Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that the government was committed to ensuring that all children irrespective of gender and social category have access to education and fund constraints would not be allowed to hamper implementation of the the Right to Education Act.
Addressing the nation as the Right to Education Act went into force on Thursday, he said "the government is committed to ensuring that all children irrespective of gender and social category, have access to education."
"Our government, in partnership with state governments, will ensure that financial constraints do not hamper the implementation of the Right to Education Act" he said.
Adding a personal touch to the importance of education, the Prime Minister recalled his own childhood days as someone born in a family of modest means who had to walk a long distance to go to school. "I read under the dim light of a kerosene lamp. I am what I am today because of education," he said.
"I want every Indian child, girl and boy, to be so touched by the light of education. I want every Indian to dream of a better future and live that dream", Singh said.
Recalling the desire of Gopal Krishna Gokhale about 100 years ago when he had urged the Imperial Assembly to confer on the Indian people the Right to Education, Singh said about 90 years later the Constitution was amended to enshrine the Right to Education as a fundamental right.
"Today, our government comes before you to redeem the pledge of giving all our children the right to elementary education," Singh said adding "this demonstrates our national commitment to the education of our children and to the future of India ".
Pointing out that India is a country of young people, he said "it is the belief of our government that if we nurture our children and young people with the right education, India's future as a strong and prosperous country is secure."
Singh said the government at the Centre, in states and union territories and authorities at district and village levels must work together as part of a common national endeavour to realise the Right to Education and asked the states to join in this national effort with "full resolve and determination".
Noting that success of any educational endeavour was based on the ability and motivation of teachers and the implementation of the Right to Education is no exception, he asked the teachers across the country to become partners in this effort.
At the same time, Singh said it was also incumbent upon all to work together to improve the working conditions of teachers and enable them to teach with dignity, giving full expression to their talent and creativity.
Parents and guardians too have a critical role to play having been assigned school management responsibilities under the Act, he said adding "the needs of every disadvantaged section of our society, particularly girls, Dalits, adivasis and minorities must be of particular focus as we implement this Act."