The Good and the Bad
In an initiative to provide free and compulsory education to everyone, under the Right to Education Act, the government passed a bill making it compulsory for private schools reserve 25 % of the total seats for underprivileged sections of the society. As supposed, this decision was challenged by the private schools in the Supreme Court of India, whose decision came on the 13th April, 2012. Considering the arguments of both the pro and con parties the Supreme Court decided that the decision was in favor of the nation and hence making it a mandate for private schools all round the nation to give 25% of its seats to the underprivileged.
India being a multi-lingual, multi- colored and multi-layered society, naturally, had mixed responses over the decision. The debate had more or less the same arguments that the debate two decades back, when the Mandal Commission was passed had. It all came to equality and opportunity.
Here in this post we look at what is good and what is bad in this decision with an objective frame of mind.
The Good Part
This move of reserving seats will finally, to some extent, accomplish the objective of the Right to Education Act. When the well-off people of the society have shed- off the Government run schools, creating a gap between govt. school and private school students this move bridges the gap. There a feeling of superiority and inferiority among the students due to this culture of schooling. Now when the children of different classes, right from the beginning, would sit together, play together and eat together they would understand that there is no gap between rich and poor. Here the underprivileged students would get to compete with the resourceful students to get ready for the competitive life ahead. Moreover, getting the same facilities they all would grow building better Indians.
The Bad Part
This is completely true that the govt. run schools have failed badly in providing the kind of education they needed to. And in this circumstance instead of mending their mistakes they are putting it on the private schools. In the first look it seems that this decision would bridge the gap between rich and poor but in the reality it would actually widen it. Under this scheme the State Govt. would provide the money required to teach students of the reserved quota. This money would be equivalent to the fee of each child in a school or the per student expenditure of the state government, whichever is less. Now the schools which charge heavily will certainly get lesser subsidy from the Govt. and this loss of the school would have to be borne by the well-off students. This would mean that one would study for many and one for a penny. This would act as the basis of discrimination and humiliation.
Another aspect is that the reserved category students would not be able to bear cost of overhead expenses such as uniforms or books and copies.