Shiksha ka Adhikar – Nyay ka Adhikar

Objectives:

The passage of the Right to Education Act in 2009 was followed by a loss of focus and momentum in public policy on education.  While the demand for  education rose, public provisioning of  education has receded. Education is being privatized and left to low-grade profiteers. The last five years were characterized by a steady hand-over to market forces on one hand, and the state’s active role in eroding the academic autonomy of  institutions of higher learning on the other. Systemic recovery from the damage done in recent times calls for a new policy perspective and strategy.

  • In school education, the priority should be restoring the momentum of progress in the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) while resurrecting early childhood education and care as an integral part of the RTE ;
  • In secondary education, the current disarray must give way to a focus on retention of disadvantaged students, increase in curricular choices and reform of the examination system.
  • The number of Industrial Training Institutes need a radical increase, along with significant reform in their curricula and examination systems
  • The higher education system has passed through a multi-dimensional crisis. Financial security of public universities, support for centres of advanced research and restoration of the autonomy and dignity of higher education institutions are urgent priorities.

Action points

8.1 Ensure that every school is RTE compliant by 2022. Extend RTE to age 16 and make early childhood education and care an integral part of RTE.

8.2Increase expenditure on education to a minimum of 6% of GDP.

8.3 Set up a National Village Education Fund to support state governments to improve the quality of education in rural schools and to set up rural colleges and universities that focus on rural issues.

8.4 End shortage of teachers by filling vacancies through regular recruitment of teachers at all levels and overhauling of teacher training programmes as per the recommendations of the J S Verma committee.

8.5 Ensure a ten-fold increase in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) over the next five years.

8.6 Undertake a national campaign to sustain universal functional literacy and numeracy.

8.7 Allocate an additional 1% of GDP for public universities with a special programme to revive and support state universities and affiliated colleges and ten-fold increase in the number of fellowships for students from poor families and marginal social communities.

8.8 Restoring and strengthening autonomy for higher educational institutions, including freedom for dissent, internal self-governance and non-bureaucratic regulation of professional institutions.

8.9 Upgrade Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas and provide residential facilities for under privileged students upto the college level.

8.10 Set up a National Education Commission to formulate a new national policy and programmes for action.