Right to education: a leap that falls short?
Is the government short-changing the nation on right to education?
Not all is hunky-dory with the ‘right to education’ law that has come into force.
The law puts to work a constitutional amendment of 2002 that made education a fundamental right.
Fali Nariman, the famous jurist who argued the landmark ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution case, points out that the amendment took away more from the children than it gave to them.
Nariman says the Supreme Court in its various judgements clearly laid out the ‘right to education’ for every child till the age of 14.
However, the amendment and the Act enforcing it only covers children between 6 to 14 years of age.
Also the ‘right to education’ is further qualified as the government may decide the manner in which this education is provided.
Moreover in guaranteeing the right to education the constitutional amendment and the Act also (by adding to the list of fundamental duties) made it obligatory on parents to ensure opportunities for education for their children.
In his address on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said parents and guardians have an important role to play.
Isn’t the ‘right to education’ about the duty of the state rather than parents who may not be able to afford it?
Does that reflect the middle-class mentality which blames the poor for population woes (why do they have so many children?) and illiteracy (why don’t they send their children to schools?)
Does the political class deserve the credit it is courting?
Or is it just an April Fools’ Day dressing?