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

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."