The HRD ministry has sought Rs 45,000 crore every year from the next financial year to implement the watershed Right To Education law. It is almost double than what the ministry had received for elementary education in the 11th five year plan.
In a presentation made to the Planning Commission for 12th five year plan starting from 2011-12, the ministry complained that although Rs 1.84 crore was allocated for elementary education in the 11th plan the final allocation was just Rs 1.44 crore, thereby hampering the implementation of the RTE.
The law provides for mandatory education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years of age. Under its flagship programme Sarva Siksha Abhiyan the ministry has been able to achieve over 95 % of enrollment at primary level the quality of education being delivered is still an issue of concern.
Anshu Vaish, secretary department of school education and literacy, told a panel’s sub-group highlighted the shortage of teachers as a major reason for not desirable levels of quality of education in schools.
R Chandramohan, advisor (education) in the ministry said over one million additional teachers have been deployed but there was very little amelioration in learning levels, reading and comprehension skills. "Wide gaps in quality of education in terms of schools by management, region and social and gender is a matter of concern," he said.
Vaish emphasized on a need for allocation of Rs 45,000 crore per year to bring all the schools under the ambit of SSA-RTE harmonization, which could be 65 % the Centre will pay to states under fund sharing mechanism.
The ministry, however, wants differential funding pattern for educationally backward states such as Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to bring out of school children into the education fold.
Having an open school even for elementary education was an alternative suggested by National Institute of Open Schools (NIOS) to provide education to out of school. The NIOS provides open schooling only at secondary and higher secondary levels.