Right to education: a leap that falls short?

April 1, 2010

INDIAIs 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?


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Anyone remember Garibi Hatao? Bijli Sadak Pani? It is the same Congress govt which raised these slogans. Now they are resorting to Right to Education, Health, etc etc. There is no way to measure the effectiveness of these programs in the real world. These “Rights” are framed in such a way that they declare a sense of “accomplishment” when they are conceived itself. Sonia Gandhi has declared the right to…….., hence it is no longer an issue. Now write it in the record books. Everyone remembers the slogan Garibi Hatao and laud Indira for that, but few really acknowledge that it was just a slogan and 40 years and 8 five-year plans later, we are still one of the poorest countries on the face of this planet.

Posted by Kautilya_IN | Report as abusive

Well I don’t agree completely with you guys. Parents have children and rest is government’s responsibility !! ? Is that your attitude !. For what purpose they are alive (Parents), You don’t have money to live, to feed your children and your self and the story goes on….., but they never realize that they need to limit the number of children they can have and afford based on their economic status.
Remember if you keep apart the Dynastic rule in Congress, It’s because and only because of Our PM Manmohan Singh that what we are today, If he was not there and reforms were not implemented in early 1990’s all of us may have ended up in the streets with begging bowls.
This reform as I understand gives 25 % seat reservation for poorer class children, no capitation fee, 1 teacher for every 30 students ( which I hope will drastically increase teachers numbers in entire country).some of the positive changes which gonna happen because of the this reform….
Don’t be so pessimistic and hopeless.
Pessimism is another form of laziness and laxity…

Posted by NaveenReddy | Report as abusive

Monmohan Singh definitely usherd in the “globalisation” of India. But the globalisation did very little for the BPL section of the population. The ever increasing threat from naxalites popping up every where is standing proof. Rather than speculating over the RTE act, it would be safe to say efforts should be directed towards montioring the flow of these funds. Diverting large amounts of cash to poor sections of society have always been accompanied by rampant corruption and inaccountability, fodder scam is just one example. The target population is extremely unorganized and deprived of basic amenities and security. The congress have had a poor track record when it comes to executing rural plans effectively. Towns like Rae Bareli and Bellary are the quintessential regions that are in desperate need of reform, both ironically have been safe houses for the Gandhi family.

Posted by RVShady | Report as abusive

To startwith government should enact right to have children act passed wherein only those parents should go for a child who can afford good education to her/him.

Posted by duasudhir | Report as abusive

I’m not so sure about 25% reservation in private schools for the deprived. This is again like bringing in caste reservation without evaluation and for Government’s shortcomings. If one looks at the higher education cess the govt has been collecting past 2-3 years, and yet haven’t made any significant improvement in the government schools, its again passing the buck to the private schools and bringing in the reservation there without stopping the collection of the cess money.

Posted by Cricketique | Report as abusive