Many miles still to cross before RTE becomes successful
Participants in the National Stocktaking Convention on RTE implementation took stock of the progress made in the fourth plenary session, since its inception in 2009, and also to meet the deadlines set forth by 2015.
Out of six thematic sessions one such session discussed on equity and inclusion as one of the topics where various representatives put forth before the audience comprising students, teachers, academicians and RTE activists about the shortcomings that are yet to be sorted out at the earliest.
At least seven speakers shared their valued experience in the forum with Annie Namala being as the moderator of this session.
P K Pincha, who is the chief commissioner of People with Disability, was the first to speak, and briefed about his concerns on students with disability who need to catch up a lot in order to match their peers and find a stable footing in the society. He talked about changing the education system and clamoured for a friendly education system for the disabled children.
Next, it was the turn of Mukut, who hails from Assam, and narrated on the difficulties faced by the students in the north east who do not get read about their culture and ethnicity in their curriculum, and called for inclusion of topics originating from that region. He stressed on narrowing the gap that exists between mainland India and North-East.
Naz, an RTE activist, spoke about the problems which RTE facing in being truly inclusive vis a vis minority community, especially Muslims.
She spoke on the high instances of drop outs being seen in the government schools where kids go to study in comparison to madarsas. She called for bringing in modern education in the madarsas which has been given equivalence as government schools. She also asked to implement punitive punishment on those who target the minority community on the kind of dress code that they wear.
Then the other two participants Miss Rajnee Topo from JNU and Anill Pradhan representing RTE, Orissa, both delved on improving the quality of education for the Tribals.
While Rajnee spoke on having Tribal language as the means of disseminating mass education, Anil Pradhan the other speaker on having more Tribal teachers in educational institutions and schools so that the tribals feel a part of the mainstream and are not alienated.
Parul hailing from RTE forum Gujarat spoke in the forum raising several pertinent issues highlighting the need on giving away the students a say in the overall decision making process.
She also stressed the fact that children are not being given the say in choosing the kind of course that they want to pursuein their life and hence desired results could not be seen as a result. The RTE activist said that unless the education system gives importance on the students then even having an effective curriculum will not back up the essence of RTE.
Bhupesh who was the last speaker in the forum, highlighted on managing conflict situation where he stressed on Chhattisgarh as the classic example where the left wing extremism hasstruck terror at the hearts and minds of people who are afraid to send their wards to schools. He talked about the fear that persists within the children to come to schools each time a naxal attack takes place and the ensuing atmosphere that results in complete shutdown of schools as the security men takes control of it in the process. He talked about schools are the first casualty when any violence happens. The speaker also highlighted the session on formulating curriculum for those children who get displaced because of conflicts and called a different form of education for them
The session was lively as various inquisitive listeners who came from various states around India started asking questions and sought for urgent remedy in their areas where they see mismanagement in the education system.
At the end the participants and RTE activists resolved to reach those goals set for 2015 so that education for all reaches its logical ending.
(Posted on 14-03-2014)