Friday, 12 April 2013

Study by RTE Forum shows states are far behind meeting RTE targets

Shreya Roy Chowdhury, TNN Apr 11, 2013, 03.23PM IST

NEW DELHI: The numbers only confirm what everyone already knows - we are nowhere near achieving the standards of education and education-infrastructure envisioned in the RTE Act.

A status report on RTE Act implementation across the country by RTE forum -- an umbrella organization of over a 1000 NGOs working in education -- released in Delhi on Wednesday show that less than half the schools have separate toilets for girls; only 61.34% have undertaken child-mapping (less than 40% have registers to show for it); 5% are operating from single rooms and 7% still don't have blackboards.

The report, covering 17 states (excluding Delhi) and over 2000 schools - government (1648), government-aided (287) and private-unaided (256) - is based on primary and secondary data collected from November, 2012 to January, 2013. While progress has been made on meeting some norms - 77% comply with neighbourhood ones, 79% schools have "all-weather" buildings and 80% claim to have teaching-learning material - a lot needs to be done to meet some of the others. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have most of the schools surveyed that are still without functional blackboards; the "last child" - migrants and nomads - are still out of the system with 41% schools not including them in the child-mapping exercise; 58% have playgrounds and 55%, libraries. Though the numbers are small, there are still schools that don't allow dalits, adivasis, Muslims and differently-abled pupils to sit on benches. And as Vinod Raina, member, Central Advisory Board of Education, points out, there's "no grievance redressal system in this."

Educationists attending the RTE forum's stock-taking convention where the report was released, say that it's time the civil society started taking violators to court. Former NCERT director Krishna Kumar had suggested preparation of state and district reports; Raina suggested taking that data to the courts. He said activists and civil society should stop treating RTE as a "non-justiciable policy." He also informed participants of the convention, that CABE has suggested to the government that they make three committees to help in the next three months, with creating a roadmap for the next two years (we have to have a universal professionally-trained teachers' force by March 2015).

The forum's own demands include the allocation of 6% of GDP to education; extending the RTE Act to include early childhood care and education; protecting schools from privatization; creation of "democratically constituted School Management Committees in every school that'll have full powers; and revamping of teacher-education as well as governance structure.


Only 61.34% schools have undertaken child-mapping; 39.6% maintain a register of child mapping; 41% do not include migrants and nomads in mapping.

Of the total, primary and upper primary, 77% comply with neighbourhood norms as per the RTE Act.

79% have all weather buildings; 5% operate in single classrooms: 7% (mostly schools of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) still do not have functional black boards.

Only 77.8% have drinking water; 68.8% have kitchen for mid-day meals.

53% don't have separate toilets for girls (less than half the schools in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajashtan and West Bengal have toilets for girls).

Only 9.2% have CWSN (Children with Special Needs)-friendly toilets; 40% have ramps with handrails.

25% still have para teachers; 10% had sub contract/proxy teachers.

56.6% schools in the primary and upper primary schools follow the respective RtE norms of 1:30 and 1:35 (teacher-student ratio) respectively.


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