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Sunday, February 27, 2011

[PMARC] : Will this budget gi[PMARC] : Will this budget give a boost to children's Right to Education?ve a boost to children's Right to Education?

[PMARC] : Will this budget give a boost to children's Right to Education?

Dear friends,

 

In one sense, it is encouraging to note that the NGO sector is asking for raising educational expenditure to 6% of GDP which was denied by the farcical Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009 and will be denied further by the higher education Bills presently in the Parliament and more in the offing. But your demand still amounts to looking at half-truths and shrinking the agenda of people's struggle for their Constitutional Rights.

 

What about the cumulative gap of investment in education sector that has been building up annually since 1986 i.e. for 25 years? This means that each year there was a gap in building and opening schools; creating adequate teachers' posts; building new teacher training institutions and training teachers; ensuring pre-primary education in all elementary schools; providing infrastructural support like furniture, libraries, laboratories, toilets, potable water, playgrounds, computers, musical and sports equipment; guaranteeing appropriately trained teachers for the disabled and all necessary facilities including ramps, Braille and sign languages along with the necessary ICT and whatever else is needed for building an equitable education system for all sections of society without discrimination.

 

Please note that the Kothari Commission Report (1966) did not recommend that 6% of GDP must be provided annually for education. This is an incomplete and misconceived reading of the historic report. The Commission instead recommended in 1966 that the investment in education be increased such that it reached 6% of GDP (national income, to be precise) by 1986 and then maintained at that level thereafter.  

                                                                                                  

This is precisely why the National Policy on Education – 1986 (As modified in 1992) stated that "the outlay on education will be stepped up to ensure that during the Eighth Five Year Plan and onwards it will uniformly exceed 6 per cent of the national income. (emphasis mine)" [Section 11.4]

 

If we don't fight for fulfilling this investment gap running into several lakh crores of rupees at least by XII Five-Year Plan and then maintaining it at the level of 6% of GDP thereafter, we will never be able to guarantee education of equitable quality for all from "KG to PG". This bitter truth needs to be acknowledged despite the hyperbole of the RTE Act.

 

There is yet another critical but inextricably linked issue. The neo-liberal policies being pursued by the Indian State make it necessary to demand that the public funds made available for education will in no case be siphoned off to the NGOs, religious bodies and the corporate sector under the pretext of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which includes provision of direct and indirect subsidies, tax exemptions, school vouchers, reimbursement of fees under the guise of the so-called 'free seats' (as in the RTE Act) and low interest loans to corporate houses (through the proposed Education Finance Corporation Ltd.). Without including this demand in your struggle, you end up promoting, albeit indirectly, privatization and corporatization of education, including frequent fee hikes.

 

Only last week, a delegation of the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE) met leaders of several political parties, including the Congress, to urge upon them to advocate the above policy stance and vote against the neoliberal Bills presently in the Parliament as well as those about to be presented.  

 

Please think hard before you act lest you find yourself supporting the government's policy of the past 20 years of pursuing World Bank-IMF agenda of structural adjustments leading to privatization and corporatization of education and the WTO-GATS regime of commoditization of education for global trade, to the detriment of the larger interest of the Indian people.

 

I essentially shared all this (minus PPP, an agenda which was yet to emerge) during several public consultations organized by CRY and NAFRE in the year 2001 in order to build an uncompromising resistance against the neo-liberal 86th Constitutional Amendment. This is just for records.

 

Such continuing ambiguity in your stand for the past ten years only helps the government to continue to ruthlessly pursue its agenda to destroy the public education system and that, too, with legimisation provided by the so-called 'civil society' sector.

 

Hopefully you would rethink your stand and give up the self-defeating piecemeal incremental approach. This approach amply suits the government and its agencies working for the so-called market 'reforms'. We urge upon you to deliberate upon the agenda of the AIF-RTE (see three attachments) to resist the neo-liberal assault on education and reconstruct the entire education system from "KG to PG" in consonance with the principles of equality, social justice, secularism and democracy as enshrined in the Constitution.

 

With warm regards,

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Anil Sadgopal

 

-- --

Prof. Anil Sadgopal

Member, Presidium

All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE)

 

Contact:

E-8/29, Sahkar Nagar

Bhopal 462 039, M.P.

Email: anilsadgopal@yahoo.com  




From: Leena Prasad <leenadivansh@yahoo.com>
To: arkitectindia@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Fri, 25 February, 2011 10:19:23 PM
Subject: Re: [Arkitect India] Re: Will this budget give a boost to children's Right to Education?

 

As Volunteers of CRY   (Manorath) in Delhi, , we request you to join us in demanding that 6% of the GDP be allocated for Education. Please write a letter or forward this letter to our Honourable Finance Minister, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee at the following addresspkm@sansad.nic.in<mailto:pkm@ sansad.nic.in>.


To
Sri Pranab Mukherjee,
Honourable Finance Minister,
Government of India.

Dear Sir,

Over the course of the last 60 years, generations of children have not had access to education. Many of those who have been able to access it, have got very poor quality education due to shortcomings in infrastructure, teacher numbers and/or teaching quality.

We need to ensure that future generations of children, those born in the 21st century, are not deprived of their right to education and a childhood. As responsible citizens, we must ensure that all children get quality education.

This right is highly dependant on how much financial resources do we commit to our children's education from the public exchequer.

The Indian government's expenditure as a percentage of GDP has been a dismal 3.40% in 2008-2009. In 2000-2001 it was 3.94% and had dropped drastically to 3.01% in 2004-2005. The target of an expenditure of 6% of India's GDP was set as far back as 1968 by the Kothari Commission but is yet to be achieved. The target of 6% of GDP's expenditure also finds a mention in manifestos of all the political parties.

With the upcoming Annual Budget of the Union Government of India, we request you to increase the budgetary allocation towards education, especially elementary and secondary education, so that it achieves the target of 6% of the GDP of India.

Sincerely,

 .......................

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