Sunday, March 16, 2014

Only 8 Percent of Schools are RTE Complaint: RTE Forum Report

Only 8 Percent of Schools are RTE Complaint: RTE Forum Report

NEW DELHI, India, 13 March 2014- Political parties in India need to make education a prime issue on their agendas, panellists said at the inaugural session of the “4th National Stocktaking Convention on Right to Education Implementation” organized today by the RTE Forum in Delhi.
While acknowledging some improvements in implementation of the Act, participants lamented the slow progress in the implementation of basic RTE norms in the majority of schools in India.
The convention, attended by eminent academicians, Civil Society Organisations, UNICEF and Save the Children, called for greater efforts from State Governments, educationists and civil society organizations to support the implementation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education to fulfil the vision of an equitable and quality education for all.
Setting the context to the debate, Mr. Ambarish Rai, Convenor of the RTE Forum expressed serious concern about the lack of initiative from state governments to adhere to RTE norms. “At the current rate of progress, we will take another 100 years to comply with the RTE norms,” he said while adding that the upcoming elections offer an excellent opportunity to advocate with political parties to include quality education in schools as key part of the manifesto.
Anjela Taneja, from Oxfam, shared key finding from the Report on the status of the implementation of the RTE Act. “There has been progress in some areas. For example, there are additional 43,668 schools, 700,460 classrooms and 546,513 toilets. Schools compliant with pupil teacher ratio represent now 45.3 per cent and 88.37 per cent of schools have School Management Committee and there is a big dip in the number of teachers on contracts from 12.19 to 7.20 per cent,” explained Angela.
“However, only 8 per cent schools in India comply with all 10 schedule of RTE norms. No Indian state implemented RTE in totality and not a single district in Indian is 100 per cent RTE complaint,” continued Anjela.
In his address, Country Representative to UNICEF in India, Mr. Louis Georges Arsenault, emphasised that along with taking stock of the gaps and challenges, it is pertinent to look at the exemplary initiatives undertaken by various states that can show the way forward in overcoming challenges and addressing concerns at the ground level.
“We have seen tremendous progress in the last four years in term of inputs to universalise access to elementary education resulting in more than 99 per cent enrolment of children. Significant resource allocation and systemic reforms on the recent past portray hope and optimism,” stated Mr. Arsenault after which he stated that despite the remarkable progress, many problematic challenges remain to deliver the promise of quality education for all children.
“It is crucial to make education a justiciable right at all levels by extension of RTE to cover preschool and secondary education for ensuring seamless transition of children and improving school completion rates,” concluded Mr. Arsenault.


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