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Press Release issued by the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE)

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  • AIF-RTE
      ALL INDA FORUM FOR RIGHT TO EDUCATION 306, Pleasant Apartments, Bazarghat, Hyderabad-4 Tel.: (040) 2330-5266
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 11, 2009

     

    ALL INDA FORUM FOR RIGHT TO EDUCATION

    306, Pleasant Apartments, Bazarghat, Hyderabad-4

    Tel.: (040) 2330-5266

    ________________________________________________________________________

    PRESS RELEASE

    09 November 2009/ New Delhi

     

    Here is the Press Release (also in attachment) issued by the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE) on 9th November 2009 from New Delhi at the conclusion of its two-day ‘All-India Consultation on Building a Movement for Right to Education’ held on 7-8 November at the Delhi University campus in collaboration with the Equal Opportunity Cell, Delhi University.

     

    The All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE) organized a two-day national

    consultation at the Delhi University campus on 7-8 November 2009 on ‘Building a

    Movement for Right to Education’ which was attended by the representatives of several

    teachers’ and students’ organizations, Right to Education groups, social movements,

    intellectuals and activists from 13 states of India . The national consultation expressed a

    deep concern over the rapidly deteriorating condition of the education system from preprimary stage to higher and technical education. The national consultation unanimously noted that,

    1. The recently enacted ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education

    Act, 2009’ (henceforth referred to as the ‘Right to Education Act, 2009’ or simply

    as the ‘RTE Act 2009’) is designed to (a) enable the State to abdicate its

    Constitutional obligation towards providing elementary education (class I-VIII) of

    equitable quality to all children in the 6-14 year age group; (b) demolish the entire

    government school system except the schools of certain elite categories (e.g.

    Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, XI plan’s 6,000 model schools, and

    similar elite schools of the States/UT governments); and (c) increase the pace of

    privatization and commercialization of school education. This Act would provide

    neither free education nor education of equitable quality. Rather, it would legitimize

    and maintain the multi-layered school system built through World Bank’s District

    Primary Education Programme (DPEP) during the 1990s and Sarva Shiksha

    Abhiyan (SSA) during the present decade. The central agenda of the Act is clearly

    to privatise and commercialise the school system through neo-liberal schemes such

    as Public Private Partnership (PPP), school vouchers, adoption of schools by

    corporate houses, religious bodies and NGOs.

    2. The decision of the government to provide for profiteering through education has

    dangerous socio-political implications for the stability, solidarity and sovereignty of

    the country.

    3. Public Private Partnership (PPP), which includes school vouchers, outsourcing and

    adoption of schools and colleges, is aimed at shifting of public funds to the

    corporate capital through the back door for unbridled profiteering.

    4. The Yashpal Committee Report on higher and technical education is a package of

    contradictions but, in the ultimate analysis, it rationalizes and supports the neoliberal

    agenda of privatisation and commercialisation of higher education

    institutions, PPP and differential fee structure; and welcomes second grade (or even

    worse) foreign universities and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). What is of even

    greater concern is that it fails to propose any credible plan for improvement of the

    quality of the existing 18,000 colleges and 400 universities in the country. Its

    recommendation of replacing the existing regulatory bodies such as UGC, AICTE,

    NCTE, MCI and others by a high empowered single window National Commission

    of Higher Education and Research (NCHER) would enable it draw its resources

    directly from the Ministry of Finance, thereby making it unaccountable to the

    democratically mandated Ministry of HRD. This is certainly a prescription for

    unbridled privatization and commercialization of higher education as well as entry

    of foreign universities and FDI.

    In light of the above, we urge upon the Union Government to,

    i) replace the RTE ACT 2009 with a new Act drafted in the framework of the

    ‘Common School System based on Neighborhood Schools’ in consonance with

    the basic spirit and principles enshrined in the Constitution;

    ii) review the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act (2002) with a view to providing

    a Fundamental Right to free and compulsory education of equitable quality to all

    children until the age of eighteen years i.e. until class XII, including early

    childhood care and pre-primary education;

    iii) create all necessary provisions within the Common School System to

    educate the disabled children therein, except in the case of certain extreme forms

    of disabilities for whom Special Schools may be required;

    iv) incorporate a Constitutional guarantee within the Act for providing

    adequate funding for the entire school system, including early childhood care and

    pre-primary education. This is precisely the implication of a Fundamental Right;

    and

    v) include in the Act a provision to completely ban all forms of privatisation

    and commercialisation of education, especially Public Private Partnership (PPP),

    adoption of schools by private agencies, outsourcing and voucher schools.

    In addition, we demand that,

    1. All private schools, aided or unaided, should be taken over by the government and

    handed over to the Local Bodies for management, except in the case of those

    charitable societies which give an undertaking to fulfill the same Constitutional

    obligation as a Government or Local Body school, including, among others,

    providing free education of equitable quality as a Neighbourhood School and

    appointing teachers under service conditions and salary scales applicable to the

    government school teachers.

    2. Upgrade the status of all Para Teachers previously appointed in schools under

    DPEP and SSA since the 1990s and include them in the cadre of regular teachers,

    while, at the same time, ensuring that their educational status through pre-service

    and in-service education is taken care of by the government, including its cost.

    3. Enact legislation to ban all forms of privatisation and commercialisation at all

    stages of education from pre-primary stage to higher and technical education, with

    severe penalty clauses against profiteering.

    3

    4. All forms of Public Private Partnership (PPP), including school vouchers, adoption

    by private parties and outsourcing, must be banned through legislation forthwith.

    5. The State must ensure that entirely free education of equitable quality is available

    at all stages of education from pre-primary to higher and technical education (“free

    education from KG to PG”).

    6. No foreign university should be allowed to function in India either directly or

    indirectly.

    7. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in education has no place at all in a country that

    is required under the Constitution to become a “sovereign, socialist, secular,

    democratic Republic”, apart from being entirely inconsistent with the principles of

    equality and social justice enshrined therein.

    8. The “offer” of higher and technical education made by the Govt. of India to the

    GATS Council must be withdrawn forthwith, lest they become “commitments”.

    9. The entire education system must be reconstructed to build a democratic, socialist,

    secular, egalitarian, and enlightened society and to protect the sovereignty of India ,

    on the one hand, and the democratic and human rights of the masses, on the other.

    The national consultation decided to undertake the following three-point programme:

    1. Organise a massive march to the Parliament during the forthcoming budget

    session of the Parliament in 2010.

    2. Open a sustained dialogue with various section of society including the dalits,

    tribals, OBCs, minorities, disabled and the nomadic, displaced and migrant

    population, especially the women in each of these sections of society, with a

    view to building a common understanding for moving towards a pro-people

    and democratic education system in India founded on the principles of equality

    and social justice.

    3. Undertake Pad Yatras throughout the country in order to carry forward the

    Right to Education movement to the district and Block levels.

    Members of the Presidium, Secretariat and National Council,

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

    1. Prof. G. Haragopal, University of Hyderabad .

    2. Dr. Meher Engineer, President, Indian Academy of Social Sciences.

    3. Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University & Former

    Member, CABE.

    4. Prof. Rama Kant Agnihotri, Deptt. of Linguistics, Delhi University .

    5. Ms. Madhu Prasad, Zakir Husain College , Delhi University .

    6. Sh. Kedar Nath Pandey, General Secretary, Bihar Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh.

    7. Sh. A. Narasimha Reddy, Vice President, A.P. Save Education Committee.

    8. Sh.. Prabhakar Arade, President, All India Federation of Elementary Teachers

    Organisations.

    9. Sh. Jagdish Pandey, President, U.P. Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh.

    10. Dr. V.N. Sharma, President, Jharkhand Vigyan Manch.

    11. Sh. Ravi Rai, General Secretary, All India Students Association (AISA).

     

    ------
    Secretariat
    All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE)
    New Delhi
    http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/aifrte/


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