Subir Shukla

‎@Janmejoy If you take a look at the amounts released, you will find that the country as a whole is not really able to use more than 70% of the funds made available… 
     There\’s a need to understand the nature of social \’filters\’ involved. Things such as buildings, textbooks – concrete things that can be touched, inaugurated or \’released\’ and credit taken for – tend to get done. But a child\’s right to learn is a lot more than that, and needs a new set of relationships and processes in order to be attained. It\’s common to have \’disco bhajans\’ (i.e. allowing a western \’pollution\’ of a cultural aspect) but more difficult to implement the notion that a child does not need to be beaten in order to learn (in fact, while teachers are responsible, many parents also insist that their children be kept in discipline through corporal punishment; similarly, look at the response to CCE…). It\’s like trying to ban spitting or dowry (for which a law exists…). 
     Similarly, the notion that you do not need to memorize or be given explanation – instead you should learn through activity, exploration and projects (which is what the RTE provides for) – is not the easiest to implement even for those who are seriously trying, including in the NGO sector, including in the organizations that are seen as the \’teerth sthal\’ of education. Another crisis – and this is a professional, considered opinion of a curriculum/textbook/materials developer after closely examining materials from all over the country for 20 years – is that the NGO \’products\’ in terms of curricula / materials / pedagogy / teacher development are also fairly weak when it comes to the kind of quality desired, the constructivism to be implemented, the kind of equity-oriented and diversity based classroom that is now needed. Indeed the textbooks of several states would rate much higher. 
     @Naaz, steps about how to make \’special training\’ or create a differential classroom which must necessarily result, are not really spelt out in RTE documents. (This is just an example, and there are several more such aspects, esp about how to help those in the system realize that post-RTE, it is THEY who are the \’beneficiaries\’ and children / parents / community are the REASON for the system to exist.) 
     I\’m afraid the real import of many of the RTE provisions have not really been understood and a whole lot of \”why aren\’t you doing your job\” kind of comments are being passed around. While these will help in situations such as getting children admitted, other aspects such as getting discrimination (subtle and overt) to reduce, community to be empowered, teachers to be enabled to create vibrant and equity-oriented classrooms, in 1500000+ schools, (including private schools), are something else altogether. \’Protesting\’ or \’raising\’ voice may curb something negative, but doesn\’t necessarily make something positive (e.g. teaching better) happen. I\’ve written about \’preventive power\’ vs \’generative power\’ elsewhere in this blog.
     The perspective changes when you\’re someone who has to actually deliver the RTE, and I haven\’t found much in the various fora that is dramatically helpful, or not known or not being tried out. A lot of the suggestions are very vague (ideas such as \’involve the community\’, \’empower the teacher\’ are outcomes of steps, which themselves are not always spelt out, or examples given of a very preliminary level..). Many of the issues (such as teacher attendance and accountability) are larger governance issues and need a larger strategy, some of which is indeed being thought about at different levels. I still believe that people thinking and working on these issues have a great deal to contribute – both within the government set up and outside. Hence my request for the kind of engagement that foregrounds concrete actions.