Equality of Opportunity in Education: In this article, we have discussed about the Equality of Opportunity in Education and the various articles of the Indian Constitution. Read the article to know more.
Introduction to Equality of Opportunity in Education
The term equal opportunity implies that the rich and poor both should have equal access to the education system and program without any hindrance. Caste, Colour of creed should not put any check on an individual to pursue a course of education by his ability and aptitude.
Equal opportunity does not mean an identical education to all. As we know that no two individuals are alike, and Everyone differs in tastes, manners, attitudes and aptitudes, beliefs, etc. Any attempt to provide the same educational programs and opportunities to each and everyone is most likely to be met with failure.
According to the Kothari Commission, “On grounds of social justice as well as for the furtherance of democracy, it is essential to make special efforts to equalize educational opportunities.”
Dr. Radhakrishanan had also pointed out, “Democracy only provides that all men should have equal opportunities for the development of their unequal talents.”
The Indian constitution also as per Articles 15, 16, 17, 38, and 48, guarantees that the State/country shall not discriminate between persons on account of their religion or region and caste and class. The Preamble of the Constitution also assures equality to all the citizens.
Equality of Opportunities in education
The Indian Constitution has many provisions which aims at fulfilling the aspirations of the people through the medium of education, are as follows:-
- Fundamental Rights and Duties: Articles 12 to 35 or Articles 14, 15, 16, 30 and 51 A
- Equality of opportunities in Education: Article 28, 29, 350 and 351
- Universalisation of primary education, Directive Principles: Article 41, 45 and 46
Adequate measures have been taken by the drafters of the constitution to see social justice, economic, educational interests among the weaker sections and the rights of the people are protected in the best possible manner.
Articles of the Indian Constitution which emphasises on Equality of Opportunity in Education are-
Article 28 of the Constitution:
Equalization of educational opportunities should be taken to provide suitable and proper education for all by their interest, abilities, and aptitudes, and it should deny the educational provisions to anyone who possesses special aptitudes and interests in any kind of educational field.
Religion is a very strong aspect of Indian people, therefore to give prominence to religious education, Art 28 is added to the constitution. It states:
Art 28 (1), “No religious instruction shall be provided to any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.”
Art 28 (2), “Nothing in Clause (1) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State, but has been established under my endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution.”
Article 28(3), “No person attending any educational institution recognized by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given a consent thereto.”
This Article (Article 28) of the Constitution relates to “Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in a certain educational institution.” In other words, it tries to permit religious education to all – an equal opportunity in the matter of religious instruction/education.
Article 29 of the Constitution:
Article 29 of the Indian Constitution gives equal educational rights to every citizen of India. In a democracy, without caring about religion, caste, or status, all people are given equal opportunity for the round development of their personalities. Keeping in view this basic assumption of democracy, under article 29 of the Constitution, the educational rights of everybody are conserved, protected, and fixed.
This article states:
Article 29 (1): “Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof, having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.”
Art 29 (2): “No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.”
Article 350 of the Constitution:
This article relates to facilities for instruction in mother tongue so that every Indian should get an equal opportunity to receive education in his or her mother tongue, especially at the primary stage.
Article 350 (A) Facilities for Instruction in Mother tongue at Primary Stage:
“It shall be the endeavor of every state and every local authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups, and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities.”
Art 350 (B) (a) Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities: 350 (B) (a) There will be a special officer appointed by the President of India for linguistic minorities.
Article 350 (B) (b): It will be the duty of the special officer to conduct research or studies in to all subject related to the notion of linguistic minorities as defined in the constitution, and to send suggestions to the president regarding these subjects.”
Hence it can be said that the instructions in Mother Tongue are very important for bringing equality in opportunities in Education. Many children in India drop out because of the unavailability of this facility.
Article 351 of the Constitution:
This Article places a special responsibility on the central government to develop or to work towards developing the national language i.e. Hindi. A large number of Indians speak the Hindi language, especially in northern India.
To provide them equality in the educational field, it is necessary to develop Hindi so that it can come up to the level and status of the English language in India.
The article states:
It shall be the duty of the union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India, and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with the genius, the forms, style, and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India, specified in the eight Schedule, and by drawing.
Whatever is necessary/desirable for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages. Indian Constitution Articles 345, 346, 347 deal with Regional languages.
Education is a universal human right. Equality in education is directly related to democratic development, economic development, nation development, and accelerating the process of modernization.
Thus, we can say that the provisions were made in the constitution for providing equality of opportunities in education for different sections of the society so that India can become an educated country.
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