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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.

Story of a foot soldier of Gujarat riots coming from a vulnerable community, Chharas

By Rajiv Shah
He is one of the more prominent "foot soldiers" of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Suresh Jadeja, alias Langdo, alias Richard, is indeed a well-known name in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons were killed on February 28, 2002, the first day of the riots that shook the nation. Ordinarily, such a person should have been subjected to sociological scrutiny. What have here is a keen journalistic account, with clear political-ideological overtone.