Reality Check India

What is the future of the Right to Education Act ?

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on September 23, 2017

Delhi MP Maheish Girri of the BJP has written to PM Modi to bring minority-run institutions under the Right to Education Act (the basic law related to Education sector in India).

Mr Girri’s private members bill seeks to bring the minority-run schools under the RTE.  He has correctly framed it in terms of “helping the poor and disadvantaged sections” access the 25% quota mandated by Sec 12(1)(c) of the RTE Law. That is politically the correct way to make headway in our system.

See if you can answer this quiz?

Say we propose an amendment to #RTE that imposes only Sec 12(1)(c) on the Minority-run schools with the following scheme (to preserve its minority character)

  • the schools can select the beneficiaries  among those Disadvantaged and Economically Weaker
  • the schools will be allowed to collect a portion of the refund differential from the students

Would you accept this ? Clearly this is better than not having any quota at all. After all it satisfies the condition that poor are benefiting from the 25% quota.

To the untrained eye this appears to be a great compromise deal. Under this scheme, the minority-run schools are also under the quota system but with a minor twist. Further complaining against this compromise situation should be unwarranted and will be seen as an attack on the poor.

This is where those who do not anchor their positions solidly will slip.

This kind of compromise is completely unacceptable to the Core Right. Our landscape is replete with this kind of “roughly equivalent law or processes for different groups” which are not grounded in deeper principles.  I have earlier said that the Quota is just an instrument , the underlying principles are two fold

  • Nomination : Who selects the students who need help ?
  • Cross Subsidy:  Who pays for this scheme – do your other students foot the difference?

The issue is not as much the quota but the above twin principles.  It is not a minor difference to institute a quota where you can select vs a quota where someone else forces a list on you.  It is not even a major difference. It is an entirely different process. 

Similarly,  if you are allowed to recover the differential from the student. That is not a minor difference from a system where you are not allowed to. One is a voucher system the other is a cross subsidy.

Why seek to impose a terrible law (as you say) on all?

This is a great question.  From a Core Right perspective this is how we look at it.

To first qualify as Law, the RTE or any other law has to have uniform applicability  – so I do not even see it as a law in its current form. So the first step would be to impose it on anyone.  THEN it becomes a Law. Maybe even a terrible Law or a good Law.   

Once it imposed on all and it acquires the moral stature of “a Law” , then we get to deal with Bad Laws in the normal democratic route. Hindus and Christians and everyone else can join hands and then work repeal it altogether.

What about the poor, doomed to govt schools ?

The fate of the public school system in India hinges on various factors that very few can discuss because it is ugly.  There are deep mimetic factors at play, the product itself may not be comparable to private edu due to the teachers quotas, the influence of the principal over a territory, and the ability of people to completely sidestep the state and express their own preferences.

These do not align with the stated goal of #IdeaOfIndia to effect a “transformation of society”.    I will take it up in a future post.

Right now,  the better option is to release everyone at all levels with no sectarian bias.  The market will supply at all levels even though the scheme is probably inferior to a true public edu system.

But that is the best we can do pending a takedown of the #IOI structures.

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One Response

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  1. RCI Supporter said, on September 24, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Still trying to connect with you, RCI. Please email me at RCI-Supporter AT protonmail DOT com.

    Thank you,
    RCI Supporter


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