Issue white paper on Right to Education: Activist

BENGALURU: Political activist and education reformist Anil Shetty on Saturday urged the state government to issue a white paper on the developments in Right to Education (RTE) sector over the years. On the sidelines of the open discussion for stakeholders and like-minded activists who have signed up for the #SaveGovtSchools campaign in the city, he told Deccan Chronicle, “A detailed report on various aspects that cover the RTE policy in the state is essential to make the entire process clear and transparent. It is also important that no single rupee from the budget allocated for the education department is used for anything else.”

Further explaining the demands that came up during the discussion, Shetty added that the department should chalk out a ‘scientific and comprehensive’ plan to ensure that no student drops out of the education system, in case of merger of government schools. “It has been widely rumoured that more than 14,000 government schools with enrolment below 30 would be merged with neighbouring schools. If this is an actual plan, the education department should ensure zero dropouts in this regard. The next assembly session should extensively discuss the matter and ensure such calls and processes are done in a complete transparent manner,” he elaborated.

The open discussion also saw various stakeholders raising their concern on the need for a new and updated State Education Policy ensuring parity among all students in the state. They urged that the education department should be quick in taking decisions and implementing the same with data and deliberations made available on public domain.

“There has been numerous reports, including the Karnataka State Education Policy (KSEP) drafted by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission/ Karnataka Jnana Ayoga (KJA) in October 2016 under the chairmanship of Dr K. Kasturirangan, which recommended that the state government should amend the RTE Act to ensure free education for children till class 12,” said a parent activist who took part in the discussion.

Around a thousand people, including teachers, parents, government college students and a few school students, attended the event. “We have sought an appointment of the Chief Minister and the education minister next week to discuss our recommendations requesting them to address these issues,” Mr Shetty said.

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