Sunday, April 14, 2013

Govt clears air over RTE, says ‘no-fail’ misinterpreted

Govt clears air over RTE, says ‘no-fail’ misinterpreted

Shreya Bhandary, TNN Aug 1, 2012, 10.24AM IST

MUMBAI: Two years after the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, confusion among schools and parents over its nuances forced the education department to clear the air.
"The RTE Act clearly states that no board exams can be conducted till class VIII, school exams were never mentioned in the Act," said Sanjay Deshmukh, director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The SSA held meetings with school principals and at the same time, issued circulars to explain various aspects of the Act.

State education minister Rajendra Darda told TOI, "We realised even some education officials had doubts about certain clauses of the RTE, so we conducted workshops for our officials in every region." A session was conducted on July 20 at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai.
Educationists agreed that the confusion over the RTE's implementation was due to lack of proper awareness among the general public. "RTE is a very comprehensive Act and in the past two years, the government has not done enough to spread awareness, " said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education. He said a number of Government Resolutions only left schools confused. "The entire focus was on 'no-fail' policy and the 25% reservation for underprivileged children, everything else was ignored all this while," he added.
Schools are also blaming parents for students failing in class IX. "More than students, parents have started taking education very lightly. They are under the impression that their kids will be promoted to the next class. When it comes to class IX, they expect schools to promote their children again. Why are schools being blamed? We are only following rules," said the principal of a suburban school.
Times View
Follow RTE in spirit
The Right To Education Act should be followed in spirit rather than in letter. It's true schools have a tough job, having to follow all the new rules while trying to hold on to their brand value by getting brilliant results in board examinations. But, in all this, schools need to remember their first responsibility is to their students. Being fair to students should always be the priority.

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