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RE:Umesh's proposal on compulsion : Constructive engagement

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!

Dear Dr. Sablok, 
We have debated enough on philosophies, and our passionate arguments as to
what each one of us think is the right prescription for education system
reform. Our arguments in fact became little bit more heated then I would
have liked them to be. Although such heated debates are natural outcome of
lively participation, however, the purpose is served much better if, after
having gone through the heated arguments, we sit back and think it over, and
may be, read again, what the other side suggested and see it from their
perspective for a change. Nobody wins if a good constructive policy
framework does not come out of such debates.
As I read these and other potions of your message :
"...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 toimprison
the poor for a decision which is related to the consequences ofthe state of
affairs of India today. Change that state of affairs and weare through!!
Finally, I hope you will agree with me that we have to get our
	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
wishto put their children to school, AND we have jailed ALL the criminals
andcorrupt, THEN we can start imprisoning the poor. Let us be patient,
andwork on the causes of parents not putting their children to school, NOT
thesymptoms of disease...."
I see your apprehensions about the poor getting hurt or thrown into a jail
without mercy, and rather then solving a problem of illiteracy, we might end
up creating other problems for the already oppressed people.
I am aware of these concerns, and believe me, I did give some thought to
these issues before writing the proposal. Yes, this proposed policy is not
going to work in the vacuum, and we do need to have a local government
machinery (as mentioned in my assumption,and proposed in short by you in the
point b) above. 
Economic reform is a necessity that we all know. Even though I know, in a
situation where the economic condition of the citizens  has improved , the
education system thus proposed, is likely to work, or in fact, we might not
even need the government too much concerned about educating the children,
because citizens with good economic condition will know the significance of
educating their children, and will pay their dues to support the necessary
infrastructure, I still come down on the side of not linking economic reform
as a pre-condition to education reform for the following two reasons :
1. Who controls the economic reforms? Don't you want to have the local
citizens to take control of their own economy? 
    How do you do that if you don't ensure that they do get educated?
2. What happens until the economic system reforms have improved economic
condition of the "poor"?

As for the fear of imprisonment hanging over the poor, I think you have
taken my proposal of enforcement out of context and selectively applied
towards poor people, even though I have clearly proposed safeguards, which I
am repeating here :
In my original proposal, I said :
- A: Ensuring that every child gets enrolled in a school.
  2. Such an annual report must be presented to the city council, andthen
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 ...
	(This at least partially covers poverty)
  3. For the unresolved cases, where the village clerk and the respected
ward member make a determination ....
   (Please remember, here the ward member, who gets voted by none other then
the parents and their neighbors, makes the determination, while being
assisted by the village clerk who has all the facts in front of him/her,
whether or not the case requires making parents answerable for their
probable failure.)
 	Even this step does not directly make a case for legal action, and
there is one more step of hearing at the office of the village attorney, who
can be expected to understand the genuine reasons for the parent's failure
to enroll the kids for the reasons that may or may not be related to their
	One can't imagine how much good can come out of such exercises. If
just the information goes out from the office of the village attorney or the
village council that a certain number of parents could not enroll their
children to the school due to their poverty, you can see lot of generous
citizens who are well off, volunteering to make donations or support such
parents, etc.
	As for the legal measures, that's the ultimate safeguard, and just
the existence of such a safeguard itself is enough to prevent people from
taking children's education less seriously, and yes, it is the accepted fact
that 99% of the parents do care, and do understand that education is
important. If that is the case, then citizen's should not fear from these
protection mechanisms, especially when they have complete local control
through their local government, who they themselves help elect at regular
intervals, and for that matter, I do agree that, we have to have a local
government infrastructure first, and agree 100% if that's what you mean by
reform on governance. 
I think we do have village panchayats in most of the places. Only a few
minor changes in the system should set the ball rolling. 
It is hard to argue when I have to satisfy arguments that go both ways. when
I left the enforcement issues for others to work on, you came hard on the
lack of enforcement in my proposals, saying, it should just be "requested
education...", but when I outlined the very basic and minimum level of legal
protection for the children, which, by the way, also shows ways for the
village government to factually support their case when they ask the state
or central government for funds to finance new schools, as well as work on
poverty related causes to ensure education reaches every child, you decided
to selectively apply the enforcement to the poor and attacked it as being
too harsh. 
Why don't those who find shortcomings in this proposal, come out with their
own thoughts and arguments and say as to how they think a universal primary
education policy can be enforced
1. without compromising individual freedom, 
2. protecting the rights of the children
3. ensuring that the policies don't create more bureaucratic layers for
corruption, and gives most of the control to the local citizens.
4.provides some teeth to the system so that it can not be abused by those
who care a damn about laws and do abuse their children (if you think there
are none, then we don't have any argument about enforcement)

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