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  • Janaki Rajan
    Dear Niranjan, Note on the Karnataka High Court Judgement 2013 on RTE 1. The Act being relied upon is the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 18, 2013
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      Dear Niranjan,

      Note on the Karnataka High Court Judgement 2013 on RTE
      1. The Act being relied upon is the Right of Children to Free and
      Compulsory Education per Curricula and Syllabi laid out by the
      Academic Authority, transacted in a manner free of physical, mental or
      emotional trauma in a clime of non-discrimination of children of the
      marginalized sections of society that guarantees achievement of
      learning of every child from 6-14 years of age.
      2. To this extent, the travails of the providers of education, be it
      that of resources, teacher emoluments, type of school etc. are second
      order and merely derivative of the primary fundamental Right-that of
      education of all children for 6-14 years in a child-centred manner to
      attain learning achievements.
      3. The implications of the universality of the educational right
      operates in the following ways:
      a. The legal obligation of ensuring that every child realizes their
      full educational potential implicitly requires mapping of the baseline
      of where the children are educationally, at age 6. It is self evident
      as well as proven by researched evidence that individual differences
      exist among all human beings and children are no exception. It is well
      documented that intellectual capability at birth is independent of
      parental caste, class, ethnicity or gender of the child in so far as
      there has been no systemic deprivation of the mother during gestation,
      barring extremely rare cases of congenital effects. In short, children
      of great intellect are just as likely to be born to parents of
      impoverished circumstances as that of the wealthy. It is also proven
      that these differences go beyond the realm of chance in the case(s) of
      children who are deprived nutritionally, in linguistic, sensory and
      social interactions in early childhood from 0-6 years of age. The
      Constitution of India even after the 86th Amendment, recognizes this
      through Article 45 under Directive Principles of State Policy. It is
      further well documented with evidence, apart from being self-evident,
      that, children who are first generation to engage in formal education
      require enhanced sensory, social and cognitive stimuli to help them
      develop intellectually in the 6-14 age group. Further, it is well
      documented, with evidence, that children who come from homes where
      parents and family members belong to the oracy culture but are not
      literate, require additional support to transition from the oracy mode
      to the literacy mode. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory
      Education from 6-14 years, necessarily implies the Right of children
      from marginalized sections to be provided additional enhanced support
      in the 0-6 years as well as 6-11 year, in order to realize their
      educational rights from 6-14 years. Given this implication, the locus
      of any interpretation of the primary purpose of the RTE must
      necessarily centre around overcoming accumulated deprivations in
      children of the marginalized. Because, they are the ones most in need
      of protection under RTE. Some parents who have ability to pay have
      consciously decided to put their children into private fee paying
      schools. It is their decision. They are welcome to put their children
      in government schools and if, and only if they do, can they join the
      parents of the marginalized who have been clamouring for quality
      education in government schools. Their voices must be heard while
      making decisions.
      b. All other considerations are second order. It follows that, as a
      Fundamental Right, Education of children up to 14 years of age
      (Article 21A and Article 45 taken together), being fundamental is
      irrespective financial considerations and therefore must be the first
      charge on the public exchequer, with clear provisions for additional
      resources for the children of the marginalized to overcome their
      historic and systemic disadvantage. This is a widely accepted
      principle in all developed countries. The cost per child from
      marginalized communities, CWSN, has, even under SSA been substantially
      more, and deservedly so to address accumulated disadvantages.
      c. The Judgment rightly dwells on the issues of differential quality
      of education under provision by various systems prevailing in the
      nation and recognizes the differences in quality of education provided
      by the state sector and the private sector, but stops short of
      examining the merits of the ‘quality’ in both sectors. To my mind,
      this ought to have been pursued to its logical end-a definitive
      statement on what constitutes quality under the law and where, upon
      examination on merits, the state sector and the private sector stand
      when the test of quality as defined by law is applied. Both sectors
      would be found falling far short-the state schools due to severe
      underfunding, resulting in shortages of teachers, training and
      materials, over centralization, redeployment of teachers when they
      should be teaching, not providing necessary and sufficient conditions
      for success of the teacher and students. The private schools err
      through veiled discrimination, promotion of competition, promotion of
      divisive exclusions. These must be considered carefully and
      correctives applied to both government and private schools. Indeed all
      schools must have to comply with the same set of RTE compliant
      standards. This has been recommended by Kothari Commission in 1966-68
      but has never been implemented-now it is more than ever necessary to
      do so.
      d. The Judgment appears to rely on parental perceptions. It is not the
      parent who is the party under UNCRC, ratified by India, the child has
      Rights that include education, in and of himself or herself.
      e. In my view, having flagged the substantive aspect of children’s
      rights, the Judgment at present, sheers away from the primary
      consideration on merits of the kind of school system that the RTE
      necessiates, by law, irrespective of the social class or category
      which the children come from.
      f. Applying the most rigorous test of RTE with respect to children
      would mean that we view children as a group as legal entities with
      inalienable rights irrespective of their parents. Under this test, the
      State is responsible for providing education as laid out in RTE, along
      with its implications based on evidence to provide enhanced resources
      to children of deprived communities. Such an interpretation is widely
      followed among developed countries. In such application of the test of
      RTE, parents and their wishes will legally need to work with the
      State, which is the loco parentis.
      g. Second order issues of some parental expectations, desires, ability
      to pay , if they are to be discussed at all, must also takes into
      consideration the anguished voices of parents of the marginalized
      demanding quality education that leads to equal opportunities for
      success.
      h. Why is the High Court even examining issues of payments for a
      Right to Free Education? What is the locus standi of private schools
      in a law for free education? By all logic, those who are not free
      have no business in matters of free education!
      i. Which brings me to who is responsible for ensuring the RTE? The
      State, of course, as variably, but in nested way, coherently
      responsible.
      j. Considering that the vast majority of the marginalized study in
      state sector schools, the deafening silence on the one of the largest
      groups of children who will be most crucially affected by RTE needs to
      be addressed.
      k. By elaborately dwelling on private schools with no locus standi
      (they can close tomorrow as far as RTE is concerned) and ignoring the
      very stakeholders of the RTE, the children
      of the marginalized, who constitute 60% of India’s children, and
      trying to provide relief to parents who voluntarily choose to send
      their children to private schools, and by taking the current pathetic
      state of affairs of government schools as immutable given, and not
      considering the impact of this on children who study in government
      schools, is like an Anil or Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata or Birla,
      demanding that they too, be employed on daily wages under MGNREGA for
      100 days.
      l. If at all a seminar is to be organized, it should involve all
      stakeholders, not merely those with the most voice and choice.
      Janaki
    • rajagopalan ss
      The time taken by children to attain their full educational competencies vary from child to child. In our system blossoming period differs very much. A
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 18, 2013
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        The time taken by children to attain their full 'educational competencies' vary from child to child. In our system blossoming period differs very much. A slow-learner at the primary level often is an achiever in college.  How to design a 'common' curriculum has been a problem while individualistic curriculum is far difficult to design and implement. We have to move away from age-related learning levels.
        ssr
        ll
        > To: arkitectindia@yahoogroups.com
        > From: rajan.janaki@...
        > Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2013 22:31:19 +0530
        > Subject: [Arkitect India]
        >
        > Dear Niranjan,
        >
        > Note on the Karnataka High Court Judgement 2013 on RTE
        > 1. The Act being relied upon is the Right of Children to Free and
        > Compulsory Education per Curricula and Syllabi laid out by the
        > Academic Authority, transacted in a manner free of physical, mental or
        > emotional trauma in a clime of non-discrimination of children of the
        > marginalized sections of society that guarantees achievement of
        > learning of every child from 6-14 years of age.
        > 2. To this extent, the travails of the providers of education, be it
        > that of resources, teacher emoluments, type of school etc. are second
        > order and merely derivative of the primary fundamental Right-that of
        > education of all children for 6-14 years in a child-centred manner to
        > attain learning achievements.
        > 3. The implications of the universality of the educational right
        > operates in the following ways:
        > a. The legal obligation of ensuring that every child realizes their
        > full educational potential implicitly requires mapping of the baseline
        > of where the children are educationally, at age 6. It is self evident
        > as well as proven by researched evidence that individual differences
        > exist among all human beings and children are no exception. It is well
        > documented that intellectual capability at birth is independent of
        > parental caste, class, ethnicity or gender of the child in so far as
        > there has been no systemic deprivation of the mother during gestation,
        > barring extremely rare cases of congenital effects. In short, children
        > of great intellect are just as likely to be born to parents of
        > impoverished circumstances as that of the wealthy. It is also proven
        > that these differences go beyond the realm of chance in the case(s) of
        > children who are deprived nutritionally, in linguistic, sensory and
        > social interactions in early childhood from 0-6 years of age. The
        > Constitution of India even after the 86th Amendment, recognizes this
        > through Article 45 under Directive Principles of State Policy. It is
        > further well documented with evidence, apart from being self-evident,
        > that, children who are first generation to engage in formal education
        > require enhanced sensory, social and cognitive stimuli to help them
        > develop intellectually in the 6-14 age group. Further, it is well
        > documented, with evidence, that children who come from homes where
        > parents and family members belong to the oracy culture but are not
        > literate, require additional support to transition from the oracy mode
        > to the literacy mode. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory
        > Education from 6-14 years, necessarily implies the Right of children
        > from marginalized sections to be provided additional enhanced support
        > in the 0-6 years as well as 6-11 year, in order to realize their
        > educational rights from 6-14 years. Given this implication, the locus
        > of any interpretation of the primary purpose of the RTE must
        > necessarily centre around overcoming accumulated deprivations in
        > children of the marginalized. Because, they are the ones most in need
        > of protection under RTE. Some parents who have ability to pay have
        > consciously decided to put their children into private fee paying
        > schools. It is their decision. They are welcome to put their children
        > in government schools and if, and only if they do, can they join the
        > parents of the marginalized who have been clamouring for quality
        > education in government schools. Their voices must be heard while
        > making decisions.
        > b. All other considerations are second order. It follows that, as a
        > Fundamental Right, Education of children up to 14 years of age
        > (Article 21A and Article 45 taken together), being fundamental is
        > irrespective financial considerations and therefore must be the first
        > charge on the public exchequer, with clear provisions for additional
        > resources for the children of the marginalized to overcome their
        > historic and systemic disadvantage. This is a widely accepted
        > principle in all developed countries. The cost per child from
        > marginalized communities, CWSN, has, even under SSA been substantially
        > more, and deservedly so to address accumulated disadvantages.
        > c. The Judgment rightly dwells on the issues of differential quality
        > of education under provision by various systems prevailing in the
        > nation and recognizes the differences in quality of education provided
        > by the state sector and the private sector, but stops short of
        > examining the merits of the ‘quality’ in both sectors. To my mind,
        > this ought to have been pursued to its logical end-a definitive
        > statement on what constitutes quality under the law and where, upon
        > examination on merits, the state sector and the private sector stand
        > when the test of quality as defined by law is applied. Both sectors
        > would be found falling far short-the state schools due to severe
        > underfunding, resulting in shortages of teachers, training and
        > materials, over centralization, redeployment of teachers when they
        > should be teaching, not providing necessary and sufficient conditions
        > for success of the teacher and students. The private schools err
        > through veiled discrimination, promotion of competition, promotion of
        > divisive exclusions. These must be considered carefully and
        > correctives applied to both government and private schools. Indeed all
        > schools must have to comply with the same set of RTE compliant
        > standards. This has been recommended by Kothari Commission in 1966-68
        > but has never been implemented-now it is more than ever necessary to
        > do so.
        > d. The Judgment appears to rely on parental perceptions. It is not the
        > parent who is the party under UNCRC, ratified by India, the child has
        > Rights that include education, in and of himself or herself.
        > e. In my view, having flagged the substantive aspect of children’s
        > rights, the Judgment at present, sheers away from the primary
        > consideration on merits of the kind of school system that the RTE
        > necessiates, by law, irrespective of the social class or category
        > which the children come from.
        > f. Applying the most rigorous test of RTE with respect to children
        > would mean that we view children as a group as legal entities with
        > inalienable rights irrespective of their parents. Under this test, the
        > State is responsible for providing education as laid out in RTE, along
        > with its implications based on evidence to provide enhanced resources
        > to children of deprived communities. Such an interpretation is widely
        > followed among developed countries. In such application of the test of
        > RTE, parents and their wishes will legally need to work with the
        > State, which is the loco parentis.
        > g. Second order issues of some parental expectations, desires, ability
        > to pay , if they are to be discussed at all, must also takes into
        > consideration the anguished voices of parents of the marginalized
        > demanding quality education that leads to equal opportunities for
        > success.
        > h. Why is the High Court even examining issues of payments for a
        > Right to Free Education? What is the locus standi of private schools
        > in a law for free education? By all logic, those who are not free
        > have no business in matters of free education!
        > i. Which brings me to who is responsible for ensuring the RTE? The
        > State, of course, as variably, but in nested way, coherently
        > responsible.
        > j. Considering that the vast majority of the marginalized study in
        > state sector schools, the deafening silence on the one of the largest
        > groups of children who will be most crucially affected by RTE needs to
        > be addressed.
        > k. By elaborately dwelling on private schools with no locus standi
        > (they can close tomorrow as far as RTE is concerned) and ignoring the
        > very stakeholders of the RTE, the children
        > of the marginalized, who constitute 60% of India’s children, and
        > trying to provide relief to parents who voluntarily choose to send
        > their children to private schools, and by taking the current pathetic
        > state of affairs of government schools as immutable given, and not
        > considering the impact of this on children who study in government
        > schools, is like an Anil or Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata or Birla,
        > demanding that they too, be employed on daily wages under MGNREGA for
        > 100 days.
        > l. If at all a seminar is to be organized, it should involve all
        > stakeholders, not merely those with the most voice and choice.
        > Janaki
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
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