Back in 1859, Macaulay’s education system came into effect intending to colonize education and create a class of anglicized Indians. Post-independence, India tried to bounce back in major sectors and education was one of them. The government at that time used its resources and planning to revive the functionality of education which best suited for India those days. The year 1968 showcased the First Education Policy and second came in 1986. Both were launched with a focus on ‘Radical Restructuring’ and ‘Removal of Disparities’ and to ‘Equalize Education Opportunity’. Government at the Centre introduced programs like ‘Adult School’ and reforms like ‘Night Schools’ were introduced by various State Governments. While Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee launched ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ (Education for All) in 2001, the intention was to attain Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) bridging gaps of literacy, social and
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine. Article 21-A and the Right to education Act came into effect on 1 April 2010. But India was way behind once again in education sector as the impact of First and Second Education policies were marginal and the gap between Second and Third Education Policies was huge.
It was the Narendra Modi Government which launched the Third Education Policy on 29th July 2020, famously called the NEP 2020, the policy which revamped the education system and focused on fundamental growth. The NEP 2020 is holistic and future-ready aiming to give equal opportunities in education and create good “Contributable Citizens.”
Prime Minister Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” clarion call had a recognizable impact on girls’ education and from 2015 to 2020 enrolments of girls in higher education increased by 18%. As per a PIB report, the school dropout rate among Muslim girls before 2014 was 70% but in 2021 it dropped to 30%. This significant change in dropout rates is encouraging and reflects efforts of the Union Government since 2014.
Bharat has always been a land of spiritual leaders, saints, and great philosophers. Vedas, Puranas, and Bhagavad Gita are the books that are relevant and impactful even today. Bharat’s identity as a ‘Vishwa guru’ has its roots in the past. We are called ‘Vishwa guru’ not ‘Vishwa Gyani’ as we not only possessed knowledge but also had the desire to impart it to our “knowns, unknowns, and even enemies”. Guru Sandipani without any discrimination imparted knowledge to both of his disciples Sudama, the son of the poor and Lord Krishna equally. India is a country where education has been considered a catalyst to lead us from Darkness to light from Untruth to reality. “Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya”.
‘Bharat Ratna’ Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar once said, “Education is what makes a person fearless, teaches him the lesson of unity, makes him aware of his rights and inspires him to struggle for his rights”. However, an alarming trend is seen in Delhi Government Schools where ‘artificial statistics’ is hitting hard the fundamentals of Constitutional Right to Education.
As per the report of ‘The Wire’, Ilma Khan, a Muslim girl was not granted re-admission in 10th Standard by a Delhi Government school and was pushed out of the regular schooling system. The report further says, “Schools did not issue admission certificates to students, thus students don’t have any proof of admission”. Another newspaper report further says, in the academic year 2020-21, Delhi Government schools systematically pushed 8,827 students of Class 9th into ‘National Institute of Open Schooling’ (NIOS) centres and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Schools. Lack of education will not only push a girl child Ilma Khan but many like her into the ‘Wheel of Poverty’, lower the ability of employment, increase their chances of deprivation of basic needs and harassment. Their fate will be marginalized by the act of Delhi Government which also challenges the RTE guaranteed by our Constitution.
Many media reports have stated an alarming fact that, in the academic session of 2017-18, Delhi Government schools re-admitted only 3,812 students out of 42,503 students who failed in 10th Standard. Where did 38,691 students go? In the same year out of 10,566 students could not clear Class 12th Board Exams but only 943 were re-admitted.
What about 9,623 students? Deputy CM Manish Sisodia did a press conference with a PowerPoint presentation on “Equitable Distribution of Liquor”, but never did he talk on “Equitable Distribution of
Education”. There were many Ilma Khans forced out of the education system by the Delhi Government. One can feel the pain of Ilma Khan and her likes. Where will these school dropout students go from Delhi Government Schools? Will their careers be sacrificed for better statistics and advertisement billboards by Delhi Government?