‘Give people the right to choose schools’

New Delhi, April 18 (Inditop) Using political rallies as a platform to raise a voice against the poor quality of education in government schools, a “My vote, My choice!” campaign is urging leaders to provide “education vouchers” to students, especially from marginalised communities, to enable them select a school of their choice.

The Centre for Civil Society that is running the campaign, said this will improve the overall quality of education that schools provide.

“When funds are not a limiting factor for a child to select his or her school, they will obviously opt for one which has a good infrastructure and strong teachers’ presence. This will instil a feeling of competitiveness amongst the schools to improve themselves in order to attract more students, thus raising the quality of education,” Baishali Bomjan of “My vote, My choice!” told IANS.

To prove its point, the NGO has been running a three-year pilot project in Delhi.

“In a pilot project which we launched in 2007, we chose 408 students from across Delhi and gave them education vouchers of Rs.3,600 per annum to get admission in a budget school of their choice. Most parents decided to pull our their children from government schools and put them in private schools instead.

“After a year, we drew up an assessment report and saw that the overall learning capacity, the will to go to school and learn amongst the students had increased,” Bomjan said.

The campaigners are marking their presence felt in almost all major political rallies in order to get their message across to the leaders and policy makers.

“We are not saying that government schools should close down. But since these schools are not accountable to the parents, quality of education is always compromised with. We are already in talks with the Rajasthan government in this regard,” Bomjan said.

“Through this campaign, we are trying to say that if people have the right to choose their government, then why not a school? Educational reform is the need of the day,” she added.