India has developed tremendously over the past decade. But the actual growth cannot really be measured through the number of flyovers or shopping malls that have been built. How literate and educated the populace of a country is a sound indicator of the progress it (the country) has made. Education is a significant part of our lives. A society can only grow if people are educated and aware. Therefore, an education system, which is sturdy and robust, goes a long way in ensuring the spread of education in a society.
According to the 7th All India Education Survey, 2002, less than half of India’s children between the age 6 and 14 go to school and a little over one-third of all children who enrol in the 1st grade reach the 8th grade. In spite of various efforts being made to change the education scenario in India, at least 35 million children aged 6 – 14 years still do not attend school and 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.
86th Amendment Act, Article 21(A) made Right to Primary Education part of the Right to Freedom. Education was not a fundamental right in India until it was made a fundamental right in the 86th amendment to the Constitution.
The right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is an endeavour to directly benefit all the children in the 6-14 years age group who are not enrolled in schools. There are millions of children who are still deprived of their rights. It is important for children and their families from economically backward and marginalised areas to become aware of the Right to Education (RTE).
Enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Right to Education has been recognised as a basic human right.
In one of his speeches, Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister of India stated that “We are committed to ensuring that all children, irrespective of gender and social category, have access to education. An education that enables them to acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary to become responsible and active citizens of India.”
Even after so many years of attaining independence, people continue to be slaves of their own primitive mindsets and somehow feudal social structure. Children need to become aware of their fundamental rights. As it is rightly said, the future of a nation is its youth. The youth can be empowered only if it’s educated. Right to Education (RTE) is certainly the way forward.
The government is doing its bit but as responsible citizens of this country, it is also our duty to ensure that every individual in the country can access his/her rights. Various non-profit organisations are also working to ensure that people have access to quality education. Save the Children is one such organisation that is running programmes to support the education of the most disadvantaged children of India in different ways like we map out-of-school children and ensure their enrolment into formal schools in age-appropriate classes, in classrooms, we encourage and help children to undertake learning activities in groups and in metro cities, we operate our own learning centres where children coming from the socially-excluded communities are provided learning and/or after-school support.
By donating to charities like Save the Children, you can make a long-term impact.