Govt schooling likely to be free till Class 10 as Centre plans overhaul

  • Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 29, 2016 02:20 IST
Children take a test in a Mumbai school. (Kunal Patil/ HT Photo)

The Union government may soon make education till Class 10 free in all state-run schools.

The HRD ministry is planning to overhaul India’s pre-school and secondary education system to ensure universal education till the matriculate level, said Dr SC Khuntia, secretary, school education and literacy, at the e-launch of Unicef’s The State of the World’s Children Report-2016 on Tuesday.

“We have formed a committee in the HRD ministry to evaluate the education for classes 9 and 10, which should be universalised,” he added.

At present, free and compulsory education is provided up to Class 8 under the Right to Education Act.

The Unicef report, however, stated that universal education is still a distant dream in India. Over one-third (36%) of its students — 50% of which hail from marginalised sections of the society — drop out before completing elementary education, it noted.

Khuntia said the government would address this issue by formulating a new education policy with specific focus on pre-school education.

Starting August, the delivery of Integrated Child Development Services (such as mid-day meals, de-worming medication and iron supplementation) to children will be tracked through the use of smartphones.

“The ministry of women and child development and the health ministry have jointly developed an advanced software to ensure that these services reach the actual beneficiaries,” said Rajesh Kumar, joint secretary (ICDS-child development) in the ministry of women and child development.

“We must make good use of the IT services at our disposal,” Kumar said, adding that the services will be linked to Aadhaar.

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