People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 14

April 04, 2010

On Right to Education Bill

The following is the press statement released by the Students’ Federation of India on April 1                     

  THE Right to Education Bill will be notified as an Act on April 1, 2010 by the government. The bill was brought and passed by government after 16 years of struggle to ensure free and compulsory education for all children in six to fourteen years age group as a fundamental right.

However the manner in which the UPA government diluted the bill has made it incapable of delivering on the expectations the bill was supposed to fulfill. The SFI has always had the position that while the passing of the RTE bill is a progressive step in itself, a constant struggle has to be waged to make the bill implement its stated objective in letter and spirit. We would like to reiterate the following demands vis-ŕ-vis the RTE bill on the day it is going to become an act and appeal to all progressive democratic minded sections of the society to carry forward the struggle to achieve these demands.

What the RTE Act needs to ensure:

·        The entire expenditure for the implementation of the Right to Education should be borne by the central government.

·        Education of children of 0 to 6 and 14-18 has to be brought into the purview of the Act, thereby universalising both primary and secondary education 

·        Required number of government/aided schools should be opened, with hostel facilities particularly in tribal areas, in course of time for ensuring universal enrolment. Every habitat must have a school up to class XII level within the prescribed distance limits. For admission of children belonging to weaker sections reservation to 25 percent of the seats in unaided schools must be ensured, or else no subsidy should be given.

·        “Special” schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, Sainik Schools, etc. should be treated on par with other government/aided schools.

·        Teacher-pupil ratio should be brought to appropriate levels; qualified teachers should be appointed and periodical training given to them, adequate infrastructure should be provided in every school to ensure quality of education imparted and mid-day meal should be extended to all school students.

·        The needs of differently abled children should be fully taken care of.

·        The achievement of relevant learning outcomes via pedagogical support, teaching aids, curriculum changes, remedial classes and other such mechanisms through the adoption of suitable legislative measure should be ensured.

·        There should be strong social monitoring mechanism in every school involving parents and the local community as well.