In our previous blog, Priyanka Anand Chadha talked about how the existing Right to Education (RTE) Act significantly focuses on what goes into our education system, and, disappointingly, ignores what it churns out. Abysmal learning outcomes in students across grades, less than 2% government-qualified teachers passing the TET, large-scale closure of private schools – we have witnessed infinite cases where the right to education only lived up to right to access to education, and sometimes, not even that. Quality, equality, choice, accountability, autonomy, freedom, outcomes – such things remain far from reality in the current landscape.
With an objective of bringing in some of the above perspectives in the education of tomorrow, some of India’s leading educationists met at the UChicago Centre in Delhi on Monday. The four-hour roundtable focused on specific amendments to the RTE Act, which would ensure quality education for all in India. RTE 2.0: Building Consensus on Amendments truly aimed at weeding out the pain areas in the existing scheme of things, finding out what works and what doesn’t, and introducing appropriate amendments to the actual text of the Act.
The meet, anchored by Centre for Civil Society, India’s leading think tank, and facilitated by Amit Kaushik, saw participants like Ashish Dhawan, Avani Kapur, Binu Nair, Gurcharan Das, Jasmine Shah, Kruti Bharucha. Luis Miranda, Meeta Sengupta, Pari Jhaveri, Parth Shah, Shailendra Sharma, Shantanu Gupta, Shrutipriya Dalmia, Subhalaxmi Ganguly, Swati Sahni, Tarun Cherukuri, Vijay Chadda, Vimala Ramachandran, Yashaswini Mittal – discussing nuances of the Act in detail, sharing experiences, and putting forward recommendations.
Several interesting discussions around extending the applicability of the Act, age and grade appropriate learning, 25% reservation rule, no-detention policy, reimbursement systems, private tuition by teachers, and quality and learning outcomes were brought up. The live tweets of the proceedings are available at @theRTEplatform. Check out some photos at /RightToEducation.
The pre-work included collecting feedback on specific aspects of the RTE – particularly sections 4, 12, 16, 21, 22 and 24 – from educationists across India, compiling it together and analysing the common concerns. The forum for suggesting amendments to the Act is open for public feedback till 15 August 2014. Do visit and leave your comments!