One of the greatest adoption of the 21st century phenomena is transforming the traditional classrooms into virtual ones. A universally acclaimed truth, but while considering it in the Indian context, the Right to Education Act, 2009 will have to be taken into consideration.The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002, inserted Article 21-A in the fundamental rights, under the Constitution of India, to provide free and compulsory education to children in the age group of six to fourteen years.
This claim of promoting digital education can debunk the RTE. It may sound bizarre and misleading , but it is true, nonetheless. In a country with only 21.3% digital literacy from rural areas, promotion of online classroom is not only a direct violation of the RTE Act, but also an inhuman act which claimed life of Subungsar Narzary of Chirang who committed suicide for not getting a smartphone for an online unit test.
If we look closely, in a socio-economic approach it is obvious that most of the government school students are deprived of a digitally enabled household, and therefore the idea of online education is a myth for them. Considering the present state of India’s teaching and learning scenario, it is frightening to see how the learning gap between the poor and the rich is doubling each day, amidst this CoVID-19 havoc. A particular class of people is enjoying the “luxury” of education while the larger underprivileged are held back by economic inequality.
It is even more strange to see when national Councils like NCERT is promoting digital education without considering the grassroots reality which is already snatching away the basic human rights. However, it is upon us now, who are reading, learning and are enjoying the luxury of education, to come forward and take up the act of teaching upon ourselves, otherwise it would be us violating the Constitution.
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Opinion By: Chiranjit Chakraborty, The North-Eastern Chronicle