Skip to main content

Right to Education Act "undermines" public education, promotes school privatization

By Our Representative 
In an unusual scathing attack on the Right to Education (RTE) Act, passed by Parliament in 2009, renowned academic and educationist Anil Sadgopal has said that five years of its implementation has clearly shown that the law is nothing but a means to privatize India's education system. In a recent critique, forwarded to Counterview by Shiksha Adhikar Manch (Right to Education Forum), a Bhopal-based non-profit body, Sadgopal said Act is merely "meant to help corporates, NGOs and religious organizations to profiteer."
Especially referring to section 27 of the RTE Act, Sadgopal, in an article in Hindi, says, the law sets up "extremely poor criteria for teaching in government schools" in order to "demolish the whole idea of public education". Thus, it allows the government to take “non-teaching work from its school teachers.” But on the other hand, “it allows private schools to raise fees at will, allowing those running them to go ahead with open loot". He adds, "Clearly, teachers in private schools will not be required to do any non-teaching job."
Referring to the provision of the RTE Act which wants private schools to set aside 25 per cent quota for the economically backward sections, Sadgopal calls it an eyewash, equating it with "jhunjhuna" (a rattle meant for infants), pointing out, "As one can see, the idea of providing 25 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections is already proving to be a big flop. And this is what the establishment has cherished all along."
Even if the 25 per cent quota is implemented in its full letter and spirit, says Sadgopal, it would mean only 6 to 7 per cent being admitted in private schools, while rest of nearly 90 per cent children would be required to go to government schools. Calling the quota an illusion and a myth, he insists, “it is meant to divide people -- large section of government school children, on one hand, and a handful of children admitted in quote in private schools, with parents living in an illusionary world, on the other."
"The actual purpose of the 25 per cent quota is to ensure that people do not unitedly protest against privatization of education. Through this, the law only seeks to legitimacy to private schools, even as undermining government schools", Sadgopal says, adding, "One can see this happening around us. Over the last five years, in Greater Mumbai alone, the municipal corporation has auctioned 1,174 schools in order to trigger the public-private partnership (PPP) model in education. In Madhya Pradesh over 1.22 lakh schools are being handed over to private hands.”
"Clearly", says Sadgopal, "Once the schools go over to private hands, they would decide on fees structure. They would in fact become part of the real estate market.” Thus, in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, elsewhere, private schools flourish are flourishing and government schools are being closed down. In fact, private schools numbers have gone up by “four times.”
Pointing out that “there is no provision in the law to fix fees to be charged from children”, Sadgopal says, they are “being forced to pay in the name of providing poor quality books, costly school bags, uniform, tie, socks, shoes, and so on.” Meanwhile, “there is a huge hue and cry over the failure of government schools”, which, Sadgopal suggests, is nothing but an effort to undermine government schools.
“There is an effort to flood data on how government schools are devoid of basic facilities like drinking water, toilets and other basic needs”, he says, adding, "Lakhs of vacancies of school teachers are allowed to remain unfilled. New appointments are being made only on contract. Those who are being appointed do not have adequate ability to teach or are even uneducated."
In a separate statement, Shiksha Adhikar Manch has said, "A pernicious myth around the Right to Education Act, 2009 has been created that in last five years this Act has not been properly implemented. This myth tends to wipe out from common discourse the anti-constitutional, anti-child and anti-education character and neoliberal agenda of this Act."
Pointing towards the manner in which Sadgopal’s article, which challenges the myth of RTE Act, was published in a Hindi daily "Nai Duniya", the statement says, "Curiously, the editor made the most drastic change in the very title of the article, changing its entire meaning and reducing it to the question of RTE’s poor implementation!"

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.