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UNIVERSALIZATION of ELEMENTARY EDUCATION [ UEE ]: Grassroots perspectives and the Indian polity. Sanjiv Kaura National Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education ( NAFRE ). AMARTYA SEN’S PHILOSOPHICAL ANECDOTE.
Grassroots perspectives and the Indian polity
National Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education (NAFRE)
“ My student once told me as to why I haven’t changed the content of my thoughts since 1950s.
“ My reply was –
Because surrounding environment hasn’t changed;
I will probably die saying the same things.”
“ Primary education needs a far stronger political will.
It is sad that this important area of nation building
does not attract the best and the brightest administrators.”
- Atal B Vajpayee,
22nd Oct., 1998,
government documents or
government appointed Commissions
1/8th = The INDIA known for IT, doctors ,
engineers and Amartya Sen
7/8th = Ground reality INDIA called ‘Bharat’
1947 : Constitution drafters overrule demand
1993 : Supreme Court declares education a
1997 : Govt. tables a federal Bill.
Govt. falls, Bill withers away.
2001 : Govt. re-tables Bill, unanimously passed by
2002 : Unanimously passed by upper house
2003 : Presidential assent expected
NO, because of :
(A) Little financial backing ($)
(B) No reference to equitable quality education
(C) Excludes age group 0-6 years
(A) HOW LITTLE IS ‘LITTLE’
CAN INDIA AFFORD UEE ?
India needs 400,000 schools and 4m teachers more
33% of schools are single teacher schools
50% of schools are in fact merely ‘schools’
Yet, Bill grants fundamental right to 6-14 years only
( a strong assertive social will was present in both)
No one talks of ‘integrating the world of work with world of knowledge’
- 1938 Zakir Hussain in Mahatma Gandhi’s Nai Taleem
Touted as a panacea for all evils, not realizing that basic education in even the most privatized economies of the world is govt. respomsibility.
Pre - 28th Nov, 2001
1998 : A Parliamentary Standing Committee (represented by all political parties) recommended against positive changes suggested by development sector
1998 to 28th Nov, 2001: Every political party expressed helplessness in supporting NAFRE
28th Nov, 2001 : 50,000 grassroots people rallied together in nation’s capital at their own expense from across India for edu. – a first in independent India
Result : All opposition parties reversed their stand on the Bill, negating their very own Parliamentary Committee,
in favor of NAFRE’s positive changes.
6.00 PM : Opposition proposes an alternative Bill
against govt. (captures NAFRE’s points)
1/3rd MPs vote in its favor.
7.00 PM : Government puts its own Bill to vote
Unanimously passed by all incl. the 106
MPs + proposer of the alternative Bill!
(who was a Left party ideologue)
Message : A long struggle lies ahead
NOT 2/3rd empty