Ashok Agarwal, advocate, National Convener, All-India Patents’ Association, in a letter to Prakash Javadekar, Minster, Human Resource Development, Government of India has demanded radical reforms in school education through the enactment of a Central Legislation. Text of the letter:
You are aware of the fact that the unaided private schools are exploiting the hapless parents by subjecting them to unjustified and arbitrary fee hike and other charges and thereby openly indulging in commercialisation of education which is legally impermissible. Parents and students of unaided private schools have been nationwide agitating. Five states, namely, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat, have so far enacted legislations regulating fee in unaided private schools. These legislations are not uniform but certainly a step forward to protect parents from the exploitation. There is a crying need of a robust Central Legislation to check commercialisation in unaided private schools.
You are also aware of the fact that barring few public funded exclusive schools, all most all other public funded schools in the country are not performing well, resulting in wide-spread unrest among the masses. Despite the fact that the Constitution talks of an egalitarian society, we have discriminatory system of public funded schools in our country. It is unfortunate, that the Governments in power, instead of abolishing such discriminatory public funded schools, have been encouraging the same by adopting various dubious methods.
Our Country today is celebrating 126th Birth Anniversary of the architect of Indian Constitution Baba Saheb B. R. Ambedkar, a great personality who has for his whole life fought against social injustice in the society. The best tribute to him would be that your Government should immediately abolish all kind of discriminatory public funded schools and convert them into common schools. It would also be the right time for your Government to enact Central Legislation on lines of Allahabad High Court judgment mandating all public servants to send their children to public funded schools.
There is one more aspect to be brought to your kind notice. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in recent decisions has excluded the minority schools (both aided and unaided) from the purview of the RTE Act, 2009 referring to the provisions of the Constitution. It is well known fact that the unaided minority schools are indulging in all kind of malpractices and commercialisation in Education. It is also important to note that all children constitute one class qua school education and therefore, it would be unjust to discriminate them on the basis of minority and non minority schools. There is, therefore, need of amendment in the Constitution to bring all minority schools within the ambit of the Right to Education.
All India Parents Association (AIPA) have the following 5 major demands for your kind consideration:-
- Central Government should enact national law on lines of Allahabad High Court judgment mandating all public servants to send their children to public funded schools.
- Central Government should enact central law regulating fee and other charges in unaided private schools in the country. Such law should also give minimum of 50 ℅ representation to the parents and teachers in the managing committee of such unaided private schools.
- Central Government should enact a central legislation on the lines of existing provisions of Section 10 (1) of Delhi School Education Act, 1973 mandating all unaided private schools in the country to pay to their employees including teachers salary and other benefits not less than what is provided to their counter parts working in the schools run by the State.
- Central Government should amend the Constitution of India so as to bring all minority schools in the country within the ambit of right to education for all intents and purposes.
- Central Government should amend Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act , 2009 ( RTE Act, 2009) (i) extending the benefit under Section 12 (1) (c) to the EWS/DG students to complete their schooling up to class 12th instead of class 8th and (ii) school education should be completely free.
We hope and expect that you will look into these demands on urgent basis and take necessary steps to redress the long standing grievances of the parents/students.