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RE:Umesh's proposal on compulsion

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
Umesh, now you are more specific! I quote:

>       The court may, in turn, use its discretion to :
>       1. let go the parents with some instructions binding on them with
>penalty as
>          a crime of the contempt of the court punishable by
>imprisonment, hanging
>          over them, so that corrective action is taken without anyone
>getting hurt.
>       2. levy a fine for failing to do their duty.
>       3. in extreme cases, award imprisonment and/or fine as

Your suggestions in the first part (below) amount to social pressure and
are therefore acceptable to some extent. I will summarize these and place
in the Manifesto with the permission of all. Annual monitoring of parents
who are not putting their children to schools by local villagers/ city folk
might violate some privacy of the parents, but is essentially a decent way
to exercise pressure on parents. Persuation is the key here, at the local

The latter part (quoted above) is full-fledged compulsion, with the poorest
of the poor facing the brunt of the police/ court system; being forced to
pay by fine (which they can ill afford) or imprisonment, for a decision
which is essentially economic and in many cases unavoidable. 

You and I and differ on assumptions. According to you in order for our
desire to see educated (basically half-educated) children roaming the
countryside as ropemakers and farmers or as slum-dwellers and petty
thieves, the parents of such children - fully enfranchised citizens, should
be put into jail. It is a crime, in your view, MORE serious than the crores
of rupees worth of corruption done by some of our senior leaders whom our
courts after spending hundreds of millions of rupees on enquiries,
travelling all over the world, specially Europe, at public expense, find
them 'not guilty' while all the time, on a day to day basis, we see the
results of their actions in government. They steal public funds meant for
roads, school buildings, houses for the poor; virtually everything; and get
away merrily because we apply the 'highest' standards of evidence in their
case. But for the poor, we have no such standards.

I might be willing to support that stage of coercion in favour of
half-baked education IF and only IF you first ensure that the adults who
commit henious crimes in India are ALL fully imprisoned first. All rapists,
murderers, MLAs with criminal backgrounds, leaders with crores stashed in
Swiss accounts, businessmen who have bribed their way to 'success,' etc. etc. 

You equate the economic compulsion of a poor parent (or a disenchanted one)
with crimes of a very serious nature. I deny this equation completely. I
vote against this harsh punishment on the poor when the CORRUPTEST OF THE
CORRUPT are still out of jail. Economic decisions taken within a family
(the basic unit of human life) are NOT justiciable in the courts, even if
some fancily educated folk sitting in USA or Delhi might wish to see such
decisions go a particular way.

Your first part of suggestions make a lot of sense, and I will summarize
these for the manifesto. But let us all get away from the desire to
imprison the poor for a decision which is related to the consequences of
the state of affairs of India today. Change that state of affairs and we
are through!! 

Finally, I hope you will agree with me that we have to get our priorities
	a)	reform the economic system
	b)	reform the governance system
	c)	reform the education system 

and THEN, if there are a vast number of poor parents who still do not wish
to put their children to school, AND we have jailed ALL the criminals and
corrupt,  THEN we can start imprisoning the poor. Let us be patient, and
work on the causes of parents not putting their children to school, NOT the
symptoms of disease. 

If this conclusion is still disputed, please speak up; else, the use of the
word 'compulsory education' will not be discussed further for at least  a
hundred years, while the first three tasks above are first taken up.

At 06:04 AM 02/21/2000 -0800, you wrote:
>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
>Dear Sanjeev, 
>Thanks for the good and constructive questions. 
>Let me try to work on them one by one (not just in the sense of
>answering them, but trying to explain how I think the system is going to
>On Compulsion
>I definitely am against the use of the term "compulsion". I would prefer
>to call it :
>State's guarantee to a child's right to education.
>Before I lay down the policy and enforcement framework, let me state the
>assumptions I am working under :
>1. There is a city council or village panchayat of locally elected ward
>2. The city council or village panchayat has a clerk who, among other
>things, is 
>   entrusted with the task of doing some administrative work.
>3. The city administration or village council has a city attorney, a law
>   who ensures that laws are not broken by the legislators or the
>citizens, and in
>   cases where the law seems to have been compromised in the eyes of the
>city attorney
>   or any complainant citizen of the city, it is the job of the city
>attorney to 
>   interpret the law to the best satisfaction of the complainant or move
>the court to 
>   seek justice. 
>4. Police is controlled to some extent by the city administration.
>Police is used only
>   to enforce law and order and they don't get involved in cases like
>enforcement of 
>   mandatory education unless in extreme cases, where city attorney
>brings a case to 
>   court, and the judiciary decides to award jail term or arrest of the
>   parents.
>now the POLICY :
>  A: Ensuring that every child gets enrolled in a school.
>   1. The city or village clerk compares the birth record of every child
>of school 
>      going age and enrollment records of every school and brings out an
>      report on the children that have for any reason not been given
>what is supposed 
>      to be their right, the enrollment in a school. 
>      The clerk can be entrusted with the responsibility to ask the
>parents to answer 
>      within a reasonable time as to why their child did not get
>enrolled in a school.
>  2. Such an annual report must be presented to the city council, and
>then the council
>     decides on issues such as :
>     (i) Non availability of the school infrastructure.
>     (ii) Inability of a significant number of citizens to pay even the
>minimum fee   
>          (if any) for enrollment of their child into the school.
>  3. For the unresolved cases, where the village clerk and the respected
>ward member 
>     make a determination that the parents are to be held legally
>responsible for 
>     denying their child his/her basic right to mandatory primary
>education by failing 
>     to enroll the child in a school, the cases are sent to the village
>attorney for 
>     further action. 
>     (See at the end of part B for the proposed guidelines for the
>attorney to work 
>      under)
>B: Ensuring that children do attend classes for the minimum % of school
> 1. Every school that imparts primary education to the children in the
>village, has 
>    a parent-teacher council  that meets at regular intervals and any
>and all issues
>   related to individual students are discussed with their parents by a
>student counsel 
> 2. For extreme cases, where a student is found to miss classes
>regularly for no 
>    apparent and explainable reasons, medical, family hardship or any
>other, and the 
>    school administration has exhausted all avenues of trying to resolve
>the situation 
>    such as repeated sessions of the student with the student counsel,
>    meetings with the parents, and in the best judgment of the school
>    legal resort is the only option available, the cases could be
>refereed to the 
>    village attorney to act upon.
>(If more then a reasonable percentage, say 5% of the cases end up on the
>village attorney's desk, there are more severe problems in the system,
>and in such a situation, the village council (the legislators) can
>simultaneously start working towards addressing the systemic problems
>wherever possible).
>The Village Attorney on Enforcement:
> The village attorney may get two kind of cases :
>  a. Cases related to the parents failing to enroll their children for
>the primary 
>     education, and nothing other then failing to carry out what is
>their individual 
>     responsibility, as determined by the village clerk and respective
>ward member 
>     (village council representative representing the parents locality),
>is the reason.
>     In cases like these, the city attorney should have very clear and
>     guidelines :
>     a. Summon the parents and give them one final chance to respond and
>explain their
>        situation before a legal action can be taken against them for
>violating their
>        child's right to education. 
>     b. Failing to resolve the case in the individual session with the
>parent(s), the 
>        city attorney should move the court and ensure that justice is
>done with the 
>        child. 
>       The court may, in turn, use its discretion to :
>       1. let go the parents with some instructions binding on them with
>penalty as
>          a crime of the contempt of the court punishable by
>imprisonment, hanging
>          over them, so that corrective action is taken without anyone
>getting hurt.
>       2. levy a fine for failing to do their duty.
>       3. in extreme cases, award imprisonment and/or fine as
> b.  Unresolved cases forwarded by the school administration where the
>     students were found to be failing to attend the school for no
>justifiable reason, 
>     and every attempt to resolve the case within the school has failed. 
>     Again, the course of action for the city attorney is similar. First
>the city 
>     attorney summons the parents and explains to them the risks of
>facing the legal 
>     action if they still fail to resolve the situation. 
>     The city attorney either closes the case by having the parents
>comply with the law
>     and ensure the child goes to school, or move the court.
>Obviously, police and courts come into the picture only as a last
>resort, and after all other options have failed, and the case has
>already reached the village attorney. The law enforcement machinery or
>courts are not intended to intimidate the citizens, but as insurers to
>guarantee that freedom of one citizen is not hijacked by other citizens,
>and remember, children are citizens too. 
>Hope this answers most of your questions. 
>Umesh Tiwari
>This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
>Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/

This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/