Skip to main content

Right to Education Act "isn't inclusive", it segregates Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim children, is undermining govt schools

By Rajiv Shah
Taking strong objection to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a new book, seeking to provide a future vision of different social sectors, carries a strongly-worded paper which says that the much-celebrated law has not only failed to provide universal access to free education. Worse, it argues, within five years of its implementation, the legislation is being effectively used to "weaken the public education system further."
Running into 683 pages, the book, "Alternative Futures: India Unshackled", has been edited by two well-known environmental experts working on development, environment interface, biodiversity policy and alternatives, Ashish Kothari and KJ Joy, and carries 35 articles by top experts in their field.
The one on education, "Future Learning in Indian Schools", by Rajesh Khindri and Tultul Biswas, both of whom have worked on pedagogic issues at several places, including the Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme, Madhya Pradesh, disagree that the RTE Act is "inclusive", it seeks to provide 25 per cent seats of private schools to be earmarked for children who cannot pay.
"We won't go into the issue of percentages, numbers etc.", say Khindri and Biswas. "In many states, governments are trying to ensure that this quota is utilised to the maximum -- which results in shutting/scaling down or merging of government schools", adding, "In actual fact, it (RTE) seems to have pushed the government schools towards further hegemonising, catering to the system (of parents) that has no social or political voice to influence the school in any way."
They add, "And, on the other hand, private schools try to ward off this intrusion by trying to segregate these students in separate classes or even separate school shifts, by insisting on various kinds of additional expenses that the family has to incur in terms of dress, shoes, books, excursion fees... and by use of social exclusion through the medium of instruction."
To substantiate, the authors give data, pointing towards how the reality "continues to remain grim", more than 47 lakh children out of school in rural areas and 13 lakh in urban neighborhoods.
"The scenario", say the authors, "Appears even more alarming when viewed through the caste or religious lens." A report prepare by the Social and Rural Research Institute suggests that "three out of every four children out of school are Dalit, Muslim or Adivasi. A closer look at the available data reveal that over 32 per cent of those out of schools are Dalits and over 16 per cent belong to the Adivasi communities."
The authors add, "According to the same report, 4.43 per cent of Muslim children were found to be out of school, significantly higher than the national average of 2.97 per cent across relations."
"Thus", they say, "Although official figures claim that only six million children remain out of school and the dropout rate in schools has started showing a drop, an analysis of the profile of children still out of school reflects the fact that we are far from achieving the goal of inclusive education."
Khindri and Biswas say, things have reached such a point that there is even segregation among private schools: "Now there seems to be a continuum starting from the extremely high fee paying private schools affiliated to international boards that charge several thousand rupees per month, down to private schools that charge that charge hundred rupees a month and are meant for populace that can hardly spare that much."
They add, "Government schools, situated at the lower-most fringe of the continuum, have today become extremely homogeneous as they as they increasingly serve only children from the scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs) and girls, with few children from the other backward castes (OBCs) and those belonging to the general category."
This situation, the authors say, stands in sharp contrast to what had happened during the first 40 years of Independence, when "large public sector enterprises and inclusive townships provided a space wherein children (and families) from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds log d side by side and this provided an environment rich in diversity, in settlements as well as learning spaces."
The authors regret, "That has also shrunk drastically and almost disappeared today".

Comments

TRENDING

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.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.