Right to Education (RTE)

youthkiawaaz

 

Right to Education (RTE)

  1. 86th Constitution Amendment Act, 2002
    • Inserted Art. 21-A
    • This made free and compulsory education of children in the 6 to 14 age group in India a fundamental right.
  2. RTE Act, 2010
    • Is the legislation to enforce Art. 21-A

 

3 promising features of the Act have remained latent

  1. The Act obliged the state, i.e. State governments and panchayats, to ensure that each child is brought into the schooling system and also “retained” for eight years.
    • Though the ‘enrolment’ effort has been appreciable, the ‘retention’ part has been poorly managed. 
      • Therefore, the problem now is more about dropouts than children who were never enrolled.
    • Way forward 
      • Strategies to ensure retention need to change from the earlier approach of enrolling the un-enrolled. As children out of the fold of schooling are the most hard to reach, such as girls, the disabled, orphans and those from single parent families, the solutions have to be localised and contextualised.
  2. The most critical requirement, which has also got the least public attention, is the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR)
    • According to the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) database 2015-16, 33% of the schools in the country did not have the requisite number of teachers, as prescribed in the RTE norms, for PTR at the school level.
      • The percentage of schools that were PTR-compliant varied from 100% in Lakshadweep to 16.67% in Bihar.
    • All other forward-looking provisions of the Act such as continuous assessment, a child learning at her own pace, and ‘no detention’ policy are contingent on a school with an adequate number of teachers.
      • No meaningful teaching-learning is possible unless trained teachers are physically present at school.
      • States shy away from recruiting or posting more teachers keeping in mind higher salaries and finances, but PTR at the school level is the most critical of all inputs.
    • Way forward
      •  Teacher provisioning should be the first option to fund as no educationally developed country has built up a sound schooling foundation without a professionally-motivated teaching cadre in place.
      • In States with an adequate overall number of teachers, their positioning or posting requires rationalisation according to the number of students.
  3. The academic calendar is to be decided by the local authority, which, for most States and Union Territories, is the panchayat.
    1. This was done in order to respect the vast cultural diversity of the country.
      • Not all festivals and State holidays declared by the the State headquarters may be locally relevant.
    2. For inexplicable reasons, the educational bureaucracy has not allowed the decentralisation of academic schedules even in districts.
      • This defeats the whole purpose of the law.
    3. Way forward
      • Ensure that the local authorities get to decide the academic calender.
      • This would not only exponentially increase attendance and learning outcomes but also inspire the local authorities to take ownership of their schools.