Friday, 12 April 2013

RTE has failed to impart quality education: report

A report on RTE suggests that the government adopt the model followed in Gujarat

Sahil Makkar 

First Published: Thu, Mar 28 2013. 11 16 PM IST

RTE is seen as one of three key flagship social programmes of the union government. Photo: Abhjit Bhatlekar/ Mint


New Delhi: With the deadline to enforce the Right to Education (RTE) across India expiring in two days, a group of for-profit and non-profit organisations on Thursday released a critical analysis of the programme and suggested that the government adopt the model followed in Gujarat.

"Three years since the passage of the RTE Act, an ever-increasing number of children have access to education. Yet, a large and growing amount of data points to the fact that student learning levels are unacceptably low, and that improving schooling inputs have had a very limited impact on improving learning outcomes," said the 22-member group, which includes organisations such as Accountability Initiative and Centre for Civil Society.

"The RTE's focus on inputs to education rather than on learning outcomes of students may ensure that children are in school, but is unlikely to result in them getting a meaningful education," it added.

The Act, often referred to by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as one of the key achievements of its second term, has failed to keep pace with the schedule of implementation. The deadline expires on 31 March.

RTE is seen as one of three key flagship social programmes of the union government, the other two being the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the National Rural Health Mission.

Ashish Dhawan of the Central Square Foundation said that due to non-compliance with RTE norms such as infrastructure and teachers' salaries, around 300,000 budget schools, accessed by around 40-50 million students, face the threat of closure.

"This is completely counterproductive... We therefore call for an approach to private school regulation based on transparency and disclosure of audited performance metrics as opposed to inputs. The approach outlined in Gujarat's model rules of recognizing private schools based on meeting performance standards is (a) path-breaking model to follow," the report said.

The government has already refused to extend the deadline to enforce RTE norms against demand for this by at least 13 states.


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