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Right to Education

  • Right to education act 2009 changed the phase of education in India. Based on the 2017 ASER survey the 14-year-olds are among the first to have benefitted from the RTE Act’s provisions of no-detention and free and compulsory education.
  • As the ASER report shows, a direct consequence of the RTE has been that most tend to continue to stay within the formal education set-up, even after the Act folds up at age 14.

RTE’s implementation challenges:-

  • Issue with notification regarding admissions under RTE:-
  • Five States (Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim and Telangana) have not even issued notifications regarding admissions under the RTE.
  • Private schools:-
    • Section 12(1)(c) of the Act mandates private unaided schools to reserve 25% of seats for children from economically weaker sections (EWS), in the age bracket of six to 14 years. This enabled economically marginalised communities to access high quality private schools, at the expense of the State but this was not implemented properly.
    • States have to notify per-child costs to pay the private schools, on behalf of the children admitted under this provision.However, out of 29 States and seven Union Territories, only 14 have notified their per-child costs. 
    • There is no data to record the number of students being admitted in private schools under section 12(1)(c) of the act .So poor children might not even be benefiting under this Act. 
  • Centre-state issues:-
    • In 2017-18, of the 15 States which submitted their reimbursement claims to the Central government, only six were approved. Many of the claims of the States were not provided funds by the Centre, as they had not notified the per-child costs.
  • Schools are refusing to admit children under the RTE provision, citing non-payment of dues by State governments.
  • Discrimination of caste and gender:-
  • A large number of Dalits, Adivasis and girls discontinue education because of discrimination in schools. And more than 60 per cent of urban primary schools are overcrowded,
  • Quality of education deteriorated:-
    • About 50 per cent of Indian students cannot do basic mathematics or read a short story when they complete elementary education.
    • Also due to no detention policy children learning outcomes are getting compromised.
  • Poor infrastructure despite strict norms
  • Quality of teachers is also not good.

 

Measures needed to improve RTE are:-

  • The Government must insist on fixing teachers’ accountability in public schoolsand learning outcome-based recognition for all schools, be it public or private schools.
  • Proper rules should be framed to implement the RTE Act in consultation with all stakeholders, including community leaders,teachers, and school managements. The government should ensure complete transparency in the functioning of private schools
  • Public expenditure increase:-
    • Among Asian countries, the ratio of per student public expenditure in tertiary relative to primary education is less than four in Malaysia, two in Indonesia and one in Thailand and Korea. In India, it is over nine.
  • Teachers quality:-
    • Teachers have very less limited accountability i.e.., to the education department bureaucracy.
    • Teachers are rarely reprimanded for non-performance. So this needs change
  • TSR Subramanian committee recommendations are as follows:
    • Government should establish Indian Education Service (IES) as an all Indian service with officers on permanent settlement with state governments, but cadre controlling authority vested in HRD Ministry.
    • Education has been given comparatively low priority by both the Central and State governments, judged by the budgetary support provided thus far. This must change if anything of significant value is to be achieved. Without further wait, the outlay on education should be raised to at least 6% of the GDP.
    • Minority schools should be made to reserve 25% seats for candidates of economically weaker sections (EWS).
    • There should be restrictions on Campus politics.
  • Focus needs change:-
    • Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes
    • Education policy has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education.

 

Conclusion:-

  • The intrinsic value of a sound education system in enabling the citizenry to enjoy fulfilling lives and participate in robust democratic processes is important. For both its intrinsic value as well as its instrumental value, reforming Indian dysfunctional education system is of paramount importance.

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