Re: Debating Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008
Dr Sadgopal (2, 5, 16 January) rightly argues that the Bill as it stands
1. is a serious dilution of fundamental rights to 1a. health and nutrition (because of its exclusion of age groups 0-6 and 14-18); and 1b. education (both because of its exclusion of age groups 0-6 and 14-18; and because of its escape clause on the right to mother-tongue medium education)
2. exacerbates the commercialization of education
3. continues to favour some government schools over others
4. continues to discriminate between private and government schools
Dr Raina too, after listing 10 features of the Bill, mentions "omissions" - provisions he would have liked to see in the Bill. But Dr Raina pragmatically urges us that the present Bill must not be "abandoned in pursuit of a politically elusive and adventurist 'perfect bill'."
In any event, the Government seems to be going ahead with passing the Bill in the budget session in February. In that case, our discussions of the Bill become, as Dr Sadgopal puts it "part of a campaign to raise the public consciousness on wider educational issues for a future Bill for genuine RTE."