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National Consultation Workshop towards designing a Road Map - Implementation of Right to Education Act, 2009

Today's era is experiencing paradigm shifts in every walk of life; global and national. These shifts in turn are compelling devising responses legal, political, economic and cultural. One most important and recent response in Indian context is the enactment of Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 and its enforcement from 1st April, 2010.

Beginning 1990s we witness increasing support for adopting right based approach aiming at building capacities of citizens in general and in especial for empowering weaker and marginalized sections for ensuring their access to processes as well to benefits of development and progress that country has made.

The approach seems more effective for ensuring citizens realizing their potential and contributing more to their own and to national growth and development. RTE Act, 2009 makes it obligatory on the part of the State to ensure and provide free and compulsory education to all children between the age group of 6-14 years. Enactment of this right saw almost unanimous consensus amongst law and policy-makers terming it as a major revolutionary step.

The step has been hailed as the one that has converted Founding Fathers" dream in Article 45 which says: "the State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years" into reality.

Revolutionary nature and contemplated wider future benefits which may accrue hardly need any emphasis. However, enforcing this law if demands a strong political will, it equally requires other stakeholders, especially educational institutions to understand and analyze nature and complexities of issues involved ranging from funding to infrastructure, qualified faculty, quality education, cultural attitudes, parents" approach, market forces, job-market and many more.

This is not an easy call. This requires pulling of knowledge, experiences, intellects, sensitivities and reflectivity drawn from different sources, different disciplines and different professions for devising solutions and responses to these issues. Drawing roadmap for implementation of the Act is not the responsibility of state alone, we too share the obligation.

As a small step in meeting this obligation, the Central University of Haryana is holding a one day National Consultation Workshop towards designing a Road Map - Implementation of RTE Act, 2009

Date: 21st June, 2012

Some Illustrative Issues that may help building the Road Map:

  • What kind of efforts-structural, financial, institutional and others are needed and could be used optimally for building the number of required teachers, not simply numbers but those who are qualified? And most importantly how do we conceptualize who is "qualified"?
  • In the face of shortage of qualified faculty prevailing today, how can we meet the demand for teachers required for implementing the Act
  • How important and what kind of institutions need to be established (if considered essential or significantly relevant) aiming at productizing educators to produce numbers of these required "qualified teachers?" How Important it is to ensure that simply producing these numbers be not equated as a source of employment generation in general rather it be considered more as producing "qualified teachers" (as conceptualized while dealing with questions raised in previous category teachers).
  • How to conceptualize kinds of institutions mentioned above, especially when we look to the current quality and status of existing institutions imparting B.Ed., M.Ed. and other such degrees and quality and commitment of these produced?
  • Should we consider starting integration course 3+2 in education for young aspirants? How to identify these aspirants? Will sufficient number of such aspirants be available?
  • Will universities be willing to introduce such integrated programme or how much support system would they extend for establishing independent educational institution for imparting integrated programme on the pattern of IITs or National Law Universities?
  • Kind of lucrative job-market that awaits product for IITs, IIMs, NLUs etc., and kind of market that may be available to those possessing integrated degree in education may vary and with what consequence. How to deal with that?
  • Is the system aware why universities are either shutting up or not interested in setting up institutions imparting degree in education such as M.A. Education and instead prefer to introduce in B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses?
  • Can ICT play a positive role in enhancing the access, improving the quality and reducing the expenses in realization of provisions in the Act and more particularly in remote and backward areas?
  • Can use of ICT, apart from being economic, also ensure quality education?
  • And if above two questions are answered in affirmative, what kinds of pedagogy and more importantly what kind of training and skills are needed to be imparted to teachers in using ICT?
  • If the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs can require use of sports stadia and other infrastructural facilities created for sports in National Capital Region (NCR), can possibilities be explored for similar initiatives in the field of school education?
  • Whether giving special attention to mothers" education would make realization of objective of the Act easier?
  • Talking of funding - by what period and how state may fulfill its commitment of spending 6% of GDP on education? How realistic it is to expect and if not why so of the state to spend 6% of GDP on education?
  • Suggestions and proposals for putting greater reliance on PPP approach for implementation of the Act - How and to what extent, especially in rural and remote areas are feasible?
  • Suggestions and proposals for encouraging alumnus to contribute and generate resources - how realistic is this suggestion in the context of schools and institutions working in rural and backward areas?
  • Suggestions and proposals for taking advantage of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives - is it more a question of institutions" leadership and how to build a cadre of such leaders?
  • Considering that producing social integration and inculcating a culture of lifelong learning, appreciating differences, shunning away prejudices is the most important attribute of any exercise called education, to what extent the provision of 25% reservation including in private unaided schools would help realise this objective or as few say, this provision is likely to create a new kind of stratification, psychological divides and complexities.
  • Whether integration of schemes like Mid-Day Meal, Integrated Child Development Programme, and other schemes enacted for welfare of girl children would help in not only economic prudence but additionally looking for more effective and result-producing implementation of Act's provisions?

The organizers feel encouraged to extend you this invitation to join the workshop. They shall appreciate a small write up (around 150 words) of your views on the issues as above or any other issue regarding implementation of Right to Education Act, 2009. They are quite hopeful of your positive response by 12th June, 2012, and/or at the earliest on receipt of the write up University would reach you confirming your participation.

Prof. D.C. Vashist

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