Millennium Post

Changing lives through education

A recent newspaper report has highlighted how using the Right to Education (RTE) Act, activists working with a ragpickers’ union in Pune has ensured that not one or two, but 42 students from ragpicking families across the city have got admission into nearby English medium schools.  The waste picker’s trade union called Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) in Pune has emboldened the hopes and aspirations of a number of families by cashing in on the provisions of the RTE by which a section of seats in every school is reserved for free admission for local families of the poor, the powerless and the downtrodden.  In most cases, when an illiterate father or parent are earning for their family by picking on garbage dumps, wastepaper baskets and rubbish heaps, their wards are being trained in the basics of learning in a nearby English school, often with monthly fees that would mean many times their annual income. And this has been possible only because of the RTE.

This way two purposes are served. Thanks to English education, the cycle of poverty and destitution is likely to end. And it is precisely because of the lure of free English education that parents are less likely to force their children back to working for the family. The effect in the long run can only be good since there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can replicate the value of effective liberal education for children. And nothing breaks the cycle of poverty better than good education. But here one thing must be noted, something that the activists working with the union found out. It is that there is very little awareness about the RTE, an act that can have life changing implications for the urban poor in this country.  And that lack of awareness was not just among those who could make best use of them, i.e the demography of the poor, which is only likely, but also among schools and educational institutions. It is clear that the government cannot rest after creating an empowering legislature. It has to inform, make aware and see that RTE takes root effectively.
Next Story
Share it