Dear Friends, Hereunder is an order by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India. The NHRC is the apex institution of the country for the protection and promotion of human rights of the people of India. Presently, the Government of India is working hard to revise the school curriculum and school textbooks. The work is entrusted with the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Several among the academics, social activists and human rights researchers have expressed concern about the way this is being done. They complaint that in the name of revision a school education is on its way to be introduced that will generate future citizens insensitive to plurality, cultural diversity and social justice. In consequence, there are all possibilities for the school education itself becomes instrumental for human rights violations. A group of educators have, therefore, moved to the NHRC with a petition. The following order is a response to that appeal. This document indicates what human rights education should take into account. Thanks, Somen Chakraborty, Coordinator, Human Rights Unit, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi ------------- NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SARDAR PATEL BHAWAN NEW DELHI Complaint referred by : Dr. Janaki Rajan & Others Case No. : 3045/30/2002-2002 Date : 9 January, 2002 CORAM Justice Shri J.S. Verma, Chairperson, Dr. Justice K Ramaswamy, Member, Justice Mrs. Sujata V. Manohar, Member, Shri. Virendra Dayal, Member PROCEEDINGS Right to development is the most basic right of every child, duly recognised by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), to which India is a party and it has been reiterated in the World Conference at Vienna (1993). Article 39(f) incorporates the right to development as a Directive Principle of State Policy. Education is the most effective tool and medium for human development. Right to education has been judicially construed to fall within the guarantee of right to life in Article 21 and now it is being expressly included in Part III of the Constitution as a fundamental right. Freedom of information is the essence of democracy. Education helps to develop that trait. It must, therefore, be also a medium of exposure to different points of view based on depiction of established facts. It is the obligation of the school to disseminate all necessary information children require to facilitate them in making informed choices about their own lives. The school is the agent for translating the child's right to development into informed action. Thus, right to education of every child is clearly a human right and its proper direction a human rights issue. This is the issue raised in this petition by some educationists who allege that the revision of text books for children's education is likely to adversely affect their development and may distort their personality, which affects human development. No doubt formulation of policies is within the domain of government. However, the constitutional philosophy in the Preamble, the fundamental guarantees and the mandate of regulation of policy formulation by the Directive Principles of State Policy has to be respected and when it is alleged that a policy or state action would adversely affect the development of children it becomes a human rights issue requiring examination by the NHRC, in exercise of its statutory functions. Issue notice to the Ministry of HRD, Government of India and NCERT, New Delhi for reply within eight weeks. Put up, thereafter, for further consideration. (Jusice J.S.Verma) Chairperson (Justice K. Ramaswamy) Member (Justice Sujata V. Manohar) Member (Virendra Dayal) Member ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <email@example.com>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/ If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>. **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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