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Is National Education Policy the end of Indian Right to Education Act?

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Sidney Myer Asia Centre - Yasuko Hiraoka Myer (YHM) Room Level 1

761 Swanston Street

Melbourne, VIC 3010

Australia

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Question Marks Seminar Series: Education

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Does the Draft National Education Policy 2019 signal the end of the Right to Education Act in India?

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), passed in 2009, is an ambitious effort to ensure that every child between the age of 6 and 14 has access to a free and quality education in India. Although education access and quality had long been policy concerns, the significance of this Act was that it was rights-based, and made the government responsible for ensuring that the right was realised. Over the last ten years, however, efforts to implement RTE have met various challenges. In particular, the obligations placed on the government to regulate private schools and the obligations placed on private schools to enrol students from disadvantaged groups have been particularly problematic. In this presentation, we discuss how the rights-based ‘mode of ordering’ focusing on social integration and the rights of the child have struggled to establish themselves, and how the RTE has been diluted over the last decade. We examine the Draft National Education Policy for India (2019) (NEP 2019), which raises a number of concerns with the provisions of the Act as well as with its implementation, and proposes a review of the Act. We consider how the RTE Act is being framed in the Draft NEP 2019, and ask what the future holds for RTE’s rights-based agenda, and whether NEP 2019 signals the beginning of the end of the RTE Act.

About the speakers:

Associate Professor Radhika Gorur

Radhika Gorur is an Associate Professor at Deakin University, and a Director of the Laboratory of International Assessment Studies. Her research interests include education policy, regulation and reform; global networks, aid and development; data infrastructures and data cultures; classroom research; and the sociology of knowledge. She has sought to explore how policy ideas and practices are mobilised and how they stabilise and gain momentum. With an interest in digitization and datafication, she has been contributing to the sociology of numbers. She uses concepts from Science and Technology Studies to explore the processes of quantification and comparison, PISA, the history of indicators in education, and national and global education reforms. Currently, with a grant from the Australian Research Council, she is researching the role of global policy networks and the new accountability practices in the global south, with an empirical focus on Cambodia and India, to develop principles for sustainable, participatory accountability practices.

Dr Ben Arnold

Ben Arnold is a research fellow at Deakin University. Ben engages in research that explores the relationship between global education policies/actors and national education policies with a focus on India. His PhD research explored the relationship between global campaigns for gender equality, policies promoting the privatisation of education and local experiences of class and gender in primary schools in Delhi, India. As part of his PhD studies, Ben undertook research placements at UNESCO South Asia where he worked on consultations for SDG 4 in education and at UNICEF India where he researched the implementation of a nationwide child protection scheme in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Prior to his work as a researcher, Ben was a primary and middle school teacher in the UK and Indonesia.

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Sidney Myer Asia Centre - Yasuko Hiraoka Myer (YHM) Room Level 1

761 Swanston Street

Melbourne, VIC 3010

Australia

View Map

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