Education campaign for right to education that is free and inclusive | ActionAid India
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Yes to School Campaign!

Author: Sudatta Khuntia
Posted on: Thursday, 15th October 2020

Education campaign for right to education

Right to Education is a fundamental right.  Education is the greatest tool for achieving social justice and eradicating poverty. It is one of the key instruments for social change and equality. The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE) guarantees that every child in India is entitled to quality education. This confirms no discrimination or exclusion based on class, gender, ethnicity, and religion or any other form. Government schools are designed for such inclusiveness.  Public education through Government schools can greatly help eliminate socio-economic inequalities and lead to a more just and equal society.

Need for Campaign on Education  

The enforcement of the RTE Act 2009 has been sluggish despite years of progress in the realization of children’s right to free and compulsory education. Still, India has a large number of out-of-school (OOS) children. Eight million children (IMRB Surveys, 2009 and 2014) have never stepped inside a school and millions are dropping out without basic schooling. This situation demands urgent actions to universalize access to free and compulsory schooling through an education for all campaign. The child’s right to education is also threatened by the marginalization and segregation that result from unregulated privatization in education.

ActionAid Association thus commits to strengthen Government schools. We make efforts to ensure that school becomes an active learning space; the space that recognises, encourages, and supports the growing capacities of all children. Quality education for all is key to all our endeavours.

Through a grounded Public Education Campaign, we aim to create education awareness and we build people’s movements towards strengthening government schools. The campaign also intensifies advocacy, communication, and social mobilization to strengthen local administration, community organizations including youth and children.

ActionAid Association’s campaign on education aims to reach at least 5,000 government schools across India. Our goal is that every child aged between 3-18 years has access to free, inclusive, and quality education in government schools.


Key aspects of the campaign

  • Education is every child’s fundamental right. Government schools should provide quality education for all for free. Schools must have adequate teachers, separate toilets for girls and boys, and effective teaching processes to help them reach their full potential.
  • Education has the power to transform lives of millions of children who are out of school. All girls and boys should have an equal opportunity to learn. Schools should be inclusive and protect children from all forms of discrimination and violence.
  • Ensuring quality education for all, calls for schools to have adequate budgets and effective governance processes. Communities need to be empowered, and School Management Committees need to strengthened to enable regular discussions on all school-related issues.

Our Actions on Ground

  • Identifying out-of-school children through surveys with a special focus on marginalised and excluded social groups to ensure their enrolment, attendance, and transition.
  • Developing simple child tracking systems in collaboration with teachers, panchayats, urban local bodies, and government schools. This will also help in identifying girls and boys vulnerable to early marriage, child labour or trafficking.
  • Making education inclusive and ensuring no discrimination is meted out to children at schools, especially girls from urban poor, Dalit, Tribal and Muslim communities.
  • Engaging with teachers and enhancing school governance to impart quality education. This includes empowering the community leaders, School Management Committees (SMC), Parents Teachers Associations (PTA) etc.
  • Developing schools to have inclusive cultural spaces that promotes social harmony and appreciate diversity.
  • Research and advocate various aspects affecting the access and quality education in government schools.

Conclusion

A strong advocacy is required to challenge commercialisation of education by generating fact-finding reports.  A rapid assessment on students’ access to digital learning in the times of COVID-19 is also need of the hour.  Hence, we seek the support of individuals, academicians, and education volunteers to join us in this campaign on education and show solidarity for children’s right to education.