Right to Education under Article 21A of the Constitution has to be read in conformity with Article 14, 15 and Preamble of the Constitution and there must be no discrimination in quality of education throughout the territory of India. Thus, a common syllabus and common curriculum is required.
The right of a child should not be restricted only to free and compulsory education, but should be extended to have uniform education system throughout the territory of India, without any discrimination on the basis of child's Social Economic Religious and Cultural background.
An uniform education system would achieve the code of a common culture, removal of disparity and depletion of discriminatory values in human relations. It would enhance virtues and improve the quality of human life, elevate the thoughts, which advance our Constitutional philosophy of equal society. In future it may prove to be a basic preparation for the Uniform Civil Code as it may help in diminishing opportunities to those who foment fanatic and fissiparous tendencies.
The ultimate goal of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary is welfare of the people and also to achieve the golden goals as set out in the Preamble. Education connotes the whole course of scholastic instruction, which a person has received. It connotes the process of training and developing the knowledge, skill, mind and character of student by formal schooling.
Children are not only the future citizens but also the future of the earth. Elders in general, and parents and teachers in particular, owe a responsibility for taking care of the well being and welfare of
The world shall be a better or worse place to live according to how we treat the children today. Education is an investment need by the nation in its children for harvesting a future crop of responsible
adults, productive of well-function society.
Children need to be protected
However, children are vulnerable. They need to be valued, nurtured, caressed and protected.
Democracy depends for its very life on high standards of general, vocational and professional education. Dissemination of learning with search for new knowledge with disciple all round must be maintained at all costs. Education implies the idea that it will be quality education.
Article 21A is the most important fundamental right. Without Article 21A, the other fundamental rights are effectively rendered meaningless.
Education stands above other rights, as no one's ability to enforce one's fundamental right flow from one's education. Fundamental stress should be on primary and secondary education so that a proper foundation for higher education can be effectively laid. Preamble of the Constitution is framed with great care and deliberation. It reflects high purpose and noble objective of the Constitution makers.
Constitution gives us a guidance
Eminent jurist Palkhivala explained the essence of our Constitution: "Our Constitution is primarily shaped and moulded for the common man. It takes no account of the portly presence of the potentates, goodly in girth. It is the Constitution not meant for the ruler, but the ranker, the tramp of the road, the slave with the sack on his shoulders, pricked on with the goad, the man with too weighty a burden, too weary a load".
We have resolved to constitute India into a Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are cornerstones of our democracy. Justice is the genus, of which "Socio-Economic" Justice is one of its species.
Socio-economic justice is essential for orderly growth and development of the poor, weak, dalits, tribals and deprived sections of the society. And to elevate them to the level of equality; state should provide Uniform Education having common syllabus and curriculum to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in conformity with Article 14, 15 and Preamble of the Constitution, without discrimination on the basis of child's social economic religious and cultural background.
Article 38(2) says that state shall strive to minimize the inequalities in income and Endeavour to eliminate inequalities and status, facilities and opportunities.
Socio- economic justice, assured by Article 39, 46 and Preamble of the Constitution would get practical content, and Fraternity assuring dignity of the person, and Equality of status assured to them would become meaningful and real; if State would provide Uniform Education, having common syllabus and curriculum to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years throughout the territory of India.
Uniform Education is not only necessary for social economic equality but also essential to promote fraternity assuring dignity of individual and unity and integrity of the nation.
Syllabus and curriculum in all the Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Schools is not only uniform but school dress is also common. Socialism and secularism will remain elusive until uniformity in
education is made available.
The ultimate goal of the Article 21A read with Article 14 and 15 cannot be achieved with the highly varying standards and syllabus. Uniform Education to all children of the age of 6-14 years will not only secure social economic equality but also it'll promote fraternity, assuring dignity of individual and unity and integrity of the nation.
[Ashwini Upadhyay is a spokesperson of Delhi BJP and advocate of the Supreme Court of India]