RTE implemented; Challenges still remain

Last Updated: Friday, April 2, 2010 - 00:15

New Delhi: With the Right To Education Act
coming into force today, government faces a number of
challenges in its implementation, especially availability of
teachers and setting up of neighbourhood schools.


There is a shortage of nearly five lakh teachers while
there are about three lakh untrained teachers at elementary
stage.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education
Act, which came into effect from today, says there should be
one teacher for every 30 students at elementary level.


At present, there are about seven lakh teachers in all the
1.29 million recognised elementary schools in the country. Of
them, nearly three lakh teachers are either untrained or
under-trained.


The model rules for the Act say that state governments and
local authorities will establish schools within walking
distance of one km of the neighbourhood. In case of children
for Class VI to VIII, the school should be within a walking
distance of three km of the neighbourhood.

Shortage of teachers and neighbourhood schools are the
major challenges for implementation of the Act, a ministry
source said.


In case of schools not having trained teachers, they will
have to comply with the provision within five years.


As per the new law, the schools need to have certain
minimum facilities like adequate teachers, playground and
infrastructure.


As per the model rules, the local bodies and the state
governments will undertake household surveys and neighbourhood
school mapping to ensure that all children are sent to school.


Besides, there are thousands of students who are working
as child labourers. Providing education to such kids,
including the children of sex workers, will be a challenge,
the source said.


At present, nearly 92 lakh children have either dropped
out from schools or have never been to any educational
institution. It will be binding on part of the local and state
governments to ensure that all these children are brought back
to schools.


The implementation of the Act would require Rs 1.71 lakh
crore for the next five years. The sharing of funds between
the Centre and the state governments could be in the ratio of
55-45, the source said.


A proposal to this effect will go to the Expenditure
Finance Committee soon before it goes to the Cabinet. The
Finance Commission has provided Rs 25,000 crore to the states
for implementation of the Act over five years.


HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has already written to the states
to join the mission for the national enterprise of education.


Their feedback is positive, the source said.


According to sources, the state governments are seeking 90
per cent funding from the Centre for implementing the Act.


The government is in the process of revising the norms of
Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to make it compatible with RTE
norms. The SSA will be the vehicle for implementation of RTE.


The Act mandates that even private educational
institutions have to reserve 25 per cent seats for children
from weaker sections.


However, it will be implemented from next year from
class one.


Certain schools have already challenged the law in the
Supreme Court as being "unconstitutional" and violating
fundamental rights of unaided private educational
institutions.


However, Sibal has said that legal process would not
affect the implementation of law.


The government is in the process of preparing rules for
the implementation of the Act in the Union Territories. These
will be ready in a few days.

-PTI



First Published: Friday, April 2, 2010 - 00:15

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