Awaaz Do Digital Campaign Urges Indians to Speak Up for the Eight Million Children Out-of-School
New Delhi, 19 October 2010 – The Awaaz Do on-line campaign was launched today to mobilize Indian society to speak up for the more than eight million children currently out of school in the country.
The landmark passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of India. For the first time in India’s history, children will be guaranteed their right to quality elementary education by the state with the help of families and communities. Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure child-centered, child-friendly education to help all children develop to their fullest potential. An estimated eight million six to 14-year-olds in India were out-of-school in 2009.
“India is home to a growing urban population that can be mobilized into demanding that the goals set forth in RTE become reality. We must continue the momentum to achieve this objective and the middle class, as well as the media, can help raise their voices to keep RTE firmly in the national spotlight,” said UNICEF India Representative Karin Hulshof. “We hope to have 500,000 people sign-up for the campaign by 24 January, Girl Child Day.”
The campaign is being launched by UNICEF, with the support of the Government of India, at
Those who sign up serve as champions for the cause and help build awareness through social media forums including email, Facebook, SMS and a photography contest. UNICEF celebrity ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, and Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human Resource Development, have signed up as an Awaaz Do champions to garner support.
Millions of children, both girls and boys, will benefit from the RTE Act ensuring quality education with equity. The initiative is a ripe platform to reach the unreached, with specific provisions for disadvantaged groups, such as child labourers, migrant children, children with special needs, or those who have a “disadvantage owing to social, cultural, economical, geographical, linguistic, gender or such other factor.”
RTE focuses on the quality of teaching and learning, which requires accelerated efforts and substantial reforms. Creative and sustained initiatives are crucial to train more than one million new and untrained teachers within the next three to five years and to reinforce the skills of in-service teachers to ensure child-friendly education.
For more information and interviews, please contact:
Angela Walker, Chief of Communication, UNICEF India
Geetanjali Master, Communication Specialist, UNICEF India
Sonia Sarkar, Communication Officer- Media, UNICEF India