When you Google “Education in India” they start dividing it into public, private, central, state, local, demographically and in the end reservations, making it a very complex institution to learn about. While education has been a problem in our country and lack of it has been blamed for all sorts of evil for hundreds of years. Even Rabindranath Tagore wrote lengthy articles about how Indian education system needs to change. Funny thing is that from the colonial times, few things have changed.
With all the new laws, rules and amendments that have been introduced for the last 70 years of independence are almost unknown to most of the people. Though there has being a lot of changes but there are twelve major amendments that changed the course of the education system of our country. Present Act has its history in the drafting of the Indian constitution at the time of Independence but is more specifically to the Constitutional Amendment of 2002 that included the Article 21A in the Indian constitution making Education a fundamental Right. This amendment, however, specified the need for a legislation to describe the mode of implementation of the same which necessitated the drafting of a separate Education Bill. It is the 86th amendment in the Indian Constitution.
All these terms being very difficult to decode so let’s make the facts simple and clear. Here are the lesser known top 4 amendments of our country:
- Free and Compulsory Education:
Constitution makes the following provisions of Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy that, “The state shall endeavour to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory Education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.” The expression ‘State’ which occurs in this Article is defined in Article 12 to include “The Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.” It is clearly directed in Article 45 of the Constitution that the provision of Universal, Free and Compulsory Education becomes the joint responsibility of the Centre and the States.
In the Constitution it was laid down that within 10 years, i.e., by 1960 universal compulsory education must be provided for all children up to the age of 14, But unfortunately, this directive could not be fulfilled. Vigorous efforts are needed to achieve the target of 100 percent primary education. The Central Government needs to make adequate financial provisions for the purpose. At the present rate of progress, it may, however, be expected that this directive may be fulfilled by the end of this century. Moreover, it becomes our responsibility to spread the awareness of free education to the underprivileged people around us so that in spite of giving you tea at the restaurant counters they receive their birthright education.
- Education of Minorities:
Article 30 of the Indian Constitution relates to certain cultural and educational rights to establish and administer educational institutions.
It lays down that all minorities whether based on religion or language shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language. Let every religion preach their existence and value their belief, in the end, peace is the foundation of all.
- Higher Education and Research:
Most of us don’t know that our Parliament has the exclusive rights to enact legislation in respect of institutions and Union Agencies mentioned in entries 63, 64, 65, and 66 of List. The entries which give authority to the Government of India in the education of the institutions known at the commencement of this Constitution as the Banaras Hindu University, the Aligarh Muslim and the Delhi University, and any other institution declared by Parliament by law to be an Institution of National importance. Co-ordination and determination of standards in the institution for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions. Our government have special funds system that can beneficial lots of brilliant students but very few are aware of this. Even scholarships that were started by Dr Kalpana Chawla and other social figures are much forgotten or misused. So it becomes the right of every individual to know the scholarship and facilities so that the most needed people get to avail it.
- Women’s Education:
One of the unique features of Modern Indian Education is the tremendous advancement of Women’s Education. Education of the girls is considered to be more important than that of the boys. The Constitution makes the following provisions under different articles:
Article 15(1) provides that the State shall not discriminate any citizen on groups only of sex.
Article 15 (3) reads:”Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.”
The well-known National Policy on Education was concerned about the status and education of women in the country. It envisages that education would be used as a strategy for achieving a basic change in the status of women. It opined that the national system of education must play a positive role in this direction. The Policy states, “Education will be used as an agent of basic change in the status of women. In order to neutralise the accumulated distortions of the past, there will be a well-conceived edge in favour of women. We do talk about women empowerment in almost every social gathering but when it comes to taking actions we do nothing. We don’t realise that it leads to other social norms like child marriage, marriage abuse, dowry and the always existence dominance of male over female. To end the equality we need to provide a support to these girls in every village who want to study and make the larger life than just getting married. Let their dreams get wings to fly. In the end, our country will be at the benefit.
If we see all the amendments, we feel how much is ours rights still denied and oppressed. Thus, it is very important for us to understand all the educational rights that all background people have in India so that no one can further exploit them. Most importantly for those sections of the society where education are not accessed to the optimal level. As we all know, education is a weapon to eradicate the social evils and to change the world. Thus we should keep our eyes open to all the amendments and spread the awareness. Let us educate India!