Education Under Globalisation: Burial of the Constitutional Dream
Education is not only fundamental to human development, it is fundamental to societal development too.
The Constitution of India directs the State to provide free, compulsory and equitable education to all children up to the age of 14 years. The Right to Education Act supposedly grants to all children in the age-group 6-14 years the fundamental right to free and compulsory education.
· 42% children (and 50-60% SC/ST children) drop out of school without completing elementary education;
· Barely 16% children (and only 6-9% of SC/ST/Muslim children) cross Class XII;
· Citing lack of resources, the government is now privatizing education; school-college fees are going through the roof, and teachers are becoming casual workers.
India’s policy-makers refuse to learn from history. All developed countries, and all major developing countries, in the initial stages of their development, focused on providing FREE and EQUITABLE and GOOD QUALITY school education to ALL their children, and many later expanded it to university education. Recognising that the private sector will only invest for profits in all these countries, the State took the primary responsibility for this, and made adequate provision of resources.
There is no historical script that points to any other way to achieve universalisation of education and without that, no society can truly hope to develop…