“It is a shame that India has not been able to ensure elementary education for all its young citizens despite the commitment made at the time of drafting the Constitution,” Bandhua Mukti Morcha president Swami Agnivesh has said here to mark the one year of the Right to Education Act.
“The right to education is essential for the future of children and the nation. The people are not ready to compromise if the government fails to implement quality, equitable education,” Swami Agnivesh said.
Representatives from education, politics, social development and student communities attended the rally which was organised by the Right to Education Forum an informal alliance of education networks, civil society organisations and people's movements.According to RTE Forum spokesperson Ambarish Rai, the Indian public which had been highly enthusiastic when the Act came into force, were disappointed since “the quality and reach of education remains far lesser than what it should have been in past one year. The awareness level is such that only one in six people are aware of the Act. Basic provisions like safe drinking water and clean toilets are also not available in large numbers of schools”. The need for the Government to stop discriminatory practices in schools was highlighted as was the requirement for the State and Central Governments to work together for effective implementation rather than passing the buck. In a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Forum placed a host of demands including ensuring availability of adequate resources for the implementation of the Act, pushing for more effective mechanisms for creating awareness regarding key provisions of the Act, and formation of State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights.
Accelerating employment of adequately trained teachers in all vacant teacher positions, revival of teacher training institutes and addressing the issue of regulating private education providers were other demands.