Uttar Pradesh has been amongst the most laggard states when it comes to implementation of Right to Education (RTE).
Statistics show that only 60 out of 6,00,000 potential entrylevel seats in schools were filled in 2013-14. This figure dropped to 53 in 2014-15, points out a study by Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation - a voluntary organisation that works for the cause of education.
“This data was verified with the government and our effort is aimed to create a sense of urgency among people and the government,” said Samina Bano, founder chairperson of BAF. The study is a result of 15 months of hard work and support by senior government officials.
She said, “We are keen to bring about a change in this situation so that the poor and rich may study together under one roof.”
The RTE Act advocates free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years of age under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.
The landmark clause of Section 12 of the Act stipulates that all private schools in India reserve 25% of their seats at class I or pre-primary level for students from economically weaker sections (EWS) or disadvantaged section, with the government reimbursing them an amount equal to the private school fees or the perchild spending in government schools (whichever is lower). This will be applicable till class 8.
BAF’s team has been championing the cause of implementation of RTE’s Section 12 (25% reservation) in the state for the last 15 months. This involved initiating dialogue with all stakeholders, bringing in best practices from other successfully implementing states, creating awareness among community/media and crusade against private school lobby.
The foundation’s efforts brought positive results. On January 6, 2015, the education department issued a new notification with clear time-bound guidelines on implementation of RTE Section 12. The department has been actively making efforts in maximising admissions this year while BAF closely works with them as supporting partners.