Genesis: The Collective Strength
Started in 2001, the National Coalition for Education (NCE) is a conglomeration of networks working on the Right to Education comprising of Parliamentary Forum for Ensuring Right to Education; All India Primary Teachers Federation (AIPTF), a union of more than 3 million primary teachers; All India Federation of Teachers Organization (AIFTO), a union of 1.2 million teachers; All India Secondary Teachers Federation (AISTF) with 0.85 million teachers; All India Association for Christian Higher Education (AIACHE), an association of 300 college principals; World Vision India, a foundation working for children education and development and People’s Campaign for Common School System (PCCSS), a rights based mass organization advocating for common school system in India. Besides these organizations, NCE is privileged to have Parliamentary Forum for Ensuring Right to Education (PFRTE), headed by Mr. Jagdambika Pal, Member of Parliament and 69 parliamentarians, committed to raise the plight of children in the Indian parliament and to ensure their right to education.
The coalition members of NCE have proven records of initiating people’s movement mainly in the field of child rights, women and the underprivileged living in the shackles of forced labour and denied the right to education.
The collective advocacy initiatives taken up by the coalition members of NCE have largely resulted in policy changes towards achieving education for all campaign worldwide. The long drawn interventions made by NCE have directly contributed in bringing the 86th Constitutional Amendment and making education a fundamental right for all children of India.
NCE has recently strengthened its working in 10 states of north, south, east and west India. It has re-energized peoples’ participation in these states in advocating and drafting of state rules for implementation of the Right to Education Act, 2009. Participation of legislatures, civil society organizations, academicians and media has generated a new synergy and awareness about the RTE Act. NCE strives to strengthen participation of women, children and other vulnerable groups deprived of elementary education to make education a reality for all.
Some Major Milestones
- The Parliamentary Forum for Ensuring Right to Education (PFRTE) has been instrumental in taking the voices of people, speaking out about the deteriorating education system in India, to the parliament and getting them actually heard.
- Large-scale lobbying and advocacy efforts through mass mobilisation, signature campaigns, and public hearings by the NCE paved the way for the 86th Constitutional Amendment, making education free and compulsory for children between 6 and 14 years.
- Incessant pressure building and networking with like-minded organizations all over India triggered responses from political circles and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government levied 2% education cess (a surcharge levied by the government for education) and passed the allocation of 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for education.
- NCE contributed in getting the government to agree in principle to increase the public expenditure on education to 6% of the GDP.
- NCE has played a significant role in the formation of Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) forums in many states of India. The MLA forums have since been playing a commendable role in raising issues related to education.
- At the grassroots level, NCE is playing an instrumental role in the formation and strengthening of School Managing Committees in villages. Such committees, which comprise people’s representatives, teachers and local government, take into account the implementation and monitoring of the RTE Act.
- Advocating and pressurizing the government to fulfill its promises on the RTE Act through a Global Action Week (GAW) with partners and a network every year. This week takes place in 10 states of India every year with participation of millions of students, teachers, civil society groups, international organizations and grass-roots movements.
National Coalition for Education is working with the following objectives
NCE strives to restore the fundamental rights of every child, without exception, to receive free and quality education up to the age of 18, on the basis of equal opportunity and without discrimination on the basis of gender, class, caste, ethnicity or religion.
NCE calls for attention to the need to build a national movement towards an educated India. Some specific objectives for this are the following:
- The implementation of the RTE Act in states which are at a slow pace and advocating for speedy notification.
Six percent of GDP and 20 percent of government expenditure should be prioritized for education, and half of this public spending on education needs to be targeted towards elementary education.
- To ensure quality of education, regular and trained teachers should be recruited in place of untrained and para-teachers. Para- teachers recruited so far should be trained and regularized.
- The existing laws should be amended suitably and implemented strictly for total eradication of the menace of child labour and child trafficking, and all children of the age group 0-18 years are enrolled in schools.
- Make constitutional provisions that stipulate that education is a right, in line with the UN Convention.
- Changes should be carried out in the proposed legislation for quality education system with measurable indicators so that parents and the community can monitor the quality of education.
- There should be common schooling system for all children, irrespective of their parents’ socio-economic status.
NCE advocates quality of all government schools at par with Kendriya Vidyalayas (Central School).