Quality education and skills training are two of the most critical ingredients for youth empowerment, for the demographic dividend, and for a prosperous and peaceful India. The access to education is now almost universal; we have built schools, provided mid-day meals, uniforms and textbooks to attract students to schools. And more than 96% of school-going age children are in schools.
In 2009, with the introduction of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the government declared that all children between ages 6 and 14 are entitled to education paid for by the state.
The RTE is supposed to be about education, and about universal access to that education. It seeks to accomplish this by looking at all the things that go into education - school buildings, curriculum, textbooks, teachers, other children in the classroom - and trying to ensure that what is offered to all children is the same.
The state is all set to implement the Right to Education (RTE) law and recently issued a notification that included the issue of private schools being asked to reserve 25 per cent seats for underprivileged children.
A meeting of industry representatives, educationists and social activists was held here on Thursday to discuss ways to implement RTE rules in the state, in association with Times Foundation and Yuva Unstoppable.
What do programmes like the New Pension Scheme (NPS), the UIDAI, the Right to Education, the Right to Information, and many more, have in common, apart from the fact that all have been launched by the UPA? Almost all, believe it or not, were originally efforts made by individuals/NGOs which have now got mainstreamed and have the potential, in both good ways and bad, to change our lives in a big way.
Over the last year, eleven-year old Sameera Ullah and her younger sister Saeeda have begun faring well at school.
Earlier this week, I spent two days at a fascinating colloquium on Indian liberalism in the outskirts of Bangalore. At night we slept in airconditioned tents, and in the day, gathered in a conference room and discussed weighty matters like the definition, relevance and scope of Indian liberalism. I was awed by the intellectual firepower that I was privileged to be in the company of -- but, at the same time, there hung in the air a whiff of the same kind of dissonance that the airconditioned tents evoked.
Over the years, India has aspired to provide education to every child in the age group of 6-14. Sadly, as some recent surveys and data show, there is a huge gap between aspirations and actual achievements. This gap can only be filled by encouraging private involvement over and above reforming government schools.
State of elementary education in India
It is in recognition of the merit of private schools that the Act says they must reserve seats for the poor. Why not give students a 100 per cent choice?
The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act entrusts the government with the responsibility to ensure that every child gets quality education in India. Does this mean that every child has to go to a building called “government school”? Is the school’s ownership really critical to assuring education? Does it really matter to parents and children where they get quality education?
Good morning! It is my great honor to welcome you to the School Choice National Conference. It’s hosted by the School Choice Campaign of the Centre for Civil Society. CCS practices Social Change through Public Policy! We are a think tank that uses research and advocacy to review and recommend changes in policy in the areas of education, livelihood, and governance and also engages India’s youth through our New Ideas, New Leaders programs.