Whose right is it anyway

Though the Right to Education is in place there is still along way to go according to 15 activists who visited 60 schools. Provisions of the Right to education Act notwithstanding, dirty toilets, shortage of books and staff, broken benches, no playground and absenteeism are still the major issues in many Delhi government schools is the conclusion drawn by those who visited the schools in our capital city. In a school located in the constituency of our present education minister the computer lab lies shut as there are no teachers to teach the subject. Such is the state of education in a country where Education is now a Constitutional Right.

What makes me see red is the fact that it is once again children who are at the receiving end. Children who have enormous potential and scant resources. Children who can excel if give a tiny chance. I more than anyone else can say this with conviction as for the past 11 years I have been helping such kids. In a reclaimed garbage dump or under a hot tun roof we have been able to remedy to the lacunae of the government schools and teach hundreds of children who have done us proud. Our children have mastered computers and learnt dance and sing over and above learning their school lessons. Many of them now have good jobs and have broken the cycle of poverty in which they were born. Why have we succeeded: simply because we wanted to, notwithstanding anything.

Where there is a will there is a way goes the saying. By this adage one could infer that the Government has no real will to implement the Right to Education. How can we forget that children are not vote banks and are voiceless and that giving them education is also perhaps running the risk of giving them a voice. A look at published statistics tells its own story: In absolute numbers there are 1.5 million children who are dropouts or have never gone to school. There are in total 5,442 schools in Delhi.3 The enrolment figures amount to 1.7 million (17.5% of the population). The gross dropout rate is 69.06%. This does not leave much to be said about the levels of retention in schools across the capital city.In absolute numbers there are 1.5 million children who are dropouts or have never gone to school.Eighty percent of the class 5 pass outs from MCD schools do not know how to read and write their names. Only 14% of the students who enter a govt school in class 1 make it to class 10 and just 4% manage to pass class 10 says a report of the Centre for Civil Society

It is time we woke up and did something!