Uttar Pradesh is the biggest violator of the Right to Education (RTE). With more than six lakh seats reserved for children of economically weaker sections (EWS) as per the provisions of the Act, the state has only allowed admissions to around 60 children. While the number of such seats is the highest in the country, UP’s performance is the worst when compared to other states, say activists.
The problems in implementation of RTE in the state and the issue of fee regulation in private schools was discussed at a consultation organised by Oxfam India in ollaboration with SKVS and State Collective for Right to Education (SCoRE) at Jai Shankar Prasad hall on Tuesday.
Talking about the scenario in India, Swati Narayan, an activist, said: “Delhi has allowed admissions to EWS for 92% of the total seats reserved for the purpose under section 12(C) of the Act. Karnataka, which has about 1.33 lakh reserved seats, has allowed admissions on 83% of the seats in the academic session 2014-15. Rajasthan has 81% of such seats full while Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh too have allowed admissions on 74% and 56% reserved seats.”
The experts blamed a government order issued by the UP government, which restricts admission to children of EWS in private schools. “The order says private schools can be approached only after seats in government and governmentaided schools have been filled up. This is a ridiculous clause and needs to be done away with immediately,” said Swati.
Ambrish Rai, convener, National RTE Forum, said: “While formulating the RTE Act, it was kept in mind that when poor children go to such elite private schools where children of rich families study, there will be exchange of thoughts and cultures between two sections and gradually inequalities in the society will decrease. But it is sad that only 0.015% children of EWS have been allowed admissions in UP.”
The experts also said that the state didn’t have any regulatory mechanism in place to check unreasonable fee hike by the private sector.
“As of now, eight states including Rajasthan have issued government orders to regulate such unreasonable fee hike in private schools. UP government should also take strong steps to regulate fees of private players,” said Ramakant Rai, convener of National Coalition for Education.
In UP, 31.71% of the total schools are being managed by private service providers.