The Centre plans to appoint central watchdogs in each state to monitor the implementation of the landmark right to education law, following a Supreme Court model to keep track of how states perform.
The right to education commissioners will report to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the apex monitor for the law, but the proposed project will be funded by the human resource development (HRD) ministry, top government sources have told HT.
The initiative reflects the significance of the law — the Centre does not have similar commissioners for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, mid-day meal or other major education programmes it runs.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act — passed by both Houses of Parliament last year and implemented from April 1 this year — provides legal guarantee of schooling for all children between six and 14. The UPA rates the act as one of its biggest achievements.
The SC-appointed commissioners on the right to food are tasked with submitting regular feedback to the apex court on the implementation of food-related schemes across the country. This feedback is often critical of the Centre and of state governments.
“Instead of the SC, the right to education commissioners will report to the NCPCR, an autonomous statutory body. The idea is that like with the SC commissioners, our commissioners should be in a position to give objective feedback,” an HRD ministry source said.
Reports of the right to education commissioners on the performance of different states will form the basis for central suggestions to these states.
The HRD ministry’s decision to appoint commissioners also reflects the absence of complete trust between the Centre and states on the implementation of key social sector schemes, sources reluctantly admitted.
But the sources also asserted that the commissioners “must not be misunderstood” as a central ploy to intervene in state implementation of the right to education law.
“These commissioners are not bosses of state governments — the latter is in charge. But there is nothing wrong in keeping track of how the law is being implemented. The state governments also want the law to succeed,” a source said.