8000 people gathered in the state of Karnataka in India last week to reaffirm their fight for public education.
Teachers, mid-day supervisors and local community activists all attended the event, whose theme was:
We oppose all forms of ‘Privitisation- Commercialization and PPP for profit’. We are committed to ‘Save- Strengthen and Transform government schools into Common neighbourhood schools’.
Although the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which came into effect in 2010, has been much praised around the world – it still propagates segregated education. Elite state schools continue to thrive while state schools for low income children are consistently run down and their teachers denigrated. Meanwhile private schools are sanctioned in the act – they are required to give 25% of their places to children from low income families. Partly as a result of this and also as a result of the lack of funding for state education low fee private schools are proliferating. This has reached its most extreme form in Mumbai, where the city corporation has recently opened up its entire schools stock to public private partnerships.
There is a concerted campaign against these moves and in defence of public education in many parts of India and the mass rally in Karnataka is yet another manifestation of this resistance.
The event was organised by the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC), the Karnataka State Primary Teachers Association and the Centre for the Child and the Law.