Wednesday, August 24, 2011

[MLE] National Call on 'Language & Education' issued by AIF-RTE

Dear MLE Friends,

As you know the Right to Education  act (RTE) does support education in mother tongue, but has stated it quite weakly by adding the wiggle line "as far as possible". The All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE)  therefore organised a National Workshop "Language and Education" earlier this year. Recently they published a "National Call" with a strong urge to strengthen the appeal for using the mother tongue;
We express our deep concern that 'The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009' (henceforth referred to as the RTE Act) has made a mockery of the crucial role of the mother tongue at the formative pre-primary (nursery, KG) and elementary (Class I-VIII) stages
by stating that education in the child's mother tongue will be provided only if it is 'practicable' [Section 29 (2) (f)]. By doing this, the RTE Act has played into the hands of market forces and has failed to accord the languages of the Indian people their historic place in education. Thus
the RTE Act is bound to exacerbate the process of exclusion of masses of our children and youth from the education system. It also amounts to violation of the Fundamental Rights under Article 19(1)(a) to "freedom of speech and expression" and under Article 21A to education of
equitable quality. The RTE Act further denies the statutory Right accorded by the Constitution under Article 350A to the children of the linguistic minorities to be educated through their respective mother tongues at the primary stage.


The entire call is copied below.
Regards,

Karsten

Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.

SIL, South Asia Group

http://mle-india.blogspot.com/
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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: {ECCE RIGHT:420} National Call on 'Language & Education' issued by AIF-RTE's Itarsi Workshop on 2-4 Jan 2011.
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 11:38:57 +0530 (IST)
From: Anil Sadgopal <anilsadgopal@yahoo.com>
Reply-To:
To:
CC:



Dear all,

The All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE) greets you on the forthcoming Independence Day by sharing with you the National Call issued by the National Workshop organised on 'Language and Education' at Itarsi, Distt. Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh on 2-4 January 2011 (see attachment). We feel that it is our humble contribution to reconstructing India as a "SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC" in order to fulfill the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

Your thoughtful observations would be most welcome so that this National Call can be further enriched and help build a new vision of an egalitarian, just, secular and democratic Indian society.

ZINDAABAAD!

Sincerely,


Anil Sadgopal
-- --
Prof. Anil Sadgopal
Member, Presidium
All India Forum for Right to Education
& Former Dean, Faculty of Education,
University of Delhi

Contact:
E-8/29, Sahkar Nagar
Bhopal 462 039
Mo.: +91 9425600637
--

National Workshop on 'Language and Education'
Organised by the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE)
at Itarsi, Distt. Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh on 2-4 January 2011

A National Call

This Workshop on 'Language and Education' organized by the All India Forum for Right to
Education (AIF-RTE) at Itarsi, Distt. Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh on 2-4 January 2011
recognizes the grave danger which all our mother tongues in India are facing today, as a result of
the increasing pace of the neo-liberal assault on Indian economy, democratic polity and the
education system. The language-cum-education policy which Macaulay initiated in 1835 to
reinforce British imperialism, has continued unabated in post-independence India and today
impacts more intensely on the education system than ever before as a result of the Indian State
kowtowing to the dictates of globalization.
We recognize that languages are not merely means of communication but are significantly
vehicles of our thoughts, cultural history, production processes and the knowledge systems.
Therefore, the assault that our mother tongues are facing would mean an erosion of our diverse
cultures, national spirit and the collective strength to resist the neo-liberal economic order.
We, therefore, assert that the struggle to protect and develop the languages of the Indian people
is also a struggle to save and enrich Indian democracy and our cultural diversity. Accordingly,
the Workshop underlines that those of our mother tongues which are not included as of now in
the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution should also be recognized without further delay. These
languages are not static but are undergoing continuous evolution as part of the historical process.
If we stop using them, if they are allowed to die, then the cultures they represent shall also die,
including the cultures of the historically oppressed sections of society.
This Workshop also recognizes that global research has validated the age-old understanding that
the mother tongue along with other neighborhood languages is the most effective means to
acquire knowledge, build values and develop skills. It is this multilingulity of which our mother
tongues are also a component provides us with a radical pedagogy for transforming our
education system in the interest of wider sections of Indian Society. Multilinguality is now a
globally acknowledged new way of viewing education which can serve as a powerful weapon to
resist the exclusion of masses of our children and youth from education system.
We express our deep concern that 'The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education
Act, 2009' (henceforth referred to as the RTE Act) has made a mockery of the crucial role of the
mother tongue at the formative pre-primary (nursery, KG) and elementary (Class I-VIII) stages
by stating that education in the child's mother tongue will be provided only if it is 'practicable'
[Section 29 (2) (f)]. By doing this, the RTE Act has played into the hands of market forces and
has failed to accord the languages of the Indian people their historic place in education. Thus
the RTE Act is bound to exacerbate the process of exclusion of masses of our children and youth
from the education system. It also amounts to violation of the Fundamental Rights under
Article 19(1)(a) to "freedom of speech and expression" and under Article 21A to education of
equitable quality. The RTE Act further denies the statutory Right accorded by the Constitution
under Article 350A to the children of the linguistic minorities to be educated through their
respective mother tongues at the primary stage.
In light of the above findings, the Workshop recognizes an urgent need to undertake:
a) a critical review of the Three-Language Formula in the National Policy on Education-
1986 (As modified in 1992);
b) radical curricular and pedagogic changes with a view to bring in the emancipative
perspective of multilinguality; and
c) urgent and effective measures to unconditionally recognize the role and place of Braille
and sign languages in the curriculum from pre-primary stage to higher education as part
of Fundamental Right to "freedom of speech and expression" and education of equitable
quality and a concrete programme of action to ensure all necessary infrastructural
support, including disabled-friendly computer technology, for the same.
This Workshop gives a clarion call to all patriotic and progressive forces of our country to join
hands to raise a united struggle in order to accord the various mother tongues of the Indian
people their respectful and pedagogically appropriate place as mediums of education in the
curriculum from pre-primary to higher education. We further give a call to ensure that all our
languages be increasingly used in all aspects of national life - in the judiciary, legislatures and
executive, and for trade and business, information technology and research and all other aspects
of higher education. Unless this is done, our Right to receive education through our mother
tongues will remain an incomplete agenda.
We further give a call that our struggle for an appropriate space for mother tongue and
multilinguality in education must be rooted in resolute resistance to the prevailing policies of
privatization, commercialization and corporatization of education and seek banning of all forms
of trade and profiteering in education. In order to succeed in this struggle, it is essential to build
public pressure on the government to withdraw the offer made to the WTO-GATS which places
Indian education in the clutches of global market forces.
Lastly, it must be recognized that the languages of the Indian people will be protected, and will
grow and be enriched, only if we are able to establish a publicly funded Common School System
where all schools are neighborhood schools (not the misconceived neighbourhood schools of the
RTE Act) requiring children from all sections of society to study together from pre-primary to
Class XII. It is only on the foundation of such an education system based on equality and social
justice that the masses can be educated and India can evolve as a democratic, egalitarian, secular
and just society.

Itarsi, Distt. Hoshangabad
Madhya Pradesh, India
04 January 2011

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