Wednesday, 19 August 2015

On a Historical Verdict by Allahabad High Court to Save the Education System

“The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday took a serious note of the pathetic condition of primary schools in the state and directed the chief secretary to ensure that children/wards of government officials/servants, those serving in the local bodies, representatives of people and judiciary etc., send their wards to these schools. 

Only then would they be serious enough to look into the requirements of these schools and ensure that they are run in good condition, the court observed.

During the course of hearing, the court noticed the deplorable condition of these schools and observed that although they are catering to the needs of 90% population of children, their condition could be described as shabby.”
 -TIMES OF INDIA, August 19th 2015
There is no dearth of constitutional provisions to educate the children of our country. The below are some of the provisions that points towards the responsibility of the state to have the indispensable role in educating the young minds of our country.

Article 29(1) states “No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.”

The Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution has also adopted the four fold ideal of justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Our Constitution laid down that in the eyes of law, everyone should have an equal status, to no one the justice be denied, everyone should have liberty of thought, expression.

The fundamental right of equality clearly signifies that in the eyes of law no distinction can be made on the basis of any position, caste, class or creed. Side by side the right of equality of opportunities to all is also provided. The equality of opportunity is meaningless, unless there are equal opportunities for one’s education.

The well-known Kothari Commission, 1964-66 recommended that Central Government should undertake the responsibility in education for the equalization of educational opportunities with special reference to the reduction of inter-state differences and the advancement of the weaker section of the community.

Provisions under Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy that, “The state shall endeavour to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory Education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.”

Article 15, 17, 46 safeguard the educational interests of the weaker sections of the Indian Community, that is, socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Under Article 46 of the Constitution, the federal government is responsible for the economic and educational development of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

All these years successive governments in Centre and various states have been running away from their prime responsibility to provide free and compulsory quality education to all children. Though several committees have been appointed on educational matters, no government accepted suggestions for democratic and equitable education system in our country. The state that always supported the interest of the elite class/caste sabotaged the idea of common school system. It thwarted all possibility for the emergence of a country that got equality, freedom from the tyranny of caste system, discrimination and all kind of oppression. 

What happened with the implementation of District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), which was continued with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), was the collusion of Indian state with World Bank and International Monitory Fund (IMF), the agents of Imperial forces.  It was aimed at confining the quality elementary education and higher education only for the minority elite class. Now Indian education is widely open for the market forces to implement their agenda of business and profiteering. It will force the children from the marginalized sections , if possible to be literate, to find livelihood in some unorganized sections, self employed sectors or some kind of laborers (skilled or unskilled) without any right to demand any job opportunities that require deep knowledge and sophisticated skills. 

The Allahabad High court verdict has serious implications and it could be the first step towards a common school system where every children of India will have equitable and quality free education if implemented without diluting. It is a crucial step to improve the education system in government schools and thus the entire education system in the country which would weaken and annihilate the private school lobby which has grown to a mafia now. Though this verdict does not have all the essential provisions for a strengthening the public school system, if implemented nationwide it would give hope for a society with relatively less disparity and oppression.

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