Tuesday, April 30, 2013

RTE: Education forum demands PM's intervention

In view of unsatisfactory progress by schools in meeting the March 31 RTE deadline, an education forum today indicated moving to court for ensuring legal entitlement under the Act and demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in the matter.

RTE Forum, a platform of national education networks and teachers, among others said they would demand that the Prime Minister convenes a meeting of chief ministers to ensure efficient implementation of the RTE Act.

The forum's suggestion came after a stock-taking review conducted by it in about 2700 schools spread across 17 states found that five per cent of schools still run in single classroom while 22 per cent do not have safe drinking water.

"We want the Prime Minister to call a meeting of the chief ministers and ask them to come up with a road map and conduct review meeting every six months for proper implementation of the Act.

"We do not have enough allocation for RTE implementation. Government should show the commitment," convenor of the forum Ambarish Rai said.

His comments came a day after HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju ruled out extending the deadline at the CABE meeting even as both Congress and non-Congress ruled states were in favour of extension.

Spelling out several parameters where the schools were found lacking, Rai did not rule out the possibility of "going to court".

He said "non-fulfilment of the rights is a violation of fundamental right and protection of Constitution is the responsibility of the judiciary" and demanded setting up of a monitoring committee under the court for looking into implementation of the provisions under the Act.

"There is a lot to be done to improve the scenario in many states Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where only a small percentage of schools have separate toilets for girls," the forum said in its report.

Talking about discrimination in classes against girl child, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and children with disability, it claimed they were not being allowed to sit on benches and not given leadership roles in classrooms.

"Further, private schools which are fulfilling the norms under the Act are charging hefty fees from the students," Rai said.

Reserving 25 per cent of seats for the weaker section in classrooms was not being properly followed by these schools, he said.

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