New Delhi, January 13, 2010 - The first-ever digital awareness campaign, “Awaaz Do”, launched to raise awareness on the Right to Education (RTE), has generated an over-whelming response with more than 200,000 people joining the campaign in less than three months.
Prominent supporters include the Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, and Bollywood superstar and UNICEF National Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, who have signed up for the campaign through its website to support the eight million children who are currently out-of-school.
“Every child in India is entitled to equitable and quality education. The RTE provides for that. The “Awaaz Do” campaign will help ensure it. If we want free, quality education for the eight million children who are out-of-school, let us be part of the “Awaaz Do” Champions campaign. I am part of it. You should be part of it.” said Kapil Sibal, in his statement supporting the campaign.
India is home to a growing young, urban population that is mobilising to demand the goals set forth in the Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE). The Act guarantees free and compulsory education for every Indian child, in the age group of six to fourteen years, regardless of caste, religion or background.
The media also has a significant role to play by keeping RTE firmly in the national spotlight. Using new technology and social networking, the campaign allows citizens to get actively involved and demand the right for children who are excluded and marginalised. As part of getting all children into school, the campaign encourages people to know more about RTE and also to take action in their communities by supporting schools in its implementation of the Act.
“We must continue to build the momentum that has been achieved in a short span of time and keep the public discourse focused on RTE,” said Urmila Sarkar, UNICEF’s Chief of Education. “The campaign has successfully forged partnerships among media, government, civil and corporate organizations and, most importantly, with citizens who demand that all children get the quality education they are entitled to and deserve.”
The campaign will reach its peak on 25 January with a symbolic presentation of all of the “Awaaz Do” Champions at an event hosted in Delhi with Kapil Sibal, Minister for Human Resource Development, Karin Hulshof, UNICEF India Representative, and school children.