A yr on, RTE has a long way to go
A year after the Right To Education (RTE) was introduced it has got mixed bag results. According to studies by studies by different civil society groups, dropout rate in many schools is still high, but there has been a slight improvement in new enrolments.delhi Updated: Mar 31, 2011 00:55 IST
A year after the Right To Education (RTE) was introduced it has got mixed bag results. According to studies by studies by different civil society groups, dropout rate in many schools is still high, but there has been a slight improvement in new enrolments.
April 1 is the first anniversary of the watershed Right to Compulsory and Free Education, also called RTE law. In this year, the independent groups increased vigil in schools to find how the law has been implemented.
"Just five states have notified their own RTE rules so far," said Ananthapriya Subraman of Save The Children on behalf of NGO groups such as Oxfam, UNICEF and Plan, who accepted that enrollment has increased but quality of education was still an issue.
Even the body mandated under the law to enforce it, the State Children Rights Commissions, have just been constituted in half Indian states and the states are keen to implement the law, the NGOs said.
Another NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s (BBA) survey in nine states of 44,000 students shows that 24 % dropped out from the schools even though 21% of them were newly enrolled in schools.
Even the law provides for free education till class 7 level, the NGO found that many schools still seek admission fees. In Bihar, 97% of the schools claim that they provide free and compulsory education, but 27% still charge fee. And, 46% schools do not provide any one of the free learning material (textbooks, notebooks, bags and uniform) in Bihar.
Another problem in most schools is hygiene.
Drinking water is not available in half of the schools in Jharkhand, one-fifth in Bihar, one-tenth in Rajasthan and UP. "Assuming a proportionate distribution of children within schools, one can draw a rough comparison that the situation has improved in these two states," said Rakesh Senger, secretary with BBA.
Another NGO, National Coalition for Education, looked into the role of government bodies in RTE implementation. In all, only 355 complaints were received from parents against violation of the law by schools. The maximum complaints, 211, were received by Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which had created awareness about the law.