Right to Educate
LET ALL AVAIL AND LET THERE BE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL CHILDREN, RICH OR POOR. TEACHERS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY, WRITES MUHAMMAD ALTAF
On Thursday-1 April 2010, the Right to Education Act came into force with Doordarshan telecasting the Prime Minister's address to the nation. Simultaneously, private channels showed a gripping one-minute film — 'Roll Call' — directed by actor Nandita Das focusing on children doing odd jobs when they should be in school. There are approximately 92 lakh out of school children in the country.
Amidst the euphoria, HRD ministry is preparing the note for the Expenditure Finance Committee seeking 65:35 funding pattern for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which is being touted as the main vehicle for implementing RTE. "Creating a separate funding for RTE per se would result in duplication of work. Therefore, we are seeking change in the current funding pattern of SSA, that is 55:45 between the Centre and states," an official said.
HRD is not seeking any specific amount now though the total requirement of RTE for five years has been worked out to Rs 1.71 lakh crore. Teachers will be at the core of implementation of RTE that seeks to work towards a heterogeneous and democratic classroom where all children participate as equal partners. There are 57 lakh teacher posts at primary and upper primary level.
Currently, more than 5.23 lakh teacher posts are vacant. To bring the pupil-teacher ratio to 30:1 as prescribed by the RTE Act, 5.1 lakh additional teachers are required. Already, there are 5.1 lakh schools with a pupil-teacher ratio of more than 30:1. On top of that 5.48 lakh untrained teachers at the primary and 2.25 lakh at upper primary level have to acquire necessary qualification within five years of the RTE Act coming into force.
The states with high percentage of untrained teachers and inadequate teacher education capacity are: Assam (55.13% untrained teachers), Bihar (45.5%), Chhattisgarh (31.32%), J&K (43.34%), Jharkhand (32.16%), Uttar Pradesh (25.87%) and West Bengal (32.15%). States like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand have very low percentage of untrained teachers. They also have adequate capacity for teacher education.
To ensure 25% reservation for children from disadvantaged and weaker sections, schools will have to disclose the lists of children taken in this category as well as ensure that diversity is maintained. The model rules already say that the state governments will undertake household surveys and neighbourhood school mapping to ensure that all children are sent to school.
State governments and local bodies will have to establish primary schools within one kilometer of the neighbourhood. For children of class VI to VIII, the school should be within three kilometers of the neighbourhood. In the absence of a school in small hamlets, the state government will have to make adequate arrangement like free transportation and residential facilities. Let’s all work toward implementing this Act for the betterment of our children.
(Muhammad Altaf is Investigator, NSSO (FOD), Ministry of Statistics and PI, Government of India)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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