Wednesday, March 19, 2014

RDPR bodies to be roped in for RTE implementation

RDPR bodies to be roped in for RTE implementation

Published: 26th August 2013 08:28 AM
Last Updated: 26th August 2013 08:28 AM
The Education Department has made its first concrete attempt to rope in Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) bodies to ensure effective implementation and grievance redressal of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, more than a year after it was implemented here.
A proposal in this regard has been presented to the State government to identify Standing Committees for Education and Health of Zilla Panchayat as the local authority at the district level for various sections of the RTE Act and their corresponding duties.
The Taluk Panchayat (TP) Social Justice Committee has been identified at the taluk level for the same.
Till now, the implementation of the RTE rested with officials of the Education Department, such as Block Education Officers (BEOs), Deputy Directors of Public Instruction (DDPIs) and the School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs).
“There was confusion about the definition and jurisdiction of the local authority under the RTE Act. These committees will also receive complaints and address grievances as per Section 32 of the RTE Act,” said Subodh Yadav, State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
According to the proposal, the Zilla Panchayat Standing Committees on Education and Health will be responsible for providing free and compulsory elementary education to every child, ensuring availability of neighbourhood schools and non-discrimination of children from weaker sections. The Committees will also monitor admissions, attendance and completion of education, provision of infrastructure and  free transportation to children where no school exists and assure quality at the district level.
The only local authority identified at the Gram Panchayat level is the Civic Amenity Committee, which is supposed to maintain records of children up to the age of 14, ensure admission of migrant children and monitor functioning of schools in villages.
“The time frame for grievance redressal and administrative modalities required to support these committees to accept these responsibilities will require association with the RDPR Department at the government level,” Yadav said.
He added that the members of the  Committees would also require training on Right to Education Act. 
‘Lesson Learnt’
An official from the RDPR Secretariat pointed out that education is one of the 29 subjects handled by the Zilla Panchayat bodies.
“This is the first time we will be approached to specifically include RTE. We are very interested in this proposal,” the official said.
Many programmes of the Union government, such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and National Rural Health Mission, are implemented through a parallel structure headed by Deputy Commissioners (DCs).
“Perhaps, this is a lesson learnt. There is a need to involve these bodies in matters such as education. Over the last few years, many responsibilities have been taken away from the Standing Committees only to be implemented through the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs),” the official added.

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