MUMBAI: A recent review done by a forum has pointed out glaring loopholes in the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act across the country. According to the report made public by the RTE Forum in Delhi this week, close to 95.2% schools across the country are not compliant with the complete set of RTE infrastructure indicators.
“Even two years after the implementation of this historic policy, there is little progress in this field,” said Anjela Taneja, author of the report and a part of the Right to Education Forum-a civil society collective comprising thousands of NGOs across the country. “RTE had stipulated three years to ensure fulfillment of the majority of its milestones, so the nation has only one year to ensure that every child in the country has a school of acceptable quality,” added Taneja.
Other findings of the review reveal that 99.68% children reported facing one or more type of punishment in school; 36% of all sanctioned teaching posts are vacant and 6.7 lakh teachers are professionally unqualified. “A study by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 2012 found that only nine out of 6,632 students in seven states who were surveyed denied that they received any kind of punishment in schools,” said the report. The report also stated that 81.2% children were subject to outward rejection by being told that they were not capable of learning, 75% reported that they had been hit by a cane and 68% had been slapped on their cheeks.
“There are still so many children who are out of school; accessibility of schools is very less in rural parts of the country and the teacher-pupil ratio goes haywire in most of the schools. Only 14 states have set up the committee which monitors violations of rules under RTE,” said Vijaylakshmi Arora, director (policy and advocacy), Child Rights and You. She also added that according to the policy, teacher training programmes were supposed to be finished by the end of three years but till date, most states haven’t even started the programmes.
The report points at the lack of teachers in schools, which affects the teacher-pupil ratio in schools. According to data by the District Information System for Education ( DISE) in 2010-2011, 40% schools failed to reach the primary grade norm of a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:30. “This not only reflects the quality of education in schools but also in teacher training institutes. It is sad to see the apathetic attitude of state governments in implementing the RTE as a fundamental right in the true sense,” said Ambarish Rai, national convener of the RTE Forum.