The right to education act of the constitution promises compulsory education for all children in the age group six to fifteen years within ten years of its implementation.
It’s been ages and nothing happened. But finally i see a ray of hope, thanks to Sibal.
Only the educated can realize how huge a blessing it is to hold that black and white sheet that displays your marks statement.
The right to education act is a revolutionary act. Apart from making education compulsory for kids aged between 6 and 14, 25% of the seats in all schools, private included will be reserved for the disadvantaged lot. The latter idea has been given ample thought. One might argue that the disadvantaged kids might fall prey peer pressure in most private schools. However, this process is applicable only to admissions for standard one, starting in the year 2011. Kids don’t understand caste, status, colour or creed. They don’t worry like adults. A child that age traveling to school in a BMW will willingly hug his friend who takes a public bus on the other hand. He wouldn’t mind inviting him to his b’day party either. The next induction will in the school will take place next year again for class one. Thus, it will actually take 12 years for the 25% to be filled in and no one is harmed. NO peer pressure. Everyone study and grow together from the beginning. That’s slow. But definitely, well thought.
1.72 lac crores have been invested towards this act for the next five years..Science and maths syllabus will be common to schools across the country. The point not to be missed here is that we are talking about the core syllabus here and not the teaching style or the books. Common entrance exams will be held on the lines of SAT for admissions to professional courses. Good idea again.
One interesting finding as i read through the Act is that schools collecting donations will be fined ten times the same amount if caught. I know a school here in Bangalore where parents willingly shell out huge sums of money for a single seat. The seats are literally auctioned. There are many such schools across the country, i’m sure. I wonder if things that happen under the table can ever be curbed.
Coming back, the teacher student ratio has been limited to 1:30 and the minimum working hours for a teacher has been defined to be 45 hrs per week.
Only seven percent of the schools in India fall under the government category. The remaining whooping 93% are private schools.
To make India powerful, we need to invest in our future, our children. We need to set a system in place. We need to find ways to tackle prime reasons for low literacy rates like education a girl child or preventing dropouts.
Infrastructure has to be upgraded. The number of classrooms need to be appropriate. A lot of children still write their board examinations being seated on the floor. If this is the state in a city like bangalore, you can imagine how things could be in say, Bihar or Arunachal Pradesh.
Separate toilets for boys and girls is a primary requirement and should be made mandatory in schools. A tidy kitchen where drinking water and nutritious food is served can do wonders to attract the disadvantaged.
Proper schools must be designed keeping in mind the nature of terrain, the nature of population and its movement. In this way, we can wean away those who are trapped in child labour. Most importantly, the teachers must do what they are there for. They must teach! I feel really sorry for teachers. We really have to take their responsibility for the simple reason that they take responsibility of our children and on the whole of our nation.The profession needs to be made attractive and respectful. People have to be sensitized about the role of a teacher in building a society. They need to be allowed some freedom. housing loans, life insurance et all must be entailed to those who take up this profession.
The Delhi state government passed a law that ensures equal salaries to both private and government school teachers. More such laws are welcome.
The education system needs to pay focus to quality. The concept of free and compulsory education means an education that is free for the child and compulsory for the state. We really need to understand this. For this act to be clearly effective, many factors need to be supportive like for example, inflation needs to come down.
This act will do what it has been designed for only if all stake holders- parents, friends, neighbours, school managements, panchayat, state govts and teachers work together as a group and not as a single entity. Success of the Right to Education Act means the empowerment of over 220 million kids of our country.
Let’s hope India shines!