RTE completes 2 yrs but a lot needs to be done

There are still millions of children who are out-of school and involved in child labour


Jasleen Kaur | April 3, 2012

The national RTE forum, a coalition of educationists and civil society organisations, came out with its annual stock-taking report on Tuesday. It highlighted the progress made and constraints that have slowed down the implementation of the act.

There are still millions of children who are out-of school and involved in child labour.

The report, which is a collective of secondary data, shows that 6.7 lakh teachers are untrained and professionally unqualified. "HRD minister on Saturday declared that more than 6 lakh teachers' posts have been created but 6.89 lakh posts are still vacant," said Anjela Taneja from Oxfam India.

The report also showed that 59.4 percent schools fail to meet RTE teacher-pupil ratio of 1:30. Two out of 5 schools exceed the ratio and 90 percent schools in Bihar do not meet the ratio.

The report also highlights that one of 10 teachers are para teachers, while 71 percent teachers in Chhattisgarh are contractual.

"Pupil-teacher ratio is suffering. We need to have an independent body at central and state level which can monitor this aspect," suggested S Eswaran, member of All India Primary Teacher's Federation.

The report also cites DISE data which suggests that 21 percent teachers in schools were not professionally trained. States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Orissa have large pools of unqualified teachers. Also in comparison with 2010, when 91 percent teachers failed to clear the national teacher eligibility test (TET) this year the number stands at 93 percent.

The act lays down a time frame of 3 years i.e by March 31, 2013, all the norms, except the target of teachers training, must be fulfilled. But only 5 percent schools fulfil these norms. As two of five schools lacked functional toilets.

Jayati Ghosh, a professor at centre for economics studies and planning JNU said having resources is the minimum requirement. "If the government is serious in implementing the RTE act it should have invested 6 percent of GDP on education, what UPA promised 8 years back. The government should atleast fulfil that," she said.

She also said that the government has not invested much on teachers' training programme. She said, "It has been completely ignored. Not much money has been put on pre-employment or on job training of teachers."

A draft report on status of the implementation of the act was released by the forum and it asked for suggestions. This report will later be documented. The forum will conduct a mass protest on Wednesday at Jantar Mantar.



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