11th November, 2003
Ministry of Human Resource Development  


In his intervention in the first business session of the High Level Group Meeting on education for all being held here the Minister for HRD, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, today praised the efforts of civil society organisations and NGOs working in India in the area of education for all.

The Minister’s intervention came soon after the presentation to the Group, of a declaration formulated at a ‘Children Parliament’ at Delhi under the aegis of the Global Campaign for Education. Two children from the Parliament had read out the declaration at the meeting of the High level Group.

While appreciating the points contained in the declaration, the Minister said that its biggest omission was the right of every child to have a family – more particularly, a loving and caring family. He said that once this is ensured, most of the needs of every child would be automatically fulfilled. He stressed the need for children being able to enjoy their childhood rather than having to organize marches and parliaments in their early years. He said that they would have all the time in the world for such activities on attaining adulthood.

As regards notable work done by NGOs in India for education for all, the Minister specially mentioned three viz the Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, PRATHAM and friends of Tribal Society.

Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust has a holistic approach of integrating disabled children in the educational mainstream by organising vocational training, sports and acultural activities, along with education, from nursery to class VIII. They have trained and integrated more than 15,000 children and have trained nearly 1250 teachers from regular schools.

PRATHAM has provided direct education services to over one million children over the last ten year. In the four year period from 1999 to 2003, it has brought 55,000 dropout children back to school in partnership with various governments. It is also working in 26 districts to improve reading and writing skills of over three million children, most of whom are first generation learners.

The Minister said that the Friend of Tribal Society has done remarkable work in tribal pockets of the country-especially in Orissa, MP, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The Society identifies a local youth and trains him in pedagogy. The schools have a need based learning approach linked to the local environment. Dr. Joshi stressed the need for more and more NGOs like the above three to become partners in the education for all endeavour.

The Minister, in his intervention also reiterated his disagreement with UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report, which admittedly took account of statistic only till 2000. As he had mentioned in his opening remarks at the inaugural session the previous day, he expressed disappointment at the Report failing to take cognizance of India’s recent significant advances in education for all, and containing inaccuracies like increase in absolute number of illiterates in the country in the previous decade.