Contextualising Right to Education Act (2009) in Globalising India: A Sociological Introspection of Marginalised Communities

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Birendra Narain DUBEY , Sociology, Central University, Lucknow, India
This paper attempts to contextualize Right to Education Act (2009) in neo-liberal India where the state has   been declining from welfare activities and social responsibilities. Institutional reforms followed by structural adjustment programme concomitant with second generation reforms have forcefully advocated privatisation at every level of schooling. Unfortunately, this notion of unprecedented privatization of education system has not been much supportive for children hailing from socio-economic and educationally marginalised communities like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. India is one of 135 countries to implement RTE as one of the fundamental rights but data from Ministry of Human Resource Development indicates that more than 20 million children in the school going age are not enrolled anywhere. Though government caters to the educational needs of almost eighty percent of children, research studies illustrate that the schooling system has responded poorly on the bench mark of Retention and Quality. The overall situation appears pathological when broad indicators like NER, GER, drop-out rate, retention rate, gender gap are considered. Majority of ‘sarkari’ schools are facing challenges like poor infrastructure, acute shortage of trained teachers (particularly) in science subjects, adverse Teacher Pupil Ratio (1:59 in Bihar), and poor cognitive outcomes. Educational history of India shows that after independence in 1947, it adopted a policy of Protective Discrimination by reserving twenty two and half percent seats for SCs and STs in government education system but the objective is yet to be achieved. Again making and implementing a new act like RTE with provisions to provide 25% reservation for disadvantaged children in private schools appears to be quite exigent in the era of globalisation where profit making by private school managements have emerged as stronger and more powerful in manipulating norms and not confirming with provisions laid down in RTE Act by the Indian Government.