Implement RTE in letter and spirit
Standing at the school gate, the feeling of walking into a familiar space brings great joy to many.
Standing at the school gate, the feeling of walking into a familiar space brings great joy to many. But the same joy turns into horror when school managements, in the name of money, target young students.
Recently, eight children were asked to leave their school as the management didn’t believe in giving free admission anymore, thanks to the school’s recently acquired minority status.
The introduction of a landmark Act like the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009 or Right to Education, was to stop discrimination against children on the basis of caste or economic status.
The eight children were told that they cannot continue studying with their friends because their parents have not paid the fees, a move which goes against the letter and spirit of the Act. Hundreds of children are being put through similar trauma on a daily basis in schools across the country.
So, even as the state boasts of being the first in the country to implement RTE, its proper application and sustenance have taken a hit. Four years since its implementation, students still seem to be victimised by schools, and most of the perpetrators get away unscathed.
The government can continue insisting that the Act is foolproof but many loopholes seem to be defying the very purpose of implementing this policy. If the government cannot ensure basic equality of rights to our children, it is safe to say we are cheating the future generation of their rights.
To begin with, the authorities policy makers, the government and schools now need to work together to eradicate inequality from its very roots. Strict action needs to be taken against flouters and proper awareness needs to be created among the general public about their rights.
RTE can be the policy which changes the face of education in India, provided all the loopholes are plugged to ensure that no child is ever left standing outside a school again.