Right To Education Act: The Cruel Joke On Our Children

Right To Education was thought of as an obligation of the governments at the Centre and in the States to make available government schools to all children who wanted to attend a school. In itself it is a laudable objective. If, just like roads and other similar civic services, governments take upon themselves to make available seats in government schools equal to the need in a given locality, the children will have an affordable and dependable education system available to them.

But like everything the Leftists do, the Act as it was finally passed, the Right To Education Act (RTE), turned out to be what the Leftists love the most: an instrument to control private schools, and to destroy education as such, so that Leftists have an army of stultified followers unable to grasp reality of their destructive ideology.

The destructive effects of RTE are as under:

The Act stipulates that a child cannot be failed till class VIII (section 16). That is, if a child fails his exams, still he is to be promoted to the next standard. That is, the child is to be told that he has actually passed, even if he has failed. So, the country is to lie to the child, to his parents, to the society, to his prospective employers, to itself. The country is actually teaching the child how to lie, and instead of educating him, is damaging him for life. His parents would never know that he is not being taught in the class, the society would never know that the child that has been declared VIII pass is not actually VIII passed, and his employer is cheated by telling him that he is hiring an eighth pass person whereas he actually may not be even standard I pass. What kind of citizenry we are creating for the country can be easily guessed from this mass delusion, codified as a law duly passed by the country’s parliament.

Other stipulations in the RTE Act (Section 19, 23(1) and (3), 25(1), and 28) specify teachers’ qualifications, child to teacher ratios, size of classrooms, and size of playground. This applies not only to the government schools, but also the private schools. Providing these mandated things costs money, which means cost of education has been raised unnecessarily. Education till VIII standard doesn’t have to cost that much, and in case of Arts education, even up to college level education can be imparted at a very low cost.

Indians grew up studying in schools with hardly any classrooms, homemade writing material, and few good books subsidised by the State. And they are doing very well in life. By these stipulations, government has effectively made it impossible to have low cost private schools, and is incurring unnecessary expenditure on government schools.

A Supreme Court judgement, flawed judgement, has declared minority run schools outside the purview of the RTE Act. This effectively means that such schools can still be run at a very low cost. That means that majority community run schools have become prohibitively costly, and are indeed getting shut down as a result, thus pushing all the children into the minority run schools which also double up as religious instructions schools, seriously endangering the faith of children of the majority community. The Supreme Court judgement is flawed, because if the RTE Act is an interference in the private schools, the government cannot be said to have the right to interfere only in the schools run by a management committee whose members follow the same religion as is followed by a numerical majority, but the same government cannot interfere in a school if it is run by a management committee whose members follow a religion not in numerical majority in the country. Such flagrant violation of the most basic law of equality before law should not be allowed. But it has been allowed and the result is that lakhs of schools run by majority community have closed, and new ones are not being set up. This has left the children of majority community with only two alternatives: either attend badly managed government schools, or attend minority run schools and become subject to religious education of a religion that is not their own.

The Act has also saddled the government schools with numerous regulations, and a so called management committee. This has seriously eroded the autonomy of the Principals and teachers of government schools. Instead of teaching the children, they are busy complying with various directives of the management committee and the army of inspectors the committee has created. Section 17(1) of the Act stipulates that teachers cannot give corporal punishment or cause mental harassment. Disciplining the child is the duty of adults. Teachers cannot be prevented from disciplining the children if the class is to function. Every disciplinary action involves some element of physical punishment, and some mental harassment. This section is wholly unconstitutional and illegal, and an injustice to the remaining class. But the section is there, and as a result, teachers no longer try to discipline the class, badly affecting the atmosphere in the class. The children no longer learn the value of discipline, and never run manners and do not develop respect for the teachers and persons in authority.

All above has badly affected the academic work-the only purpose of a school. So, the government schools have become worse than they were before the Act was passed. This means more children are forced to attend minority run schools.

To sum, the only purposes of the RTE Act seem to push children of the majority community into minority run schools which also impart religious education of the religion of the minority that owns the school, thus jeopardising the faith of the children of the majority community; and to raise illiterate children falsely certified to be VIII passed.