Saturday, January 25, 2014

Study on implementation of right to education in Gujarat

Study on implementation of right to education in Gujarat

By TCN News,
Ahmedabad: Janvikas and other partner organizations Parwaaj, Sahyog and Niswan are working for the issues of education under the aegis of Jan Adhikar Manch. This forum is active in 8 districts with an objective to implement the “Right to Education Act. 2009” in eight districts of Gujarat.
There were an estimated eight million 6-14 years old in India out of school in 2009. Education is a fundamental right enshrined under the Article 21 of the Constitution. The Right to Education Act is a landmark Act as it tends to bring the neighborhood school concept and infrastructure development in ratio with children and teachers. Moreover, the constitution of School Management Committee (SMC) is a significant feature in the Act. The role of the School Management Committee is to plan, implement, and monitor school development plans.
A study on various parameters of Right to Education-2009 was undertaken by Janvikas and partner organizations in 506 Government schools of eight districts of Gujarat (Ahmedabad, Anand, Kheda, Kutch, Mehsana, Panchmahal, Sabarkantha, Vadodara).
The parameters selected were:
1. Pupil to Teacher Ratio (PTR)
2. Pupil to Room Ratio (PRR)
3. Sitting arrangements/quantity/cooking facilities for Mid Day Meals
4. Drinking water facilities
5. Sanitation facilities
6. Computer facilities
7. Library facilities
8. Facilities for differently abled
9. Separate toilets for girls and boys
10. Existence of School Management Committee
11. Members selected/elected by parents
12. Decisions taken by SMC
The schools were selected on the basis of their location in the operational area of Janvikas and its partner organizations such as Niswan, Parwaaj, Vikas, Sahyog and some individuals, interested in the field of education. There were 23 investigators involved in the survey of 506 schools. Out of the 506 schools surveyed 168 schools had Standard I-V and 338 schools had Standard I-VIII.
Segregation of Schools
Name of the District Number of Schools
Ahmedabad 108
Anand 35
Kheda 15
Kutch 50
Mehsana 30
Panchmahal 146
Sabarkatha 90
Vadodara 32
Total 506
Findings of the study
1. Pupil Teacher Ratio
The schools in class I-V not adhering to the People Teacher Ratio as prescribed by the RTE Act 2009 ranges from 37% in Anand to 100% in Kheda while in schools having Class I-VIII it ranges from 13% in Vadodara to 55% in Ahmedabad. This indicates an acute shortage of teachers in Government schools. As observed in some schools, a single teacher handles as high as 80 students in a class. The absence of subject teachers results in lack of understanding of mathematics, science and social science. This forces the parents to shift their children to private educational institutions paying hefty tuition fees which they cannot afford. On the other hand there are graduates and post-graduates in rural areas who are not employed and can be motivated and trained to fill in this gap.
2. Pupil Room Ratio
The schools having class I-V not adhering to the Pupil Room Ratio as prescribed by the RTE Act 2009, ranges from 57% in Ahmedabad to 100% in Kutch and Kheda. While the schools having Class I-VIII not adhering to the Pupil Room Ratio ranges from 17% in Vadodara to 87% in Sabarkantha. As observed in the study, all the districts face inadequacy in number of class-rooms especially in Std. I-V wherein the teachers handle two standards in one class-room. This deters the students from attending school and at the same time makes it difficult for the teachers to give quality inputs.
While the State is at the forefront of infrastructure and industrial development, development of infrastructure for schools also needs to be given a priority. This will go a long way in creating a comfortable environment for both students and teachers.
3. Separate sheds for Mid Day Meal and seating arrangements for the same
The Supreme Court directed the State Governments to:
“Implement the Mid Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted primary schools with a prepared mid-day meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days. These Government schools and Government assisted schools should provide hot cooked food to the children.
The study looked at three parameters namely:
i. Whether a separate shed was provided by the school for cooking mid day meal.
ii. Whether children received mid day meals in adequate proportion
iii. The seating arrangement of children during mid-day meals.
It was found that 4% (Panchmahal) to 22% (Anand) of the schools did not have separate sheds for the mid-day meal scheme. Inadequate seating arrangements were found in 6% (Ahmedabad) to 67% (Mehsana) schools.
4 Access to clean drinking water and sanitation
The issue of provision of drinking water was addressed in 88% of the 506 schools surveyed. However in Kutch about 30% of the schools did not have adequate facilities for drinking water. In a majority of the cases quality of water was the major issue. Drinking water was stored in tanks without any purification. There was no system in place of getting the tanks cleaned regularly. The area around the water tank was dirty as there was no proper outlet for the excess water to drain away properly. Many times children washed their plates at the same water tank due to lack of facility to wash their dishes after MDM
Similarly while 96% of the 506 schools surveyed had toilets, as far as the usage goes the ratio is far lower due to ill-equipped toilets and their designs.
•The toilet blocks are not a part of the main school building. This makes it difficult
for children to use them during monsoon.
•In a majority of the cases the urinals are open from the top and have only half
partitions. There are no doors and no roof in large number urinals of the schools. This is not safe and would deter older children, especially girls from using such toilets.
•A large number of toilets were found locked. So the toilets were not useable. The structure of the urinal is inappropriate as there is no hole in the ground; it had a flat surface, no flushing system and no provision of water, hence it is unhygienic and difficult to keep clean.
•There is no provision of toilets for differently abled children.2
•Kutch district has 100% separate toilets in the 50 schools surveyed. In the schools of Khavda, there is no water in the school or in the village. The toilets once used have never been cleaned or used again, as a result a large number of schools have kept their toilets locked.
5. Availability and use of computers in schools
Ninety percent of the 338 schools having Std. I-VIII had computers. Some of the schools did not have teachers to teach computers and therefore the schools had to rely on a computer teacher who came from neighborhood schools. In some of the schools, the number of computers was not in proportionate to number of children as a result all children could not get time to practice on the same.
6 Library in schools
A library is a place where a child should be motivated for reading, should be encouraged to use the space for broadening his/her horizon, increasing general knowledge and in developing an in-depth understanding of various subjects.
Out of the 506 schools surveyed, 67% of the schools had library facilities. However, Mehsana district tops the chart with 63% having no library facilities followed by Panchmahal district 52%.
7 Other infrastructural facilities:
1-The RTE Act-2009 mandates that every school is supposed to have a play ground. The play ground is meant for physical development of children and in tapping their athletic abilities. Almost 50% of the schools in Anand district do not have a playground. Similarly 34% schools in Vadodara and 33% in Kheda do not have playgrounds. Some schools that have playgrounds that can’t be used in monsoons as they fill up with water; this becomes a health hazard as it becomes a breeding ground for diseases.
2-The RTE ACT-2009 has given strictures that Government primary schools should have compound wall around their schools. This compound wall is to give safety and security to the students and teachers of the schools and the property of the schools. The compound wall also ascertains the boundary of the school.
Out of the 506 schools surveyed 88% of the schools had compound walls, while 12% of the schools did not have compound walls. Anand district topped the chart with 37% followed by Kutch 26%. In some of the schools, the compound walls were so low that people from outside used to jump from outside and use the school premise for sleeping. Therefore, such school would be unsafe for students.
3-The RTE Act -2009 has laid norms that schools should provide the Head teacher with a separate room. This is because the Head teacher is supposed to do administrative work. Out of 506 schools surveyed, 51% of the schools had a separate office for the Head Teacher while 48%of the schools did not have a separate office and information was not available from 1% of the schools. Sabarkantha tops the chart with 77% schools not having a separate office for the Head teacher followed by Vadodara with 63% schools.

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