IN advancing excuses for not providing all its children at least eight years of basic education – despite political independence in 1947 or passing the 86th amendment of the Constitution in 2002, making education of 6-14 year olds a fundamental right – nothing of essence seems to have changed. Seventy years earlier, Gandhiji’s plea for universal education was countered with a response that the only possible way to meet this objective was by relying on revenues generated from liquor sales.
Policy and Legislation
THE Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act) is seen by many as a first bold step towards bringing equity to the existing educational scenario in India. Speaking to the nation on the occasion of the passage through Parliament of the Model Rules for the implementation of the act, our cerebral Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recalled his own past with emotion: ‘I was born to a family of modest means. In my childhood I had to walk a long distance to go to school. I read under the dim light of a kerosene lamp.