The newsflow in the past few days is indicating an alarming trend. It is increasingly showing education institutions in India are no longer sacrosanct. Increasingly they are becoming the targets of vote hungry politicians keen about scoring brownie points in their constituency.
Let’s see the most recent development. PTI reports flooded Twitter about how the Union Minister claimed that the Govt will upgrade 1 lakh Madrassas across the country. They target upgrading these institutions with state of art technology to facilitate better academic experience for the Muslim community. A few days before that we also heard about the Govt wanting to ensure the 3Ts in Madrassas including Tiffin, Toilet and Teaching and a separate sum of money is being allocated for that too.
While per se, there is no problem with the move, I have only one question- why does the Muslim community need Madrassas to provide them better education. For generations now we have studied in Government schools as well as private institutions and I have as many Hindu friends as Muslims from my school days. So why suddenly the Muslim community needs Madrassas for better education? Why can’t children continue studying in Government schools. Given the shoddy state of Government schools, why can’t the Centre put all its resources to upgrade a common academic pool that caters to children irrespective of their religion?
Meanwhile in West Bengal, we have read reports about the state preparing to impose hefty fines to schools that are running without No Objection Certificates. The Mamta Banerjee Government has also threatened to revoke their licenses. Well if you compare this statement with the State Government’s plan in 2011 to recognise over 10,000 Madrassas across West Bengal without any condition, you can surely smell a hidden agenda. The fact that the schools that are currently under the Government scanner are considered to be close to RSS and the Saffron brigade is not helping matters either.
The Mamta Government is expected to use a provision in the Right to Education Act (RTE) that allows the state governments to conduct on the spot inspection and revoke the recognition of a school.
The RTE Act right from its inception has been detrimental to the progress of academic excellence in the country and the religion based politics followed in this country. The fact that the Government has failed to repeal it thus far or is making education related allocation with a religious bias raises more concerns than ever before.
Can we now not even guarantee unbiased academic experience for our kids in this country?