There is no denying that education is considered the most important ingredient of the human activity responsible for any social change all over the world. Education, both formal and informal, brings about a considerable change in the behavior of people by making them aware of the world through different means. No social transformation of major importance can be dreamt of by the society inhabited by ignorant people. Ignorance is often synonymous with stagnation and disruption. If we turn the pages of recorded history, we can easily discern that every civilization that has become extinct tended to discard progressive thinking in its decadent phase. Modern society always sets a great store by education as a means of enlightenment which has the potential to make it upwardly mobile. The more pronounced is the thrust, the speedier development becomes.
The Supreme Court’s upholding of the constitutionality of Right to Education Act that has made compulsory and free education up to 14 years mandatory, should be lauded in this context. But a decision cannot change the bitter fact that the schools across a vast country like India do not have even the basic infrastructure facilities. Some relevant surveys also disclosed that an all-inclusive document in the sense that it did not take into account only Government schools.
The Government perception of Right to Education Act can be gauged well from the views expressed by the HRD Minister who expressed that the Government wanted clarity in the Supreme Court judgment. The RTE Act represents an entirely new philosophy of integration, inclusiveness. They want to strike a balance between the contents of the textbooks and the students for whom they are meant. The States should cooperate with the Central Government in realizing the dream of education for all and the project would not be a success unless they take the initiative needed for it. According to the investors the Act actually poses two problems- financial and quality-related. The concept of schools as a business is at odds with the Government-stated position on the issue. Some think RTE is a noble idea, but its implementation is not easy as it seems. Those associated with big schools think that the main concern is funding the gap between the Government subsidy and the actual costs.
For the purpose, the Government is thinking of establishing fiber optics network. Once it is established, even the remotest areas can be covered. In the words of the HRD minister, the RTE Act is an opportunity to break gender, caste, class and community barriers that threaten to damage the social fabric of our democracy and create fissures that could be the ruinous to the country. It is visionary in its objective and scope, and if understood and implemented in the right spirit by government authorities, school managements and all the other stakeholders, could well become a model for the world to emulate. If the thoughts can be translated into reality, nothing can be more heartening. However, it is definitely a fine beginning to a meaningful end.