Minister’s statement in Mumbai that homeschooling is unconstitutional sparks debate
Principals believe going to school is important for a child’s holistic development; parents who have opted for it disagreeUpdated: Nov 28, 2017 15:02 IST
Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde’s statement, made a few days ago, that homeschooling was “unconstitutional” has got its share of supporters and detractors. While many school principals say home schooling is less than holistic compared to formal education, parents who have chosen to defy convention and opted for it believe in it completely.
“My daughter never stepped into a school, and after giving her Class 10 exams through the state board, she is now comfortably pursuing education in a college,” said Ajit Mandlik, one of the first few parents in the city to have chosen homeschooling over formal education. “As long as we are not going against the law and are ensuring that we do the best for our child, nothing can be termed unconstitutional.”
At a press conference held in Mumbai recently, education minister Vinod Tawde said the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009, does not recognise homeschooling as an alternative to school education. “The Act requires children to pursue education in schools, by suggesting inclusive education for all. So, homeschooling, though it may be effective in some cases, is unconstitutional as of now,” he said.
As per the Act, every child between the age of six and 14 years must go to school. The law makes no mention of homeschooling, and the state government has not called it “illegal”.
Schools, on the other hand, emphasise the importance of formal education for all children, insisting that it is needed to bring them at par with those of their own age. “Going to school is not just about sitting in a classroom, it encourages holistic growth of a child. Parents cannot replace the role of a school teacher and classmates,” said the principal of a suburban school, who did not wish to be named.
First Published: Nov 28, 2017 15:01 IST