Saturday, April 20, 2013

Only 7% of schools meet RTE deadline

Only 7% of schools meet RTE deadline

DC | Darshana Ramdev | 31st Mar 2013
Bengaluru: Today, the deadline for compliance with the infrastructure requirements of the Right to Education Act expires, but astoundingly, only 7 per cent of schools across the country meet the eligibility criteria. This means that over 3,00,000 private schools across the country are looking at closure once the deadline has passed, according to the Act. This means that nearly five crore students will be out of school.
According to details pub­l­ished by the NGO, RTE Forum, most states will miss the deadline. There is also a severe shortage of teachers, with 11 lakh vac­a­ncies out of the required 52 lakh nationwide. Besi­des, about 20% of the total available faculty is under-qualified for the job.
The RTE Act demands certain criteria to be met by schools, which inclu­des, apart from the optimum student-teacher ratio, infrastructure such as adequate drinking water, toilets, stipulated working days, instruction hours and also the establishment of school management committees.
The norms for drinking water have been complied with for the most part, with about 94% of schools making adequate provisions. However, about 36% of schools don’t have separate toilets for girls and about 40% still don't have ramps for children with disabilities.
What makes matters even worse than they already are is the fact is that there has been a decrease in the number of schools complying with RTE norms from 2011 to the end of 2012. According to the recently released PAISA 2012 report, put together by Accountab­ility Initiative which is part of the NGO Pratham, the percentage of schools with a shortfall in classrooms has remained at 47% over two years now. Playgrounds, boundary walls and libraries are also among the norms that have been greatly neglected by the States.
These abysmal figures still stand, despite a 52% increase in the number of students under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan – the central government's flagship programme for the universalisation of elem­entary education, as mandated by the fundamental right to free and compulsory education for children.

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