About us    Campaigns    Research    Support us    Publications    Media Room    Join Us    Contact us

Schools pitching for review plea

Courts and PILs, Private schools, Right to Education

BANGALORE: The Karnataka Unaided Schools’ Managements Association (KUSMA), which has 1,800 members, will file a review petition in the Supreme Court over the next few weeks, challenging 25% reservation in private unaided schools under the Right to Education Act.

The main grouse is the government’s decision to transfer the responsibility of educating poor children to private schools. The other contention is that the law has exempted private unaided minority (religious and linguistic) schools from reserving 25% seats for underprivileged children.

“Giving education is the government’s constitutional obligation . For this, it needs to develop the infrastructure instead of passing the buck. With the 25% RTE quota, we’ll be penalizing 75 children to help 25. Moreover, we’re one nation and therefore there should be one law. It’s unfair for some institutions to be exempted,” said VRN Reddy, vicepresident , KUSMA. The decision was taken at the last association meeting on Saturday.

KV Dhananjay will represent KUSMA in court. “KUSMA had stayed away from the Supreme Court proceedings primarily because the RTE Act could not be meaningfully challenged in a court unless it was seen in actual operation. Now that the judgment has been delivered and the consequences are being felt, KUSMA will filing a review petition to protect the interests of its members. No reasonable person should debate on whether every child should be educated. Every child deserves to be freely and compulsorily educated. Rather, the means by which such a goal is sought to be achieved should be debated,” he said.

KUSMA’s argument would be that it’s not that the government of the day is somehow more concerned about education for the poor. Our founding fathers who gave us our Constitution did indeed debate in 1949 on making education free and compulsory. But once they realised the government itself did not have the resources to do so, they put free and compulsory education as a recommendation and not as a fundamental right. However, in 2009, the Parliament removed that recommendation and made it a fundamental right.

As such, schools cannot succeed in challenging the Act unless they contest the 2009 Amendment to the Constitution. Surprisingly , no institution that fought the RTE Act in the Supreme Court did that. The RTE Act nationalizes private education and also distorts the ‘fundamental right’ concept of our Constitution . Every other fundamental right talks of the government’s conduct like treating everybody equally, not discriminating and so on. Only this right talks of a facility, a facility to provide which the government itself does not have resources.

the Times of India, 01 May 2012


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  Disclaimer: The copyright of the contents of this blog remains with the original author / publisher.