Educationist Vinod Raina, who died of cancer here on Thursday, was one of the key architects of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. He was member of the expert group on ‘Monitoring of Child Rights in Education’ set up by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and a sitting member of the Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE), the highest decision-making body on education.
Co-founder and executive committee member of NGO Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Professor Raina was a physicist by profession who resigned from Delhi University in 1985 to devote himself to grassroots work in education. He was Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
Prof. Raina had been suffering from cancer for the past three-and-a-half years. His condition deteriorated last week and he was admitted at a Delhi Government hospital where he passed away on Thursday afternoon. He was cremated at Lodhi Road crematorium in the evening.
One of the pioneers of the People’s Science Movement in India that attempts to empower people to plan and implement their own developmental ideas and needs, Prof. Raina had also co-founded Eklavya, an organisation which has been advocating alternative education for more than two decades and is the only institution whose curriculum was adopted in the school educational system. He also set up the All-India People’s Science Network (AIPSN).
A Homi Bhabha Fellow (1992-94), Prof. Raina was also a fellow of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (1994-1997), and Asia Leadership Fellow (2002) , Japan, in addition to honorary Fellow of the Indian Science Writers Association. He was also associated with the International Council of the World Social Forum and was Fellow and Chair at the Asian Regional Exchange for Alternatives, Seoul.
Prof. Raina worked with the Bhopal Gas Disaster victims and the anti-Narmada dam campaign. He helped conceptualise the Victims of Development project and co-edited the resultant volume, The Dispossessed.
Describing Prof. Raina as a committed educationist and activist who contributed enormously to the expansion of education, political scientist Zoya Hassan said he had worked actively for equity and justice, and ensured that the government passed the RTE Act.