N C R   S T O R I E S


School of thinkers stresses equitable education
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 1
The disparity and decline in the standard of education, highlights the need for a common school system in the country, pointed out the participants at a one-day seminar on the need for a common school system aimed at providing equitable education to all. People’s initiative coupled with the role of the academics, it was pointed out would give an impetus for the establishment of an equitable education as envisaged in the Constitution of India.

The seminar organised by Social Jurist, an NGO run by advocates, was chaired by Mr Anand Sarup, Chairman of the newly constituted Task Force to suggest an improvement in the system of education.

The Task Force, among other things, will take up the reasons for the failure to establish the good quality common schools despite the idea having been emphasised in the Education Commission of 1964 and also the Education Policy of 1986.

“The idea behind the seminar is to make an attempt to provide a platform for educationists, intellectuals, journalists, lawyers and activists to put forth their views on the changes required in the present education system to accommodate one and all,” said Mr Ashok Aggarwal, Convenor, Social Jurists. He added, “Those committed to equitable education for all have a valuable role to play in educating the task force on issues related to common school system. The people’s initiative to generate a public demand for good quality common schools is critical to act as pressure group that will make this longstanding policy commitment an actual reality.”

Participants pointed out that the past decade had been characterised by some unprecedented activities in the field of education like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Education as a fundamental right and resulting government programme as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

Despite this, studies have indicated a deteriorating quality of education, increase in dropouts, lesser retention and increasing prevalence of programmes that were not designed to provide equitable education to all children.

It was also pointed out that a common feature in most of these initiatives was that rather than adopting the principle of inclusion, the principle of exclusion had become more and more operational.

A need for making the government answerable to the public at large as also responsible for the success and failure of any programme was also highlighted. Teachers, who are often asked to shoulder the blame for the poor pass percentage on their part maintained that the government has diluted their role by assigning them duties other than teaching, like conducting surveys and related election duties.

The need to bridge the gap between the elite schools and those run by the state was also listed. Speakers pointed out that for education to become equitable, it was necessary to provide basic amenities to students and encouraging the common school system, establish school committees in government schools to bring them at par with the public schools, use of mother tongue and stopping the division between academic and vocational education. Among the speakers were former Finance Minister Madhu Dandvate, Educationist Anil Sadgopal, former MP Surinder Mohan and Director SCERT, Dr Janaki Rajan.

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