The recent judgment of the honorable Supreme Court with respect to the Right to Education Act is indeed a remarkable step that will pave the way for the modern Indian democracy to shape the future of our nation in a holistic manner. While the SC has been accused of ‘minority appeasement’ by excluding the unaided private minority institutions from the purview of the judgment, we must not overtly criticize the act, and ignore the crucial role it can play in reforming our education system.
By setting 25% of their seats for the economically disadvantaged children, unaided private schools may have to suffer from some revenue losses, but if they view the broader picture, they will be proud to contribute to nation building. The economic inequality in India that has swelled to mammoth proportions in the recent years makes it difficult for poor families to afford a day’s square meal, forget about educating their kids. Is it the fault of these poor families that in one of the most democratic countries in the world, their future hopes are denied the basic primary education? Or is it the fault line in our social, economic and political system that creates many parallel worlds, each with its own set of problems? I believe, it is the latter.
So, what the SC has done is that it has sent out a strong statement of maintaining equality in the society. Education empowers and it leads to prosperity and enhanced living. For poor families, their coming generations can benefit immensely from the SC’s decision. Also, private schools that are way ahead in infrastructure, technology and quality staff than the government schools are getting a historic chance to contribute to making a balanced and inclusive society so they should seize this opportunity with some obligation.
The dream of universalization of education in India can’t be met with the sole efforts of the government. Private schools must rise to the occasion. Meanwhile, it is high time for the government schools to gear up for operational efficiency and deliver what they promise. The implementation of the project as per SC’s directive will require herculean efforts and unwavering dedication from the Center and State. The Supreme Court’s judgment may not be the magic wand to eradicate the malaise in the education system but it is surely, a very strong step towards the making of a better India.