By Dalip Vasan
If implemented in its true spirit the Right to Education Act will forever change the way we look at education. But providing quality education to every child in India is easier said than done.
Moreover, the state governments will be held responsible if the child is out of school. The Right to Education is a landmark Act but it also faces huge challenges.
If the Act is implemented in letter and spirit, then within every single kilometer of walking distance there will be a school.
With such a game-changing scheme, the UPA wants to derive as much political mileage as possible.
So the Act after the initial backing of Sonia Gandhi has now been taken up by the government.
But HRD Minister Kapil Sibal plays down his role and gives credit to the Congress leadership
Sibal finds the Act flawless but there is no denying it has more than its share of critics.
“The Act does not talk about children below six years of age and those above 14 years.” says Shantha Sinha, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Chairperson.
Sibal knows the task before him is huge.
First there is the huge requirement of teachers and the government will have to recruit 12 lakh teachers in six months to achieve the optimum student-teacher ratio.
There’s also a need for a massive teacher training program over the next five years, because primary teachers will all have to get a B.Ed degree.
Within three years, basic infrastructure including classrooms and a library in every school will have to be in place.
Sixty-three years after Independence, the government is guaranteeing the freedom from illiteracy. But will the guarantee be effective because the government appears little prepared.
It is still very uncertain if almost every village in India will boast of a school in the next few years.