Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Karnataka: RTE fails to bridge academic gap among students

Bangalore: Even three months after the Government enforced the Right to Education Act (RTE) in the state, an academic divide continues to exist between existing students and the children admitted under the 25 per cent RTE quota. Express visited a school in Nandini Layout that has 43 children admitted to Class 1 under the RTE act. Out of the 11 seats reserved under the Act, only nine were occupied by children coming from the nearby slum of Jai Bhuvaneshwarinagar.
"They have all directly joined class 1 and still find it hard to read or write,” said Sapna (name changed), the class teacher of Class 1. "None of these children have done their LKG and UKG. Also, they are unable to communicate with the other children because they only speak in Urdu."
According to the provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, “The child shall, upon induction into the age appropriate class, after special training, continue to receive special attention from the teacher to enable him to integrate with the rest of the class academically and emotionally.” But schools in the city do not have arrangements for special training mandated under the Act to bring these children on par with others.”
It is difficult for us to dedicate extra time just for these children. We can teach only during school hours,” said Sapna, worrying that only about four out of the nine children will be able to make it to class 2.
When Express consulted Niranjan Aradhya, an education consultant working at Centre for Child and Law, National Law School of India University, he said, “When a student is found to be weak in a subject after an assessment, the teacher of the same subject should give special training to the student before or after the school hours in a way that doesn’t let the kid think he/she is lagging behind in anything and does not affect his/her esteem.”
Devaprakash A, Director for Primary Education assured that a supervisor will soon be appointed to check the progress of the children admitted under the quota. “A bridge course should be put in place so that the children can be taught the essential lessons they missed out because they have not done LKG and UKG,“ he said. He added that action will be taken against schools that do not comply.

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