Education campaigners from many parts of India have been marching towards Bhopal for a mass rally tomorrow (4th December). They are demanding that the constitutional right to free public education for everyone, from kindergarten to 18, be realised. At present millions of children are denied an education, in particular disadvantaged groups such as dalits, Moslems and disabled people, with girls being particularly unlikely to attend school. Even the poorest parents are having to pay to send their children to school.

Moreover, the marchers say that education is not equitable - the rich get an elite education while for the poor there are underfunded public schools, often staffed by contract teachers on pitiful pay or so-called low fee private schools which are usually of very inferior quality. To make matters worse, 'The education system is being allowed to be infected with a hateful, sectarian and divisive agenda by communal forces' which are aiming to disunite people as they struggle against the neoliberal assault of corporate capital, just as they did when Indians were fighting to free themselves from British imperialism.

As important as all this, is that education is geared towards preparing young people to be a 'slavish skilled workforce for the global market'. For the campaigners, education should be about instilling 'secular values, ciritcal consciousness and scientific temper', so that can build an 'egalitarian and just society.'

The march is being organised by the All India Fight for Right To Education, with many affiliates, including several teacher unions, university student unions, women's organisations, veteran freedom fighters, people resisting forces of globalisation and  leading local struggles against capture of natural resources. There have been multiple on this website about the mistreatment of teachers in India, only this week we received a of protests by contract teachers in Ludhiana who had not been paid for three months. These teachers are employed by the government's Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme, based on World Bank policies, which ironically enough means Education For All.

The march is culminating in Bhobal because it is thirty years since the chemical disaster in the US owned Union Carbide plant which killed thousands and damaged the health of hundreds of thousands on the night of the 2/3 December 1984. There could not be a starker example of the difference between those who are campaigning for social justice like the education marchers and the forces behind corporate education 'reform' who cry crocodile tears about poverty while their real interest is enriching themselves still further at no matter what cost to their fellow human beings. The pollution in Bhopal has still not been cleaned up.

The full document about the march is pasted below:

Even after almost seven decades of independence,

  •   Education is a lofty dream beyond reach of crores of children and youth.

  •   We, the people, are forced to pay huge sum of our hard-earned money to buy education while, at the same time, we are also compelled to pay taxes and additional education cess for

    this very Constitutional Right.

  •   Majority of the impoverished including dalits, tribals, OBCs, muslims, disabled and other deprived communities, especially women in each of these sections, are denied education at all levels – pre-primary, elementary, secondary, senior secondary, higher and professional.

  •   Discriminatory and multi-layered education system is imposed on us whereby the rich can buy their place in elite and expensive private schools, colleges and universities, while the poor are forced into low grade ill-funded schools, colleges and universities, either government or private.

  •   The nation’s teaching cadre at all levels of education has been destroyed by massive contractualisation of teachers and misconceived teacher education.

  •   Campus democracy in colleges and universities is being cynically eroded with a view to depoliticise the nation’s youth.

  •   Instead of creating democratic and humane citizens to fulfil social-economic-cultural needs of our country and build an egalitarian and just society, the meaning of education is distorted to prepare slavish skilled workforce for the global market.

  •   Rather than instilling secular values, critical consciousness and scientific temper, the education system is being allowed to be infected with hateful, sectarian and divisive agenda by the communal forces working to thwart our united struggle against neoliberal assault of the corporate capital, as they also did during India’s freedom struggle against British imperialism.

    Can we keep quiet in face of such deep-seated conspiracy against India and her people?

    We, the people of India, in the 65th year of our Republic, take a solemn pledge

    to fight against the forces of corporate capital and oppression of

    upper class, upper caste and patriarchal structures that have denied our Right to education.

    -----------
    We proclaim our resolve
    to wage struggle in order to achieve a

    FULLY STATE-FUNDED & ENTIRELY FREE ‘COMMON EDUCATION SYSTEM’

    from ‘KG to PG’ including Common Neighbourhood School System up to Class XII, through the medium of mother tongue in multi-lingual context and establish India’s languages in all sectors of national life including trade & business and Science & Technology. This holistic vision alone can pave the path for democratic, secular, egalitarian, humane & scientific education of equitable quality.

    --------

    UNITE TO RESIST TWIN ASSAULT OF CORPORATE CAPITAL & ITS COMMUNAL AGENTS!

    UNITE TO STRUGGLE FOR ANNIHILATION OF CASTE & PATRIARCHY!!

UNITE TO STRUGGLE FOR EDUCATION & EMANCIPATION!!!

Exclude disparities, Include diversities! Fight for ‘Common Education System’!!

 

ALL INDIA SHIKSHA SANGHARSH YATRA - 2014

Organized by

All India Forum for Right to Education

and its 45 member-organisations and more than 200 fraternal organisations across the country

Beginning on 2nd November 2014 in various states/UTs through district-level Yatras along with five ZONAL YATRAS from north-east, south, north, east & west of India to salute the indomitable spirit of IROM SHARMILA
for democratic, just and humane India!

Culminating in Bhopal on 4th December 2014 in solidarity with the 30-year long struggle of the LAKHS OF BHOPAL GAS VICTIMS against ruthless imperialist onslaught on people’s lives and Rights!!

All India Shiksha Sangharsh Yatra (AISSY) holds that

education is not for producing workforce for global market's loot but
for meeting socio-economic and cultural needs of the people and for building a DEMOCRATIC, SOCIALIST, SECULAR AND ENLIGHTENED SOCIETY

 by promoting equality, social justice and diversity;
 by liberating education from communal, casteist, patriarchal, sectarian &

anti-disability prejudices; discrimination, irrationality and superstition; and  by inculcating critical consciousness for social transformation.

________________

THE CONSTITUTIONAL VISION OF EDUCATION

based on equality and freedom from discrimination

cannot be achieved without demolishing the neo-liberal policies that

  •   allow profit making in education;

  •   siphon of public assets and funds to private managements through Public-Private

    Partnership (PPP) and FDI;

  •   reduce education to tradable service under WTO-GATS; and

  •   undermine the very purpose of education by subserving the market through

    communalization, regimentation and enslavement of minds.

    In order to achieve the Constitutional Vision of Education:
    Let us struggle to reverse the neoliberal agenda of privatisation, commercialisation and communalisation of education.

    EDUCATE! AGITATE! ORGANIZE!
    AND CONTINUE STRUGGLE FOR REDEEMING LANGUAGES, RECLAIMING KNOWLEDGE & RECONSTRUCTING EDUCATION!!

 

All India Shiksha Sangharsh Yatra Conveners:

Prince Gajendra Babu (Chennai) - 09445683660; Guddi S.L. (Mumbai) - 09869059860; Lokesh Malti Prakash (Bhopal) - 09407549240; AIFRTE Organising Secretary: Ramesh Patnaik (Hyderabad) - 09440980396;
AIFRTE Office Secretary: Vikram Amarawat (Ahmedabad)- 08128293711
Email - aifrte.secretariat@gmail.com; aifrte.shikshayatra2014@gmail.com; Website - www.aifrte.in

 

 

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