With education a Fundamental Right, the government, to meet its constitutional obligation,is setting up inferior schools in India's poorest pockets under the Alternative and Innovative Education and Education Guarantee Schemes. The benefit: upscaling of education statistics.
- The minimum educational qualifications for teachers to be hired in these schools dip as low as Class VII pass in some states.
They are not even called 'teachers', but 'para-teachers', 'shiksha karmis', 'shiksha bandhus' and so on.
- The alternative 'teachers' are paid much below mainstream government school wages, and are often not paid at all for months on end. Hence there's little commitment.
- These 'schools' often have no building, no classroom and no textbooks.
- The proposed Free and Compulsory Education for Children Bill, 2004, seeks to formalise a clear-cut segregation of the education system, insist activists. They say it should be renamed Cheap and Discriminatory Education Bill, 2004.