Education-for-all Bill to be tabled in winter session
The Right to Education Bill, seeking to make education mandatory for all children in the age group of six to 14 years and reduce the dropout rate, will be introduced in the winter session of Parliament, reports Chetan Chauhan.india Updated: Nov 01, 2008 00:39 IST
The Right to Education Bill, seeking to make education mandatory for all children in the age group of six to 14 years and reduce the dropout rate, will be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.
The Union Cabinet approved the Bill on Thursday, reserving 25 per cent of seats for economically disadvantaged students in private schools.
“The law will help in dramatically reducing the dropout rate, which is as high as 50 per cent at the elementary level,” an HRD ministry official, preferring anonymity, said. He added that about 93 per cent of the children in the age group are in schools.
However, the private schools will have to bear a considerable part of the elementary education expenses of poor children, as they will be reimbursed what the states expend on a child in government schools.
The Delhi government spends Rs 1,300 per month per child in a government school against the public school fees ranging between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 per month per student.
“Parents not in the disadvantaged category will have to pay for the education of the disadvantaged because schools don’t have funds,” said S.L. Jain, chairperson of Progressive Schools Conference, a body of top private schools in India. He demanded that the government pay the entire cost.
The Centre has estimated that over Rs 200,000 crore will be required in the next five years to implement the law.
The Cabinet agreed to a Group of Ministers’ recommendation that the Finance Commission will decide on the cost-bearing mechanism to meet tuition fees and costs of building new classrooms and schools.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, “It would be a legally enforceable duty of the Centre and the states to provide free and compulsory education.”
The draft Bill also said the district education officer would be responsible for implementing the law.
An HRD ministry official, preferring anonymity, said the draft law was comprehensive and had enough teeth to cover all the aspects of elementary education.