Do you think extension of Right to Education to younger children is a welcome move?
India has made very slow progress on Right to Education especially in the absence of a wilful political commitment in many states. The proposal for extension to younger age-group will be a step in the right direction. The move finds its place in the draft of the National Education Policy to put every child 3 years and older into a nursery environment. The pedagogy is that pre-school is important to stimulate the curiosity of the children and it also prepares them for the next stage. The scheme to include pre-school also is in line with various child development schemes which also include nutrition. All this is essential for holistic development. There has to be a guarantee that RTE will include all schools except those which are minority institutions. It will bring quality education to children in the age-group of 6-14 years. As of now, the evidence states that only 12.7% schools are able to comply with the requirements and at this pace it will take a decade to achieve the goal. A well-planned road map and devoted financial resources are needed to bring more children under the umbrella of formal education. All this will require a mission-mode implementation. The vacancies of teachers have to be filled, the recruits have to be given proper training on scientific and child-specific teaching methodologies.