Will the Right to Education Act dismantle the existing school system in Delhi?
The question acquired centerstage when Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal suggested the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 (DSEA) will be applicable once the Right to Education Bill (RTE) comes into effect from April 1, 2010.
“Once the RTE comes into effect, DSEA won’t count,” he said.
Sibal was addressing the 37th National Progressive School Council Conference on Friday.
The DSEA regulates the governance of schools in the Capital in terms of fixing the age of admission, the fee structure of teachers and the infrastructure that a school should have.
Sibal statement got the Delhi government officials and teachers worried.
“Will this mean we will have to do away with the existing system of school governance? The idea makes so sense as education is in the concurrent list. We control schools, decide the fees, what age students start school, what salaries we pay the teachers? How can the central regulation supercede rules we have in place for 37 years?” asked a senior government official.
LV Sehgal, principal of Bal Bharti School, Gangaram Marg and vice chairman of NPSC felt that the states might have to review their education acts after the RTE comes into effect.
“Since education is part of the concurrent list, which means both the State Legislature as well as the Parliament have powers to enact laws, there could be some changes but I don’t see the possibility of RTE overriding the DSEA completely.”
Sources in the Directorate of Education suggested that although some points of RTE like the 25 per cent reservation of children from EWS will be absorbed in the DSEA, it cannot be overruled completely.
On a query on unrecognised primary schools Sibal said, “Under the RTE there is no provision which makes it mandatory to pay teachers a fixed amount. The fees in private unaided schools can’t be regulated although some state governments have passed laws.”
The teachers felt if a child has to be educated in the proper sense there has to be incentives in form of good salary for quality teachers to join the profession.