Educationist and activist of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) R..V.G. Menon has urged the State to raise a collective plea for the removal of a provision in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act that threatened to destruct the general education sector of the State.

Introducing the Act at a seminar organised by KSSP on “Right to Education Act and Kerala” here on Wednesday, Mr. Menon said that the provision directing unaided schools to set apart 25 per cent of their admissions to children from economically and educationally weaker sections in their neighbourhood, the fees of which would be reimbursed by the State government, would amount to facilitating the operation of unaided schools by the State government.

There was no need to rope in unaided schools as there were government and aided schools in almost every neighbourhood in the State. This, it is feared, would result in a big drain from the State's exchequer and students from government and aided schools, he said.

He called for a big campaign based on a provision in the Act stipulating that “the media of instruction shall as far as practicable be in child's mother tongue.” It gives legal backing for the decades old campaign that imposing a foreign language on children was absolute cruelty and infringement on their right.

Mr. Menon said that the stipulation in the Act directing unrecognised schools to apply for recognition instead of closing them down was dangerous. In the event, the applicants satisfied certain minimum eligibility parameters the State government could do nothing but grant them recognition without considering many crucial factors like whether there was the need for such a school in the first place and how they promoted the cause of education.

This would result in all unrecognised schools becoming recognised unaided schools giving them the added opportunity to poach 25 per cent of students from government and aided schools, Mr. Menon said.

Kavumbayi Balakrishnan, president, KSSP, welcomed the gathering and K.T. Radhakrishnan, convener of the education committee, proposed a vote of thanks.


RTE Act: some rights and wrongsJuly 25, 2010

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