where trouble was needed

September 4, 2010

Reclaiming Education and Human Rights

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 2:32 pm

Teacher Plus, 11 August 2010

Manish Jain, De-institutionalizing Macaulay: Reclaiming the wider meaning of education

You rightly warn against ceding "control over the very meaning of education and development" to the state or any entity. While you worry that the RtE rather than promoting equality would promote "a suffocating and unimaginative monoculture," it may do worse. To feed that monoculture it would still require the land and labour of India’s poor and marginalized.

How can something be called a Right but involve compulsion? Right to Food does not mean force-feeding, Right to Work does not mean Bonded Labour.

An effective way to relieve the burden of child labour would be to ensure for adults the right to work, with living wages, safe working conditions, and adequate leave. Implement laws concerning land rights, housing and food schemes, and migration would also come down, giving more people a key prerequisite for obtaining rations, health and education services – an address.

Ironically the number of people deprived of a home address may increase thanks to the Special Economic Zone Act which paves the way for large scale land-acquisition for a number of private, for-profit industries including Education, for whom the RtE Act guarantees clients. Those displaced by these ventures would join the millions who migrate daily in search of the next meal and simultaneously fend off police and forest officials who call their territories "ungovernable." Their children are termed by the RtE bill in that insulting phrase "“First Generation Learner” implying that only school-learning counts as learning, and dismissing the learning cultivated through all the previous generations.

Your suggestion that bridges should be built between the formal, non-formal and informal worlds of education is sound. This would strengthen people’s rights, quality of education as well as access for all.


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