Friday, July 17, 2009

A world more educated

The HRD Minister Kapil Sibal deserves congratulations for a very proactive approach on the RTE Bill.
However, some urgent corrective measures have to take into account the fact that India's own development and advancement into the 21st century, notwithstanding the Millennium Development Goals aimed at 2015, depend entirely on proper planning and implementation of our approach to both school and higher education. Some issues on school education that need urgent attention include:
a) Recognition of Supreme Court’s historic Unnikrishnan judgment in 1993, that gives all children up to 14 years of age (including those very important formative below six years) as a Fundamental Right to quality Education. (Article 21 read with Article 45,the Directive Principles of State Policy should override the 86 th Constitutional Amendment Act that limits vide Article 21A, the fundamental right to 6-14 years).
We should understand that all major advanced countries across the globe have become developed nations because they recognise the importance of early childhood years as the foundation years in a child's growth and development. It is indeed a mystery as to how this fundamental fact as escaped our planners in a country that prides in our past gurukul heritage.
b)Unfortunately we in India foster a parallel public /missionary school system as also a discriminatory system of alternative, non-formal education, that furthers the rich and poor divide instead of providing the best to all children irrespective of their economic status.
C) Though 6(4) and(5) provide that all children deserve equitable education as enshrined in our Constitution be it an economic, social, cultural, linguistic, locational, disability barrier it does not promote competition and nurturing of talent which is so critical for a developing country like ours.
d)Any ambitious plan on the part of the federal and state governments have to be synergistic when it comes to the development of quality infrastructure and a state of the art school campus that attracts innovation,learning and excellence.
d) Ultimately, any plan would fail that does not have a built in code of ethics and a programme that respect the status and standing of the teaching fraternity that is beyond the clutches of the district babudom and the mechanisms of the District Collectorates as also the political hierarchy.

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