With less than half a year left for the next academic year to begin, parents and academics are worried about how the school education department will be able to meet deadlines and implement important decisions.
The school fee regulatory bill, a bill for junior college admissions, kicking off the implementation of the right to education (RTE) bill which will curb capitation fees are three major bills that it has to look at before March 2011, if implementation needs to be done in the 2011 academic year.
While the school regulatory bill is pending with the law department, and the RTE draft state plan is being studied, the junior college admissions process is shuttling between the different boards and the court.
The school education department at the beginning of the year had put up a fancy vision document promising a child-tracking system, a unique identity number for every student and every school and an e-complaint system where students-teachers-parents could complain online to ensure transparency. None of this has seen the light of the day.
Last week, Rajendra Darda who took over from his predecessor Balasaheb Thorat as the new school education minister, announced in the legislature that a regulation to curb arbitrary fee hike would be taken soon. A meeting will be scheduled in the next fortnight and tabled in the next session in March 2011, he said.
“But such announcements are not enough, we need to see implementation and monitoring which does not happen. Also with just three months left and the lackadaisical attitude of the department, we are likely to see children suffering again,” says Arundhati Chavan, President Parents Teachers Association (PTA), United Forum.
Quoting the example of the confusion over the implementation of the RTE, Chavan says no one knows anything in the department. “There should be a proper information system. An education inspector told us that the RTE is only meant for municipal schools. On another occasion we were told its not come into force,” she added.
JM Abhyankar, former state education director, agrees. “It seems a little unrealistic. When the RTE first came about, we had told the state government that a budget of Rs 4,000 crore needs to be set aside. With no money in its kitty, how can it be implemented?” Abhyankar asked.
Darda refused to comment as the winter session is on.