indian right to (elementary) education ‘act’: redux

A couple of months back, I had posted about  the right to education ‘act’ (2009). This contained a gist of the union act, concerns and comments on it, along with a gratuitous list of questions.

Of course, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then and  is now beginning to flow over it too! There have been quite a few meetings by genuinely concerned individuals  – a few that I know of were held in Pune, Bangalore and Mysore – and I attended the Bangalore one. Some fantastic people have gotten together, to represent and air the voices of multifarious small & ‘alternative’ schools, subscribing to little known, but holistic learning philosophies… The signal-to-noise ratio in the outpourings of these folks has been very high. Hope all their efforts to retain the diverse fabric of Indian Education scene will bear fruit…

In the meantime, as predicted by me earlier, madrasas (the ‘islamic’  institutions) are going to be made exempt from this so called RTE act, thanks to Kapil Sibal’s (who is the Indian Union Minister for Human Resource Development) intervention.

Kapil Sibal, otherwise a brilliant thinker and doer, does what is expected of his congressish political persona – and dishes out a token solution to appease; at one level, these kinds of  random ‘vote oriented’ concessions are actually disrespectful to the minority communities. It is one thing to make certain clauses (from the act) exempt for the minority schools, and it is an entirely different thing to exempt them in toto from the provisos of the RTE act. Anyway, here is the offending link from The Hindu: “Madrasas will be kept out of RTE Act”

So may be, all the Montessori, Steiner and ‘K’ schools, the latter as in Kafka – and all the other so called ‘alternative’ ones – all need to loudly proclaim that they are practicing a religion, and that their religious practice commands that they don’t subscribe to the RTE rules or whatever, why not?

I am wondering what all the gazillion Christian ‘missionary’ schools going to do, post the announcement of Kapil Sibal!

In the meantime, our Karnataka state government has come out with a draft version of the RTE rules as applicable to the state.

The draft is here:

Till the end of august 2010, one can submit memo / note / requests / suggestions of modifications etc to the competent authorities – stemming from the draft rules.

I sincerely hope that at least some of the readers of this weblog will take up the task, in the interests of education. (I am definitely going to send my views)

(( I still feel that the heart of the union RTE bill is in the right place, but it is only with a few contentious points that I have grave problems; of course I also feel that the implementation of the ‘act’ will be fraught with issues, both for the official machinery and for the targetted schools ))

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