education Bill, which promises free and compulsory education for children between 6 year and 14 year. According to the Right to Education Bill every child in the year 6 to 14 age groups will be eligible for free education. The children from all over India will liable to get free elementary education (from class 1 to class 9).

The bill also seeks to ban private tuition by teachers and ensure that no child is subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment.

The objective of this right to free education bill is equal education for all, free, for age group 6 to 14.

According to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008, every private school will have to earmark at least 25% seats in class 1 for free and compulsory elementary education. As the bill has passed by the government of India which ensures that every private school will have to provide free education to at least 25 percent of the student. The government of India also provide financial assistance to the private school but in case suppose the private school does not provide free education to at least 25 percent of the student from class one then in case the private school will not paid any financial assistance from central government of India. But here the reality in the Indian society is different which the person belong to financially backward can study in private school. Even though he is provided free education by the private school but he is not able to manage the school dress/ uniform because of lack of finance.

The crucial role of universal elementary education for strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunities to all has been accepted since inception of our Republic. The Directive Principles of State Policy detailed in our Constitution lies down that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of fourteen years. Over the years there has been significant spatial and numerical expansion of elementary schools in the country, yet the goal of universal elementary education continues to elude us. The number of children, particularly children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections, who drop out of school before completing elementary education, remains very large. Moreover, the quality of learning achievement is not always entirely satisfactory, even in the case of children who complete elementary education. The proposed legislation is secured in the belief that the values of equality, social justice and democracy and the creation of a just and humane society can be achieved only through provision of inclusive elementary education to all. Provision of free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality to children from disadvantaged and weaker sections is, therefore, not merely the responsibility of schools run or supported by the appropriate Governments, but also of schools which are not dependent on Government funds.

Here the central government is looking very sensitive for the elementary education because some important care is to be taken like - provide training facility for teachers, provide infrastructure including school building, teaching staff and learning material, ensure admission of children of migrant families and ensure that the child belonging to weaker section and the child belonging to disadvantaged group are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education on any grounds. Even if the central government is providing such a facility but how much is possible in practical life- I think that this policy will work better in government schools but it does not seem more feasible in private schools even though the private schools provide free education to at least 25 percent student, but the student from financially weaker section will not be able to mange the standard of private schools like school dress/ uniforms and other related things until and unless the children does not get any financial assistance. And in the government schools this is very much dependable on the parents of the children because the families which are from very weaker section do not send their children to school because they do not even have the money to eat and to survive their life so they send their children to work. So in this case to attract the children as well as parents the central government will have to provide the financial add to the children.

1 comment:

  1. Compulsory primary Education is a Policy Instrument by which state effectively removes children from Labour force, thereby protecting both against parents and would be employers. Primary Education develops the capacity to learn, read and use mathematics to acquire information and to think critically about the information.
    The key features of the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Bill include free and compulsory education to all children of India in the six to 14 age group; no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education; a child who completes elementary education (up to class 8) shall be awarded a certificate; calls for a fixed student-teacher ratio; will apply to all of India except Jammu and Kashmir; provides for 25 % reservation for economically disadvantaged communities in admission to Class One in all private schools; mandates improvement in quality of education; school teachers will need adequate professional degree within five years or else will lose job; school infrastructure (where there is problem) to be improved in three years, else recognition cancelled; and that the financial burden will be shared between state and central government.
    The first facet of the Bill which needs questioning is hat about the children below 6 years of age.
    The Fundamental Right to Life (Article 21) of the Constitution should be read in ‘harmonious construction’ with the Directive in Article 45 to provide free and compulsory education to children of 0-14 years, including those below six years of age. The early years are the most critical years for lifelong development. This recognition comes from various quarters, including evidence from brain research. However, the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, Article 21A, limits the fundamental right to education to 6-14 years.
    If we consider the case of the ones covered, even then the main focus is on inputs and not on education outcomes. The Bill talks of infrastructure requirements, the size of the class rooms, the number of class rooms, playgrounds and so on. What happens to the quality of Education and how that can be ensured remains elusive. Simply stating basic minimum standards for private schools to get affiliated and leaving the government run schools by virtue of their being as standard of recognition doesn’t address the core concern of ensuring quality.
    The one big question as to even if Education becomes a right, how many will avail it needs a thought. India’s Low per capita Income and economic backwardness forces households to send their children to school. Children are an economic asset to poor people. To add to it is a set of belies widely shared by educators, social activists, trade unions, academic researchers, Indian middle class, government, non-government etc, is that all see Education as a means of differentiation among social classes. ‘Excessive and inappropriate” Education would disrupt existing Social Order; it should not train children of the poor to work (service/white collar jobs); who should work with hands (ruled) than heads (ruler) and that parents and not state are the ultimate guardians of Children. This is a mindset, widely held by the smaller but the deciding population of India and the Right to Education Bill barely addresses it. But it would be cynical not to acknowledge the intention of the state in at least putting the basic framework in place by making Primary Education compulsory and a right.