Parents in the city who chose to pull their children out of formal schools – or chose never to send them to one in the first place – say that schooling isn’t the only means to an education.
Four months ago Madhav Chowdary, 14, stopped attending classes at school and began learning at home. It’s a decision his mother, in retrospect, feels she should have taken earlier.
“If parents have the resources, they should have the choice to home school their children,” said Bindu, his mother, a college principal. “A school is not just a formal structure – learning takes place 24 hours a day.”
A petition filed in the Delhi high court last week prays for home-schooling and the choice to attend “alternative schools” to be exempt from the provision of the RTE.
The petition states that it impinges on the right of parents choose the kind of education they want to give their children.
“When we are in the school system we don’t realise how it affects our natural growth,” said Mathew Peedikayil, who chose to home school his three children. “We can teach them many things besides the curriculum.”
The Act allows only for children with certain disabilities to be home schooled but is silent on the rest.
The petition argues that is unfair to gifted or talented children who wish to develop other skill areas without going to school.
“The Act needs to be more inclusive towards those who choose to leave the formal school system,” said Hemangi Rege Ghosh, who initiated a group for home schooling parents that met for the first time last month.
“It should give a choice to those parents who wish to home school their children, they are responsible adults.” She added that many people in the city were keen to home school their children but did not know how to go about it.