RTE activists and educationists come together against Delhi government’s education bills

India Campaign for Education, a national forum for advocacy on the RTE was formed on Sunday by a group of educationists and activists working towards implementation of Right to Education (RTE) act. Even a statement was issued by them in which they expressed deep concern about education-related decisions taken by Delhi government.

Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia during assembly session
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and CM Arvind Kejriwal during Assembly session

Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia presented Delhi School Education (Amendment) Bill, 2015 on Friday in the ongoing session of Legislative Assembly. The amendments in the question are removal of Section 10(1) of the Delhi School Education Act (1973) and Section 16 of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education. The same has been issued by dozen activists and educationists, including former chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Shantha Sinha.

The statement has also been signed Babu Mathew, John Kurien, Pravin Mahajan, Ashok Agarwal, Dayaram, Venkat Reddy, Dipa Dixit, Suryakant Kulkarni, G. Ganesan, Suraj Kumar, Kalyan Dangar and Lalit Babar.

As per the statement issued, “The Delhi government’s actions on important issues should be an example for all other state governments in the country, and be setting the trend in favour of the poor and their aspirations for social transformation. Hence, it is expected that the government drops the above retrogressive measures, and retains the existing provisions in support of children’s right to education.”

The forum contends that deleting Section 10(1) of the Delhi School Education Act (1973) will do away with pay parity of teachers and other employees of recognized private schools with those of government schools, we strongly believe that this is in contravention of the right to equality and is in negation of all the gains made by teachers to recognize their services as qualified professionals. More importantly it dilutes the quality of education.

On the other hand, if Section 16 of the Right to Education Act 2009 is deleted, in the opinion of the Forum, children will be demoralized and pushed out of school. Instead of deleting this clause the forum has asked the government to take such initiatives on their part so as to improve quality of education and make sure that children are learning and moving from one class to the next without disruption.

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