The All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) was constituted at the Osmania University campus in Hyderabad during a seminar on ‘Right to Education and Common School System’ organized on 21-22 June 2009. Now it is working in 22 states. Three basic positions of the organisation:
- There is no place for trade or profiteering, Foreign Direct Investment (F.D.I.), international funding and Public Private Partnership (P.P.P.) which is only designed to siphon public funds to private agencies.
- Education is the Constitutional obligation of the Government (from Centre and States to local bodies) and there is no space in education for discrimination in any form whatsoever. It is the responsibility of the state to establish a well founded nationwide, fully state funded, public education system at all levels (KG to PG).
- The aim of education is to build a democratic, socialist and secular society based on diversity, plurality and equality.
- AIFRTE demands repeal of flawed ‘Right to Education Act, 2009’ that has provisions to allow private managements to hike fees as they like and to intensify the pace of commercialization, provisions for siphoning off public funds to private operators through fee reimbursement. The Act institutionalized the obtaining multi-layered and unequal school system and further widened inequalities and discrimination in all dimensions. The Right to Education Act end up in closure of government schools and take the school system precisely in opposite direction to the long-cherished Common School System. AIFRTE demands genuine right to education Act to establish a fully public funded Common School System based on the concept of neighborhood school managed in decentralized, democratic and participative mode.
- AIFRTE is demanding immediate withdrawal of higher education Bills pending in the Parliament which, if enacted, would (a) Reduce education from a transformative social value to a tradable service; (b) Open the floodgate of Foreign Direct Investment in higher education; (c) Tribunalise Justice in the field of education; (d) Privatize assessment and accreditation process resulting in widespread corruption; (e) Reduce concept of fairness in education to that of ‘transparency’ which in reality means transparent plunder; (f) Establish a National Council for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines. This NCHER will be independent from democratic pressures of the people and regulate the ‘trade in education service’ in the interest of foreign and domestic corporate houses. AIFRTE is demanding strengthening of all government Universities and Colleges and fighting for the spread of higher education on democratic lines.
- AIFRTE is demanding immediate withdrawal of ‘offers’ given to World Trade Organisation in higher education sector lest they become the irrevocable commitments on the part of the nation. AIFRTE stands for real international co-operation in development of knowledge and spread of education outside trade regime.
The Cherished goal: AIFRTE envision an education system that respond with sensitivity to the people’s aspirations for optimization of socio-cultural and knowledge-related diversity and securing civil liberties and democratic rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution. AIFRTE understands education as the strength of the nation to protect its democratic polity and sovereignty. AIFRTE stands for such an education system and strives to build a nation-wide mass movement to achieve it.