Unless "states came forward to share the burden" and become "equal partners", Right to Education cannot be ensured by the central government alone, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh declared in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Monday.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said, even though Right to Education finds a place of importance in the Common Minimum Programme and also in the programme of the government, unless the states fully join in this especially in the case of the financial outlay it will be "very difficult".
With shortage of trained teachers, he said, states have a problem that schools are opened but they don't have trained teachers.
He said that the problem of schools where there are no buildings will cease to exist in India by the end of the Eleventh Plan as they had overcome a sizable backlog under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and states were fully cooperating in this progamme. There is also an effort to raise the standard of government schools, he added.
Shobhana Bhartia, expressing concern at the state of education, said UNESCO in its recently released report has put India at the bottom of the pile.
She asked, "Whether it is correct that India fares only better than Yemen and Iraq; and in terms of gender disparity, are we right at the bottom of the heap?"
If this is true what steps the government is proposing to take? she asked.
Despite the central government spending huge funds under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan there is over 40 per cent dropout at the middle level. What steps was the government porposing to take? she asked.
Minister of State for HRD D Purandeswari replied that the same UNESCO report has also shown India as a example which actually owns the education policies that India has been implementing. This is commendable because the same report also compliments India on this, she added.
She said all efforts were being made to see that gender parity is achieved and ensure that the girl dropout is reduced.
Minister of State for Human Resource Development MAA Fatmi answering supplementaries said there is one teacher for 41 students on an average at the primary education level in the country.
The working group report on Elementary and Adult Education for the Tenth Five-Year Plan projected a requirement of 10.66 lakh aditional teachers.
He said 10.12 lakh teacher posts have been sanctioned by the Central Government under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme up to 2006-07.
He said the ratio of one teacher for 41 students on an average in primary schools was satisfactory.