Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Fundamental Right to Education

Welcome to the Right to Education Project
We aim to promote social mobilisation and legal accountability, looking to focus on the legal challenges to the right to education. The cornerstones of the Project are this wide-reaching website, ongoing research and a wide network of human rights and education activists. It is a partial continuation of the groundbreaking older Right to Education Project of the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Katarina TomaĆĄevski.

his is the Pardhi school – the yellow plastic bag in the foreground contains all the educational material. Pardhis are a tribe in India who traditionally hunted for a living. However, in a more modern setup with the kings owning land – Pardhi’s were declared as criminals – hunting from the kings’ land. Ostracized they began to survive through minor crimes – poaching, making away with livestock and so on. Very often caste, class and social systems ensured that the Pardhi’s could not assimilate with main stream society, and their dependance on crime increased. The British Raj declared the Pardhi’s to be criminal tribes.

Post independence the term cirminal was dropped and attempts were made to bring the tribe in line with mainstream society. However, it hasn’t been easy. Even today the police will look for a Pardhi at the first hint of a crime. Villages don’t want Pardhi’s settling down near them – because of their past. Many settle illegaly on Forest Land and their settlements are torn down at regular intervals. All this leaves the children in dire straits. A nomadic lifes tyle is not condusive to education, and social ostracization means that they are wary of going to the local schools. NGO’s have set up a number of projects that help educate Pardhi children, Using volunteers it ensures that basic education skills are imparted to these children.
the fundamental right to education means that getting access to education is no longer a struggle. Now, all that remains is to put the teachers and infrastructure in place ! Given that this is now a Fundamental Right citizens can be more empowered to demand the supply of education in their neighbourhood What i would like to see now is a military like campaign that drafts teachers to give the new law a leg up.

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