Second Anniversary of RTE: Some Highlights
There has been improvement at the national level since RTE became operative from 01.04.2010
a. Last year at this time only 15 States had notified the State RTE Rules. Today, this number has increased to 32. Goa and Karnataka are the two States which have yet to notify the RTE Rules. The Ministry continues to follow up with these States.
b. Similarly, last year 11 States had notified the SCPCRs/REPA. Today this number has increased to 21. An Advisory has been issued by the Ministry to States on instituting a Grievance Redressal mechanism to address violations of the RTE Act.
c. 31 States have notified the academic authority under section 29 of the RTE Act. This figure was 20 last year. This is significant, because the academic authority under section 29 is responsible for ensuring that the curriculum and evaluation procedure is in accordance with constitutional values and the child centred principles enunciated in the Act. In recent times there has been much media debate on the quality of learning – especially when the ASER report was published. Another study undertaken by ASER, titled Inside Primary Schools, pointed out that learning material created by States is often two levels higher than the age-appropriate level. This issue was discussed with State Education Ministers in a conference in January this year. An Advisory on Quality has also been issued by the Ministry to the States.
d. Most States have issued circulars and notifications to re-iterate the child centred provisions of the RTE Act. These include notifications and circulars prohibiting corporal punishment, detention, expulsion, Board examination at class V, VIII, etc. As it was felt that there was not enough understanding on the rationale for these provisions despite the large number of workshops that the Ministry had conducted a section-by-section rationale of the provisions of the Act was developed and circulated to the States.
A document prepared on the occasion – RTE: The 2nd Year – gives the status with respect to enrolment indicators, teacher related indicators and infrastructure indicators. It compares data collected with reference dates 30 September 2009 and 30 September 2010. By and large the enrolment indicators are reasonably healthy. There has been a decline in the annual average dropout rate from 9.1 in 2009-10 to 6.9 in 2010-11. There has been an over 5% decline in drop out rate in Bihar (7.06), Jharkhand (5.30), Nagaland (6.23) and Uttar Pradesh (5.65). But, sadly, some States (Haryana, Mizoram) have also shown an increase in drop out rate. The percentage of girls' enrollment to total enrolment at primary and upper primary level has remained at 48. This is on account of their overall share in the population. However, adverse child sex ratio is a cause of concern.
Insofar as teachers are concerned, at the national level there is a pupil teacher ratio of 30:1. Since RTE became operative, over 6 lakh teacher posts have been sanctioned under SSA. But despite an overall healthy PTR at the national level, there is concern that at the primary level there are 43% schools with a PTR higher than 30:1. At the upper primary level there are 33% schools with a PTR greater than 35:1. Time has now come for the country to take up rationalisation of teacher deployment seriously, so that all schools have the requisite number of teachers. This undoubtedly needs both political and administrative will.
As regards infrastructure, under SSA 4,96,231 classrooms have been sanctioned in the two years since RTE became operative. Much of the civil works under construction will actually be completed in the year to come. Most schools now do have drinking water and toilets but ramps, boundary walls, etc are still required.
The country will meet the RTE goals in the coming years. The Government is committed to providing support to States. The Central outlays for implementing the RTE-SSA programme have practically doubled since 2009-10 (Rs 13,100 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 25,555 crore in 2012-13)