India's bigger and economically powerful states have failed the Right To Education (RTE) Act mandating compulsory education to children in the age group of 6-14.
Only 20 states in India have notified the rules required to enforce the law which became applicable in 2010. Among the defaulting states are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal.
"It will be a historic failure, if we fail to implement the RTE law," said HRD minister Kapil Sibal at a conference of state education ministers on RTE implementation. "The children are suffering in states which have failed to notify the rules".
The HRD ministry has been provided enhanced funds under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan to meet the objectives of the RTE law. With so many states should reluctance to notify rules, the ministry have now linked release of funds under SSA with notification of the RTE rules.
Sibal also announced a nation-wide initiative to create awareness about RTE to be launched from Muslim dominated Mewat in Haryana from November 11. That day, a message from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to children will be read out by principals of 1.3 million schools across India.
The initiative will launch a year-long campaign to create awareness about RTI with the help of civil society organisations. State governments have been asked to identify around 30 volunteers in each of 6,000 blocks in the country to sensitise people about the law.
Outlining the initiatives taken to meet the RTE goals, Sibal said the teacher’s eligibility test has been started to meet the demand for quality teachers in schools and money has been provided for opening up neighbourhood schools.