The endeavour to make sure that education is accessible to each individual on earth has come a long way. Immediately after the second world war, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in order to protect human dignity from constant abuses and attacks. Under this declaration, the Right to Education came to be recognised as an inalienable fundamental right in an attempt to strengthen public education. Later in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child also laid down three key obligations of the state towards education.
- Protect: It implies that the state must provide free and compulsory elementary education to all children.
- Respect: It implies that the state must permit the establishment of alternative educational institutions that are within the framework of basic human rights.
- Protect: It implies that the state must give adequate protection to the children from social evils that violate their right to education.
In India, the 86th constitutional amendment made the Right to Education a fundamental right under Article 21-A for children in the age group of 6-14 years. Currently, more than 130 nations in the world today provides legal guarantees of free and compulsory education to all children.
Educational Status of Transgenders in India
Education is the key to which the door to freedom and liberty can be unlocked. In the words of former American president Bill Clinton- “Education is not a privilege, it is a right”. However, the larger question that still remains is- ” Is this right equally applicable to people of all communities? “
In India, according to a study by the National Human Rights Commission, 96% transgenders were denied jobs whereas 60% never attended schools. This reflects an educational emergency as several children from the transgender community have been out of the framework of schools. One of the major reasons behind this is the bullying and harassment that children from this community face due to the lack of gender sensitivity and awareness in our society. In a society where the ‘ideal gender’ is supposed to be either male or female, children from the transgender community become a victim of this stereotypical mindset which not only results in high school dropout rates but also shatters them mentally.
As per the CBSE press release of 2020, only 19 students from class 10 and 6 students from class 12 belonged to the transgender community. This also further reflects a rising threat to the future of children from this community and calls for urgent measures to address these issues that exist within the educational framework.
In 2014, the Supreme Court of India passed a judgement directing the central government of India to treat transgenders as socially and economically backward classes and provide them reservation under OBC quota in higher educational institutions. Although this judgement is a highly welcome move, the government is still yet to implement this provision. In 2016, the first school for transgenders was opened by activist Kalki Subrahmaniam in Kochi which came to be seen as the first step towards addressing the issue of transgenders right to education. However, India needs many such ‘Kalki Subrahmaniams’ to come out and contribute towards the same noble cause. There is an urgent need to revamp the educational structure to resolve the lack of gender sensitivity and morality in institutions of education. The Yogyakarta principles signed in November 2006 needs to be followed in letter and spirit to prevent further abuse of human rights of the transgender community. To conclude, the world needs to uphold the ideal of “Live and Let Live”.