Ever since the introduction of the Right of children to free and
compulsory Education (RTE) Act in
the parliament in the year 2009, objections were raised and
amendments in its controversial clauses sought. But the government
did not pay any heed to these demands and went ahead with its
implementation from April 01, 2010.
The act passed and implemented with
much fanfare no doubt is a huge step forward in ensuring elementary education to
a vast majority in the country who otherwise are kept away from
schools. The name chosen for the act is also very appealing.
Hence, the Act received an overwhelming acceptance by all and
sundry barring a small group of people including the All India
Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). AIMPLB, though does not reject
the act in total and agrees that it is timely and
advantageous in general, feels that some of its clauses are
dangerous and will have dire consequences on the society and
education quality in the longer run. As the AIMPLB begins the
nationwide campaign to press its demand for amendments in the RTE
Act, ummid.com summarises some of its concerns for its readers:
The primary objection of the All
India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) against the RTE Act is
its impact on the Madrasa Education and minority institutions. The
RTE Act in section 17 (5) says that any person who establishes
or runs a school without obtaining certificate of recognition
would be liable to punishment. In section 18 (1) it says, 'no
school, other than a school established, owned or controlled by
the appropriate government or local authority, shall after the
commencement of this act, be established or function, without
obtaining a certificate of recognition from such authority'. Since
the Madrasas and other minority institutions including Vedic
pathshalas and gurukuls are normally not recognised by the government,
the board believes that this clause in the RTE Act will have a
direct impact on them and its immediate fallout would be their
The board also questions the
conditions laid down in the act for obtaining recognition for new
and existing schools. It feels that the required infrastructure
and land as stated in sections 19 and 25 of the act is practically
impossible for majority of the Minority Institutions as they are
already running these institutes in challenging conditions.
The board feels that section 30 and
the supporting clauses of the act which deal with elimination of
the examination system and promotion of the students to higher
standards even if they are irregular and absent from the classes
are bound to have dire consequences on the education quality.
The board further questions section
17 of the act which states, 'No child shall be subjected to
physical punishment or mental harassment'. The board feels that
because of these sections the students would not only be lacking
in competition spirit but they will also find them incapable of
facing the board and competitive exams.
Moreover, the board feels, since the
act is totally silent on the explanation of 'mental harassment',
this particular section gives a dangerous tool in the hands of
students and their parents to harass and take to the police
station the school authorities on tiny issues.
The board also questions the very
concept of 'Neighborhood School' as explained in the act.
Opposition to this particular section of the act which makes it
mandatory for the schools to reserve 25% admission seats for the
'children of the neighborhood' has also been expressed by private
schools run by the top notch managements of the country.
The act in its original form had put
the age limit of the students for compulsory education from 6 to
14. In the latest amendment in the act presented in the parliament
during its ongoing session this age limit has been changed to
3-18. The concern of the board is that the act advises admission
to schools of 'children' from this group on the basis of their age
not on merit. The board feels, this implies that if a person
because of his or her age is liable to admission in 10th standard,
h/s should be given admission in that standard even if h/s has not
attended a single class before. Imposing such thing, the board
feels, will only create 'illiterate degree holders' in the
The board also questions the
structure of the school management committee as mentioned in the
act. The board feels that formation of such a school committee
with substantial representation of parents is particularly harmful
for the schools located in backward areas and where students from
same background take admissions.
Meanwhile, days after the AIMPLB
decision to protest taken November 26, the union cabinet proposed
exempting Madrasas and other minority institutions from the RTE Act.
Earlier to this, the HRD Ministry had on January 15, 2010 issued
guidelines in order to address some of these issues. The board
however says that the cabinet decision or mere guidelines are not sufficient and
amendments in the act in the parliament.