Thursday, January 23, 2014

Odisha govt makes a mockery of Right to Education

Odisha govt makes a mockery of Right to Education

Minati Singha, TNN Apr 10, 2013, 02.59AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The state has done poorly as far as implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act is concerned, say educationists. Even after the completion of the three-year deadline set by the Supreme Court for implementation of RTE on April 1, problems persist pertaining to student-teacher ratio, infrastructure, availability of trained teachers, education in mother tongue, etc.
"The ambitious RTE Act is a big failure in the state as only 8% school follows the guidelines in Odisha, as per the District Information System of Education survey by the government," said Anil Pradhan, convenor of RTE Forum, an organization of educationists, civil society groups and teachers' associations.
The forum organized a two-day stock taking convention on implementation of RTE in Odisha on Tuesday.
Poor teacher-student ratio has been the most marked failure as far as implementation of the Act is concerned. While the recommended ratio is 30:1 up to class 5, 17% schools in the state have only one teacher and 46 % schools have just two teachers. "In 2011, the government has decided to recruit 20,000 sikhya sahayaks, but that has not been done yet," Pradhan added.
According to a sample survey conducted by the forum, nearly 80% schools in the state do not have separate toilets for girls while 89% schools don't have toilets for boys. Around 80% schools don't have playgrounds while 50% schools don't have boundary wall. The survey also revealed that in 50% schools mid-day meal menu is regularly not followed while about 25% schools do not have safe kitchen sheds for mid-day meal. In 67% of schools one or more teachers are engaged in non-academic activities while 16% primary schools and 62% upper primary school do not have full-time qualified teachers.
"After discussing with different stake holders like school management committee members, teachers and parents, we felt there is no road map for proper implementation of the act in government level. The state has done little to publicize the Act and make people aware of their rights. And the schools are taking advantage of it," said Sanjay Kumar Raul, a member of school management comminttee.

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