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“They Say We’re dirty” Denying an Education to India’s Marginalized

Implementation, Right to Education

Human Rights Watch

April 2014

Abstract: The teacher always made us sit in a corner of the room, and would throw keys at us [when she was angry]. We only got food if anything was left after other children were served…. [G]radually [we] stopped going to school. — Shyam, 14, Dalit boy from Uttar Pradesh now working at a brick kiln, April 2013

In 2009, India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which provides for free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14 based on principles of equity and non-discrimination. For a country that six decades ago at independence had staggering poverty and illiteracy levels, this was an overdue but ambitious step to meet its domestic and internationally recognized obligations to its children. It also testified to
India’s increasing confidence as an emerging economy with one of the youngest and largest work forces in the world.

However, four years after it came into force, the Right to Education Act is yet to be properly implemented.

The complete report can be accessed here.

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