Book Review | RTE: The Way Forward
One of the many reasons you pick a book is because of the author’s credentials. Right to Education: The Way Forward by Vinay Rai and Narendra Kumar (ISBN: 978-81-910833-1-6) was one such book.
Given our interest in education and generally the apparent paradox that the Right to Education Act is all about, this seemed to be a good book to pick up. Being shrink-wrapped, when we picked up the book, all that was available to judge the book, was only its cover – and the author bios on the back cover.
It was a terrible disappointment.
For one, it seems that this was supposed to be primarily to be just a draft working paper and few thoughts that have been converted to a book. There is significant repetition of nay, not just paragraphs, but pages altogether. Many sentences find their way back into the text matter shamelessly, with unfailing regularity. As far as the core content of the book, it does not provide any fresh perspective on the Act – the challenges and the solutions mentioned in the book have been argued ad nauseam. The research material from which certain assumptions are derived are very limited, and are repeatedly referred in the book. There is a vast amount of literature out there from organisations like NEUPA and UNESCO and the MHRD site, which does not find any mention in the book.
The editor has done a shoddy job, (“short of human capital by 17 millions”), and Indian words like “melas” are not marked out in any way. Paragraph subtitles are like:
The Road To Implementation Of Act Is- Potholed
At the end of the book, I felt that this book was not written by the authors; they have just lent their name to it. Further, for such a low-quality publication to come out of and be endorsed by ASSOCHAM’s President, Dr. Swati Piramal, was equally disappointing.
Finally, since this book did not show up in the GoodReads library, I had to add it to the library. As I filled in the details, I was very surprised to note that the blurb on jacket flaps was taken straight from an article by India Today.
A serious case of plagiarism, if you ask me. And a serious case of dismay.
For a much better presentation on RTE, we recommend this Policy Brief by Shivkumar Jolad [DISE Site PDF]
PS: for an opposing view, please read this review