RE: Debating ‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008’
Thank you Vinod for sharing valuable sources that do indeed shed light on many issues. Just three points that could be of interest: i) Gandhi advocates self-support as an alternative, a measure out of a puzzle that threatens inaction on the part of the state with regard to education. However he does lay down a significant `condition' for this alternative to work even to take us out of the puzzle situation - that the state take all the manufacture of the schools. Surely this emphasises in Gandhi's view the financial, administrative and above all moral responsisbility of the state for the system of universal elementary education? ii) The democratic constraints and varied interests represented by the existing educational structures would, as you have correctly pointed out, impinge on the present Free and Compulsory education Bill 2008. However, under circumstances of financial crunch, should the Bill have allowed schools that can claim independence from the Bill's conditionalities, or financial reimbursement on the 25% weaker sections quota, to be eligible for receiving substantial `grants' (often far larger than the recurring expenses that define `aided' schools) from public funds and yet be regarded as `unaided'? There seems to be nothing `democratic' involved here. iii) On the question of mother tongue as the medium of instruction and the present concern for knowledge of English as a professional necessity. The pedagogically sound solution would be to retain the former as the medium of instruction but to introduce English as a subject, to be taught adequately and imaginatively, even from Class 1.
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