TOI reported on 04 Feb that some objections have held back the RTE (Right to Education) in Karnataka and it will be another year before the act is implemented in the state.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 was notified in The Gazette of India on August 27, 2009. There has been much talk about the fights for the right, budgetary allocation and reservations without restrictions. We can also smell the leakages, blame games and false claims that will ensue.
As the acts, fights, funds, claims and counter-claims continue like business as usual, we can awaken the Responsibility to Educate in the citizens of the country. We have to remove some misunderstandings in our minds. Education should evolve a person. It is far more than mere literacy. If a qualification is not supported with the capability and knowledge expected from it, we devalue the qualification. Qualification is not just a passport for jobs. A job is not just salary – there are responsibilities and dignity associated with every job. Conveying these values is also education.
I hear an advertisement on radio which says that the Government would give scholarship for education of the poor. That is good. Sadly, it ends with a statement that after studies the boy would not have to pursue the profession of his father. We do not know what profession the advertisement hints at. Whatever it may be, if the profession provides some necessary services to the society, education should hold up its dignity – not ridicule it. If the profession has demeaning practices, we have to find a way of its execution to hold up human dignity – irrespective of the doer being educated or not. Education should not mean running away from a profession or from villages to towns.
Education is every person’s responsibility and every child’s need. The need is not limited to the poor and deprived. Responsibility of real education is not of the government alone – we all can contribute to the effort. To do so, we do not have to search for the destitute in slums. Our neighbourhood children may need some help in their home work or school project. Children at home would need some encouragement and confidence-building. Let us start with these opportunities.
Instead of fights and slogans let there be more interest and commitment for education – and some simple actions.