A law making primary education compulsory in India came into effect Thursday, opening the door for millions of impoverished children who have never made it to school because their parents could not afford the fees or because they were forced to work instead.A moment for hearty congratulations to India, and hearty gratitude that the basics of free education for all children have been settled here for generations.
The new law entitles all children between the ages of 6 and 14 to a free education, regardless of their social status, gender or income level. Some 8 million children—mostly girls—are currently out of school, according to the U.N. children's agency. The law is expected to also help educate Dalit children, who as members of India's lowest caste are treated as outcasts and are often barred from class.
"Today, our government comes before you to redeem the pledge of giving all our children the right to elementary education," India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a televised national address. "This demonstrates our national commitment to the education of our children and to the future of India."
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Associated Press, via EdWeek, reports: