A National Conference on the “Right to Education Act: Issues and Concerns in Implementation” has been today inaugurated at the University of Hyderabad (UoH). This two-day conference is organized by the State Institute of Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)   in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology (UoH), with support from UNICEF and Save the Children.

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The participants of this conference include Government officials from the Education Department of Andhra Pradesh, NGO representatives from the country, faculty from state and central universities and various scholars.  The seminar was inaugurated by Smt. Poonam Malakondaiah, IAS, Principal Secretary, Primary Education & (SSA), Government of Andhra Pradesh on February 25, 2014. Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice –Chancellor of the UoH presided over the session. Smt. V. Usha Rani, IAS, State Project Director, Rajiv Vidya Mission (SSA), Andhra Pradesh was the Chief Guest of Honour. The inaugural panel included  Dr. S. Suresh Babu, Director (SIEMAT), Hyderabad; Dr. Renu Singh, Country Director, Young Lives, New Delhi and Dr. P. Anjaiah, State Programme Manager, Save the Children, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Prof. Aloka Parasher-Sen, Dean School of Social Sciences, UoH delivered the welcome address and Prof. P Venkata Rao UGC-SAP (UoH) co-coordinator at the Department of Anthropology delivered the context of the seminar.

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The Keynote Address was delivered by Prof. R.V.R Chandrashekar Rao, Former VC, A.P Open University, Hyderabad. Borrowing from Rene Descartes’ famous quote “I think therefore I am” Prof. Rao stressed in the contemporary context of education  “I read, therefore I am” is apt.  He highlighted that the concept of compulsory education was conceived as early as 1950 in the directive principles of state policy but it came into effect through the act only in 2009.  Now the focus should be more on the distributive aspect of this fundamental right.

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Smt. Malakondaiah who inaugurated the conference stated that “though enrollment takes place, retention is a grappling problem that RTE faces and the dropout rates among the Scheduled Tribes is more as compared to others. She also emphasized on the quality of Education, content, nature of curriculum, maintenance of infrastructure and learning outcomes. She looks forward to fruitful discussions on these themes in the Conference.

Prof. B.V Sharma, Department of Anthropology (UoH) informed that approximately seventy paper presenters in the conference will focus on the various themes and issues of Right to Education Act, its challenges and Issues of Inclusive Education.

 

By Prof. B V Sharma, Department of Anthropology

 

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