Education: Fundamental Right of Every Child
“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.”
Education is an act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical potential of an individual. A vital element to balance the societal factors, education contributes to the economic development of a country. Countries without educated population cannot forsee and implement the best policies necessary for the growth of an otherwise developing country.
The battle to make elementary education imperative for everyone was started by the great son of India, Gopal Krishna Gokhale about hundred years ago. He urged before the Imperial Legislative Assembly to confer upon the Indians the Right to Education. It was only after ninety years in August 2009 that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act was enacted by the Parliament.
According to this act, education is declared as a fundamental right for all children of the age group of 6 to 14 years, irrespective of any caste, color or creed. The Right to Education provision eliminates discrimination in the educational system at all levels, thereby, setting standards. The fundamental right to education is explicitly set out in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This act also ensures that private school needs to reserve at least 25 percent seats for the students of weaker section.
However, the fundamental right to education can only be considered accomplished when it strictly adheres to the “4A” components, which precisely refers to Availability (free education), Accessibility (non-discriminatory system), Acceptability (culturally acceptable content) and Adaptability (evolve with changing times).
The free and compulsory education gives children the required sense of independence and empowers them to make a respectful livelihood on their own. One of the recent initiatives of the Indian Government launched in 2001, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), universalizes the elementary education by community-ownership of the school system. It aims at allowing children to learn and become proficient in their natural environment in a manner which allows human fulfillment in a holistic sense. The scheme under the fundamental right of education also include facilities like free school books, uniform and mid day meal.
Role of the Parents
A child’s school years plays an imperative role in his overall development process and future growth. So, it becomes integral for the parents to get actively involved in their child’s activity. And as a responsible parent, their priority should be towards providing the best education to their children irrespective of any law.
Role of the State
The State is the chief guardian where the Right to Education act is concerned. It functions as a crucial contributor in regulating the provisions of education. Conventionally, education was regarded as the primary duty of parents, but with the rise of education system, the role of parents has diminished and has become a larger responsibility which is why it has become a mandatory rule for the state government to scrutinize the proper implementation of the legislative act. With regards to realizing this particular fundamental right, the World Declaration on Education for All, adopted at the 1990 World Conference on Education states that the “partnership between government and nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, local communities, religious groups, and families” are necessary.
With this, the struggle to get access to education has ended. But to implement the act in a better way, greater awareness among the citizens is required so that its provisions can be clearly understood and incorporated by all institutions, thereby, paving the way for children to become glorious pillars of tomorrow to ensure a bright future.