India to Promote RTI In Message to Children

31 August 2012

The Indian government has decided to promote the Right to Information Act to school children.

A message will be displayed inside the back cover of some textbooks, according to direction from the National Council of Education, Research and Training. An estimated 10 million children will read: “The basic aim of the RTI Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of government, contain corruption and make our democracy work.”

The message will appear in social and political life textbooks for Classes VI to VIII, for ages 11-14. A caricature of a girl in uniform will accompany basic information about the RTI law and how to file a request.

The same information in Hindi will be published on the back cover of vernacular textbooks.

RTI activists “are thrilled with the move,” The Times of India reported, quoting RTI activist Manoranjan Roy as saying, “This is a powerful tool that can make India’s democracy stronger. I feel all textbooks should have details about the RTI Act.”

An overview on the topic of education and RTI recently appeared in MoneyLife. Author Vinita Deshmukh noted that Nerpal has included information about its access law into school curriculum, and reports that ” the Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC), Pune, has recently initiated a unique RTI familiarization and uses the programme for students to inculcate the wide use of this tool for investigative and informative journalism.”

Related Developments in Education

In another development, teachers from various organizations in June formed Educators in RTI Service, according to an IBNLive report.

The article continued:

Lauding the initiative, social activist and Magsaysay award recipient Sandeep Pandey said the teachers have a crucial role to play in moulding the personality of the youth. He regretted that educated persons are turning out to be more corrupt than their uneducated counterparts as is evident in the fall in ethics in professions like medicine, engineering, law and bureaucracy. RTI can be used effectively to ensure transparency in administration, Pandey maintained. Chief Information Commissioner, Andhra Pradesh, Jannat Hussain said RTI forums should be established in all schools and colleges to promote awareness about the law among the students. Several top academicians said awareness over RTI is abysmally low among students in colleges and universities, which ought to be high.

Back in January, the Haryana government announced plans to add a chapter on the RTI Act in curricula of schools and colleges, IBNLive reported at the time.

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