Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Right to Education Act: Where do you stand on the debate?

Private schools in Karnataka do not want to implement the Right to Education Act this year, according to a news report (see below) in today's DNA.

Paucity of time to implement the act is not the only sore point; in fact, there is much heartburn over it, but why? Here, three columnists, two of them senior journalists, give us their insightful — and instructive — perspective.

Read the column by Aakar Patel in Mint to understand the importance of research when writing an opinion piece. Look how, with the aid of statistics (and examples from literature), he is able to convince us that "the children that this great law will produce will be different from us and they will be better". Read his column in its entirety here: "Transformation for the better".

Shoba Narayan, another popular Mint columnist, also has done her research. She has read "Parth Shah’s critique of the RTE Act in a blog; as well as newspaper commentaries by Abhijit Banerjee, Raghuram Rajan and Manish Sabharwal". And she has "asked teachers and school administrators about why this Act’s philosophical aspiration is so far removed from the practical realities they operate in".

Her column will appeal especially to parents because she says she is approaching this debate from the point of view of a parent and citizen. Her conclusion:

As a parent, I laud the intent. I am willing to help make it work. But as a student of psychology, I don’t think plonking underprivileged children in elite schools is the solution.

Read Shoba Narayan's column in its entirety here: "Philosophically distant from reality".

Also writing as a parent is NDTV editorial director and anchor Sonia Singh. Her opinion piece, published in Outlook, argues in favour of the RTE Act. If implemented properly, she writes, classrooms in which the RTE experiment is being carried out will shape India’s next social revolution. She insists that, since our children are India’s future, we should let them grow up in a country where equality begins in their classrooms.

You can read Sonia Singh's article in its entirety here: "Dirty Three-Letter Words".

Where do YOU stand on the RTE debate?
  • Illustration courtesy: Sorit/Outlook