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Friday, August 31, 2012

School textbooks to have message on RTI Act

MUMBAI: Until now, school textbooks had remained beyond the onslaught of advertisements. That is going to change soon, at least in part.

The inside back page of Social and Political Life textbooks for Classes VI to VIII—the favourite doodling area during a boring lecture—is going to sport one. However, instead of poisoning impressionable minds, it will aim to induce them to seek information using their right to information. The page will have a caricature of a girl in uniform who will give basic information about the sunshine legislation and how to file a right to information (RTI) application.

In a letter to chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra, the National Council of Education Research and Training has agreed to publicize the legislation in textbooks. "To disseminate the RTI message, the NCERT has decided to print the message in its textbooks," noted a letter from the ministry of human resource development to the CIC. The message, a copy of which is with this newspaper, states, "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 same advertisement (in Hindi) will be published on the back cover of vernacular textbooks. RTI activists are thrilled with the move and said that it will push youngsters to exercise their right of demanding accountability from the government.

"This is a powerful tool that can make India's democracy stronger. I feel all textbooks should have details about the RTI Act," said RTI activist Manoranjan Roy.

"The RTI machinery needs to be strengthened so that information is doled out in time," activist Jitendra Ghadge added. 
Source : The Times of India, Aug 31, 2012

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