Presenting a dismal record of the implementation the Right to Education (RTE) Act on completion of the three-year deadline to comply with the Act’s infrastructure norms and teacher availability, a stock taking report by RTE Forum, a national collective of education networks and teachers’ organisations, has estimated that only 7 per cent of the schools are RTE compliant.
The RTE Stock Taking Report 2013, which was released in the Delhi today, is based on a study conducted across 17 states and 2700 government and private schools as well as on secondary information from civil society organisations working on the field in various states.
Speaking to Firstpost, Ambarish Rai, National Convener, RTE Forum said, “The government's view is that the compliance of schools of RTE norms is around 10 percent. But as per our assessment, RTE compliance is around 7 percent. This assessment is based on the combined findings of the study and secondary information gathered from various states."
Issues, identified by the report, where action has been slow are ‘adequate financing, regulation of private providers, teacher recruitment, improving quality of teacher training institutes, setting up of transparency systems and redressal mechanism.”
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or the RTE Act, which came into force on 1 April, 2010 set a three year deadline to meet all norms except for the target of teacher training (for which the deadline is 31 March, 2015)
In a scenario where 8 million children are of out of school, a key requirement of the RTE Act — that of identifying out of school children, known as child mapping — the study finds, has been undertaken in 61 percent of the schools. Of these, however, only 40 percent of the schools kept a record or register of child mapping.
On the quality of infrastructure, the study states, "In India, one of the major reasons for poor education and learning outcome is the lack of sufficient school infrastructure in many parts of the country. A good number of schools still function in single or two room buildings with one teacher along with lack of other basic training infrastructure including teaching material." As per the study, seven percent of the schools did not have black-boards and five percent functioned from single classrooms.
On the achievements made, the study highlights that 79 percent of the schools had all weather buildings and 77 percent of the schools complied with neighbourhood norms. (The National Model Rules on Right to Education lay down that there should be one primary school within 1 km reach and one upper-primary school within 3km reach).
Nearly 58 percent of the schools reported having playgrounds and 55 percent having libraries.
Drinking water, considered an important factor in attracting and retaining children in school, was available in 77.8 percent of the schools, as per the study. However, only 53 percent of the schools reported having separate toilets for girls.
With teacher vacancy hovering at 12 lakh, shortage of teachers remains a serious concern. As per the study, only a little more than half of the schools complied with the Pupil Teacher Ratio as laid down by the RTE act. (The Act prescribes a pupil teacher ratio of 1 teacher for 30 students in primary school and 1 teacher for 35 students on upper primary).
Highlighting the prevalence of social exclusion in schools, the study finds that the most predominant form of discrimination was not being allowed to sit on benches "which varied for Dalits (9.4 percent), Adivasi (5 percent), Muslim (7.3 percent) and children with special needs (7.7 percent).
The forum will submit a memorandum highlighting the key findings to the Prime Minister’s office on 4 April.
Updated Date: Apr 03, 2013 18:52 PM