States fail to meet RTE deadline

Less than 12 percent schools across the country are RTE Act compliant

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | April 2, 2013



The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which is responsible for monitoring of the right to education (RTE) Act, has analysed data of 320 districts across the country to see where states stand after three years’ of the implementation of the Act.

The RTE Act came into force on April 1, 2010 and gave three years to schools to comply with its norms of having sufficient number of teachers, proper classrooms, toilets and supply of drinking water.

It has been three years now but every state is missing the deadline due to funds crunch.

“There are issues in the implementation of the Act. Now when there is a drastic cut in the fundings, states like Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh will suffer the most,” says Dhir Jhingran, National coordinator of right to education, NCPCR.

The commission is taking up issues with individual states depending on their needs. “In Orissa, we have taken up issues of large-scale migration. In Jharkhand, there are problems in RTE implementation on all fronts – teacher appointment, delay in supply of text books, no special training, and no continuous comprehension evaluation. We have come out with a report on this. The state government has started taking it seriously,” says Jhingran.

There is a similar report on Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh as the commission found many complaints from the district.

“There are issues of proxy teachers, teachers absent from schools, poor quality of midday meal,” says Jhingran adding, “Our agenda is to make these reports available widely and then take up the issues with the state government.”

What has not happened almost anywhere, according to the commission, is special training (of out of school children to admit them in age appropriate classrooms). “Some states have issued notification, prepared the material but the training never happened anywhere,” says Jhingran.

Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation is in a complete chaos everywhere. Jhingran says people do not know what it is and what needs to be done.

“Basically it’s a guideline to say that teachers should work on assessing students on a regular basis rather than during the examination at the end of the academic year. No state has issued a proper guideline on this. Even at the national level, NCERT has just prepared the programme,” he adds.

Also, no state has given attention to the most marginalised group like the migrated children. On other infrastructural issues like classrooms, toilets, drinking water, states are on different level of completion and it will take them a year or two to complete the task.

“Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa have huge backlogs in teachers’ appointment, which they have committed to do in a year. But the bigger problem is the quality of training that these new teachers are given. They are being trained in open distance learning mode because we don’t have enough training institutions,” says Jhingran.

The training programme is either being done by IGNOU or by state open schools. “The training is of poor quality,” he adds.

Teacher absenteeism is a big issue in many states, including Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The commission is also ready with the social audit report on the implementation of the RTE Act and would soon release it. It aims to make the audit institutionalised like that in the MNREGA. The commission has proposed to the MHRD to fund the audit through SSA. It is also promoting the annual school audit system, where the panchayats would audit every school once a year and produce a simple report on where the school stands as per the RTE provisions and put it in public space.

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