NEW DELHI: The National Advisory Committee of Right to Education Act, 2009 has recommended that religious minorities such as Madarsas and missionary schools be brought under the ambit of Right to Education act.
The committee, that was formed last year to oversee the implementation of the act, held its meeting in January this year but the final report and a list of recommendations have been submitted to the Union Human Resources Development Ministry now. The committee, in which 28 members which included education experts member of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, principals of some schools, representatives from Centre and states and civil society, had participated has suggested that section 15 (5) of the act under which minority institutions enjoy exemption should be amended.
"The irony is that while missionary schools follow fundamental syllabi like normal schools and have become elitist, Madaras are just imparting religious education and are meant for marginalised and deprived sections-but they both enjoy some exemptions from RTE provisions," a participant said.
"We feel that changes should be made in the law to ensure that missionary schools start giving 25 per cent reservations to students belonging to economically weaker sections and syllabi followed in Madarsas should progress towards universal curriculum so that children attending them don't miss out on their fundamental rights of education," he added.
"There should be a bridge between Article 21 (A) which provides the right to education to children between 6-14 years and Article 30 of the Constitution which deals with minority education." NCPCR team had been reviewing Madarsa and missionary school education in 18 cities across India including in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and has found that the quality of education in most Madarsas is not up to mark.
These recommendations by the committee which have large policy implications, have come at a time when several BJP-RSS leaders have also suggested that changes in the existing provisions should be made to bring exemptions offered to minority institution to an end.