Shiksha Yatra: - India Marches For Education

Mission: - "To build a National Movement Towards An Educated India"

Need for the Shiksha Yatra

The architects of the Indian Constitution laid the foundation for not only a Secular Republic but also the foundation for a Literate India. This is reflected by the declaration under Article 45 of the Constitution-"That the State shall within ten years of the commencement of the constitution provide free and compulsory education to all children. Today India is confronted with a grim reality. On the one hand, India has emerged, as a superpower in the information technology and on the other hand 12 crore children in the country are illiterate. It is a matter of shame that a country which has held a respectable position in science, knowledge, religion today accounts for the largest number of illiterate in the world. Out of 88 crore illiterate, 32 crore are Indians, out of which 62% are women. 

Under the leadership of Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (SACCS) since the last 20 years is waging a war against child labour. A doyen in the field of fight against child servitude, it was the unrelenting efforts of only one personality who spearheaded a movement at the local, national and international level to give millions of children under servitude an opportunity to be released from the shackles of bondage. His approach not only entails release but also includes rehabilitation. SACCS has been successful in bringing the issue of child labour onto the social, political and economic agendas both nationally and internationally.

SACCS has with great success followed the tradition of marching to reach the masses on vital issues of social significance. To sensitize and mobilise social action, SACCS accomplished the 80,000km. Global March against Child Labour. The March was actively supported by 70 lakhs participants in 108 countries. The Global March Against Child Labour paved the way for the adoption of ILO Convention 182 to combat worst forms of child labour.

Need for a Peoples Movement

We appreciate the initiatives taken by various organisations, individual, state government and the Central Government in the field of elementary education. But at the same time we feel the urgent need for a people's movement. Besides government civil society also bears the responsibility for failing to challenge the governments apathy and to give forceful expression to popular aspiration for education.

Henceforth SACCS felt the need for a Shiksha Yatra. We know that millions of children who are languished under bondage are not capable of demanding their rights due to lack of awareness about their rights. Social awareness and consciousness cannot be raised by holding workshops and seminars in big cities. There is no dearth of reports recommendations and committees. what ails is lack of social awareness, political will and lack of a vision.

In search of greener pastures, crores of children migrate to the cities, but they end up languishing in bondage and slavery. The big talks on our rich and varied culture, tradition, patriotism, constitution religion, democracy is meaningless until and unless each and every citizen in the country is involved in the decision making process. This is possible only each and every child in this country is entitled to free, compulsory and meaningful quality education.

Let us put our heads and hearts together to pledge for liberation of humanity for educating each one who has come on earth it now becomes our duty which we should perform with at most sincerity. Bachpan Bachao Andolan/ South Asian Coalition On Child Servitude request you to extend your kind support and participation in this Shiksha Yatra as we believe anywhere near our goal especially when our fight is against an age old evil illiteracy which is firmly root in our society.

Objectives

  • To ensure immediate passage and implementation of the 83rd Constitutional Amendment Bill for free, compulsory and meaningful, quality education for girls and boys upto the age of 18 years, with increased provision of quality early childhood education and care.
  • Increased public expenditure on education to at least 6% of GNP.
  • Networking and mobilising the support of the Teachers Organisation, Students Union, NCC, NSS, Panchayats, Nehru Yuvak Kendra, Trade Unions, Government4 NGO's and other civil society organisations.
  • Imposition of special education tax on foreign investors in India, Multi National Corporation and Local Private Sector for additional resource mobilization.
  • Lobbying for reducing the military expenditure and other unneccesary expenditure at the national, regional and international level.
  • Lobbying for more extensive and broader debt cancellation and allocation of these funds for education.

National Media Launch of the Shiksha Yatra

The National Media Launch of the Shiksha Yatra was held on January 18, 2001. Fully endorsing and supporting the Shiksha Yatra, United Nation's Population Control Ambassador and Bollywood Actress Ms.  Manisha Koirala and eminent Director Mr. Mahesh Bhatt, said "Too often we take education as a privilege, not as a right." Educating children is one of the most important factors for development."

Bhatt was more vociferous "Just imagine what will happen when crores of children get a platform to voice the kind of life they were shackled to," he said referring to the Yatra. "We are dream manufacturers and belong to the virtual world…but people should be wary of entertainment products," stressed Bhatt.

"How can you create a fair world by denying them the basic tool to fight," he said pointing out that fairness in the distribution of opportunities was not there.