New Delhi: With the deadline for meeting RTE obligations ending Sunday, government ruled out any extension maintaining that 90 per cent of the schools have met required norms.
HRD Minister M M Pallam also appeared to dismiss fears of schools risking the threat of being closed down for lagging behind when he said that there were government schools also which were lagging behind in meeting infrastructure norms such as classrooms, libraries, toilets and disable friendly campuses.
"Enrolment figure is 96 per cent consistently for the last few years. In terms of infrastructure, it is 90 per cent and even in terms of toilets, it is 90 per cent except for a few states," he told reporters here, though he said that the main challenge was bridging the shortfall of teachers.
"What I would like to appreciate is the collective will demonstrated by the states and Centre to meet the RTE deadline and everybody has worked very hard on it. But of course there are unfinished work which we are working on," he said.
He said the aim of the government is to ensure a holistic learning environment for the children in keeping with the provision of the RTE Act and there would be no dilution in this fundamental right.
The RTE Act providing free and compulsory education to children in the age group of 6 to 14 came into effect from April 1, 2010. A three-year timeline was stipulated to ensure that all schools meet the norms as mandatory by the Act.
Schools which have failed to meet the norms face the threat of being closed down.
Government had last week ruled out extending the deadline beyond March 31 for schools to meet RTE requirements even as it conceded that many states were lagging behind.