Friday, April 19, 2013

RTE in web: A story of its implementation since enactment

RTE in web: A story of its implementation since enactment

PATNA - The Right to Education act was enacted on April 1, 2010, officially with a dream to bring the country’s school education on track. But it seems a farce after one and half years since its enactment. Teachers recruitment is yet to begin and only announcements are offered by government so far. Central govt. has directed state govt. to implement RTE in next three years since its enactment. One and half years has already passed in vain, keeping state govt. 'amused' with the data of 98 per cent increment in enrollment ratios, but ignoring the fact of 46 per cent dropout ratio!
Ambrish Rai, a Delhi based social activist and Gen. secretary of PCCSS is right in pointing the serious fundamental deficiencies. RTE act whatever form has come at this juncture after a century long struggle, beginning with demand of universalisation of education by GK Gokhale in imperial parliament in 1912. RTE act doesn’t institute the policy of Common School System, as promised in successive educational policies of 1968 and 1986. One can’t ignore the existing truth of increasing the gap between expectation and achievement after mid-term review since enactment of RTE.  
Following is a small effort to peep into the reality of state’s tall claims.      
A student of class VI, Karan Kumar, is studying in a govt. school, located at Mainpura, in the heart of the capital city Patna. A 13 yrs old boy appealed emotionally that his five class rooms are overcrowded, adjusting the students of seven classes. The most classes have no window, a night like situation prevailed if the bright sun would not appear. There is need of electricity in his school. He and his classmates do not feel well after eating poor quality of rice and watery pulse. one can easily guess the situation of govt. schools of country side.
Rajdeep Yadav, 11 yrs, of Benipatti Panchayat of Darbhanga district says many times rotten rice being used for khichadi. No one is there to check this misdeed at our school. ‘It is better to scrap this scheme and provide what students want to eat’ he said with an intelligent smile.
Madhhu Kumari, 12 yrs old girl, from Madhubani district claimed that teachers are not regular, so she avoids going school.
Aarti Kumari, 12 yrs, studying in class III, a mahadalit girl from Nawada district says her school has eight rooms, a handpump facility, and mid-day meal scheme (MDMS) is running properly but school doesn’t have toilet facility for girls. ‘It is matter of great embarrassment during nature’s call’ she said hesitatingly.
Poonam Kumara of Class V and Pawan Kumar of class IV of Baada Madhya Vidyalaya, of Gaya district said there were only eight benches in classroom for forty students. Pawan has to sit on ground which makes her dress soiled and her worry is her mother’s scold over dirty uniform. An eloquent Poonam claimed she found nearly 20 times insects in the food which were served to us. Teachers don’t show interest in teaching rather they prefer gossiping.        
Gudiya Kumari of class VII, studying at Rajkiye Madhya Vidyalya, Uchchait in Gaya. She said, there were five rooms for eight classes being handled by only four teachers. The quality of food deteriorated and there was no facility of sports for girls, as boys enjoy their most of time.
Dilfarosh Begum, 12 yrs, is studying in class VI at New Prathmik Vidyalaya in Moiddupur, of Kishangunj district. She revealed another grim picture. There were only two teachers for five hundred students. There is no MDMS facility. ‘It is hard to sit long hours in class room and no facility of separate toilets for girls’ says daughter of farmer.
Md. Chisti, a teacher of Rajkiye Madhya Vidyalya of Madhubani district, said there were only four teachers for eight classes and also no road facility to reach the school. When asked how he manages to control 400 students, he answered calmly! ‘I choose bright students of senior classes like std VII and VIII to teach lower classes. It is the only way to control and manages the school’ says Md Chisti, a 29 yrs old teacher.
A village representative, Vijay Kumar, 40 yrs old, from Motitil village of Munger district, spilled the bean of another genre. He said his village school doesn’t come under Education Dept., but falls under Kalyan (Welfare) dept. There was a two room primary school, with no boundary wall, no toilet facility, and no hand pump. Nearly 250 students name were in attendance register. Single lady teacher comes from Banka district, an adjoining district of Munger, to attend school only four days in a month i.e. one day in a week.    
These tales of students and their suffering is speaking for itself and the apathy of education system and insincerity of state government.
Civil Society and Government
A dozen of civil society groups are also playing its role in formulating policies with govt. at different level. Dr. Vinay Kantha, who has been working on education from last three decades, played a vital role in different capacity with state govt. and central govt.
He, along with other civil society groups, seems irked over the behavior of state govt. This time state govt. has inadequately consulted, generally excluded us from the process of rule making. He says ‘It is half hearted approach of both central and state govt. in introducing new policy and framework regarding education. The state govt. seems adamant not to heed to any suggestions given by civil society. The preparatory rules prepared by state govt. for the implementation of RTE act are like shit of papers!’
It is true that state govt. must do home work before coming with its rule. Budgetary allocation for RTE is grossly inadequate. The backward state like Bihar, which lacks in basic infrastructure like school buildings etc couldn’t sustain this program at its own will. Throwing all blame to central govt. is not justified. The state absorption capacity of central fund is around 50 per cent.
Joint Director of Dept. of Education, Mr. RS Singh, said it is an upheaval task for us to achieve given target in given time frame. We are constructing thirty thousand school buildings which is highest in the country. Our nearest competitor state is UP, which is at 21 thousand. Even, at this pace, we could only construct one lakh in given stipulated time frame of three years.
Though, it can only reduce present Teacher Pupil ratio of 89 to 73, still a way behind of national average of 33. Before 2005, this number was 105.
One can imagine the gravity of situation in ‘shinning Bihar’. The role of community in implementing the RTE is recognized but not implemented, yet. At what extent the state govt. would deliver in next remaining one and half year is not million dollar question. Everyone can easily guess from the larger picture.

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