‘RTE is good, but govt needs to upgrade its schools, give support to private institutions’

Quest Interview with Principal DPS, R K Puram, Dr Saini. He says his career took a turn when a friend explained to him that he was going to retire a physical training instructor if he did not "do something about it". Saini has been associated with Delhi Public School (DPS) for the last 34 years and was made principal of DPS,

R K Puram, three years ago. In his own words, he was an "average" student throughout, and grabbed every opportunity to represent his school, college and university in sports.

How do you think the Right to Education Act 2009 has changed things in the last two years?

The RTE is a good initiative. We have a certain responsibility towards members of our society and we need to fulfill them. But it has to be implemented with proper infrastructure. There must be facilities in the school for such students so that they can be looked after. Separate teaching-learning facilities are needed in schools. Teachers also need to be conditioned accordingly, so that they don't discriminate. And the students should not have the feeling that they come from a different (EWS) category. The government has taken a decision that these children should not be segregated. There are economical, psychological problems because they come from such heterogeneous backgrounds. But this will take time.

Would you buy the argument that if parents (general category) are ready to pay a little extra for the sake of their children, the government should not interfere with it?

Basically, every child in the country has the right to free and compulsory education, from the age of six to fourteen, rich or poor. It is thus the duty of the government to provide this free and compulsory education. So when the rich do not send their children to government schools because quality of education in (government) schools is not good, then they sacrifice their right to free and compulsory education and opt for private schools. They give up their rights and pay more fee than in government schools if the school is good and promises quality. At the same time, with the RTE, (EWS) students are also getting admission in the same schools alongside the general category students and free of cost. So who will pay the money? The government promises only

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