Right to Education
Research & Advocacy
In the early years of our work in the Education sector, we focussed on the abolition of child labour practice through multi-pronged strategies. We worked closely with organisations and NGOs to address the menace of child labour practice in the country. One of the tested strategies used in the early years for this purpose was to ensure good quality education to all children up to the age of 14 years as mandated in the Constitution. In the initial years, the centre played a significant role in the founding and contributed enormously to strengthen the Campaign against Child Labour (CACL); a civil society movement to address the issue at the national and state level.
Gradually, the demand to make education a fundamental right by bringing an amendment to the Constitution grew. This demand was based on the judgment pronounced by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of J.P. Unnikrishnan v. the State of Andhra Pradesh (AIR 1993 SC 2178). This demand was led by the National Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education (NAFRE) of which the Centre is a founding member. We contributed to flag core issues related to the Constitutional Amendment through consistent research and advocacy. The centre organized the first National Level Consultation to highlight the inseparable interlinkage between right to education and elimination of child labour in 1998. Policy recommendations were made on the basis of the consultation.
We started a field extension programme in a backward panchayat near Bidadi, Ramanagara District in 2003. The purpose was to gain first-hand experience and engage constructively and critically with the Union and State Governments on the implementation of all policies, law and programmes related to education. The main focus of the field extension programme was to engage directly with primary stakeholders for the effective implementation of law, policies and programmes related to education and abolition of child labour practice. It was also intended to document the process through participatory research to inform and influence the state and centre to formulate child friendly policies, law and programmes through bottom up process and rights based approach.
Since then, we have significantly contributed to the discourse on Right to Education as a fundamental right. We have also played a decisive role at the national and state level to champion the cause of right to care, protection, development and equitable quality education to all children from birth to 18 years. This has been carried out by contributing to the process of drafting policies, laws and programmes; conducting research and sharing policy papers as a result which feeds into the wider discourse on right to education.
Community Based Monitoring
We have conceptualized and tested the objectives, composition, structure and functions of the School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs). SDMCs are the committees formed at the school level consisting of parents of the children going to that school. Based on this work, an executive order was passed by the Government of Karnataka to constitute SDMCs at the school level. We researched and drafted the model bye-laws to place SDMCs under Panchayat Raj Institutions. This was notified in toto on 14th June 2006 by the Government of Karnataka.
We have conducted training programmes on right to education for functionaries from various government departments, representatives of civil society organizations, teachers, anganwadi workers, anganwadi supervisors, SDMCs, community, and members of panchayats.