Showing posts with label right to education Act 2009. Show all posts
Showing posts with label right to education Act 2009. Show all posts

Friday, October 12, 2012

SC issues Notice to Centre on RTE Act

SC issues notice on Right to Education Act

The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Central Government on a Right to Education petition seeking exemption for unaided educational institutions

New Delhi, Oct 8: The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Central Government on a petition seeking exemption for unaided educational institutions from earmarking 25 percent seats for students from the weaker sections of the society.

Unaided minority educational institutions are exempted from doing so under the Right to Education Act, 2009, which calls for reserving 25 percent seats for socially and economically backward sections of the society.

An apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra issued the notice after senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi contended that Article 15(5) was ultra vires of the basic structure of the constitution as it discriminated between two similarly placed category of educational institutions on the basis of their minority and non-minority status.
Seeking that the matter on the constitutional vires of the Article 15(5) be examined by the atleast five judges constitution bench, Mr. Rohtagi said that the constitution envisages equal status for minority and majority.

It would be against the scheme of the constitution to put minority on a higher pedestal then the majority community. Mr. Rohtagi was assisted by counsel Govind Goel.

The court was told that the Article 145(3) of the constitution provides that a bench of atleast five judges could only hear a case involving the substantial question of law and the interpretation of the constitutional provisions or for hearing any presidential reference.

Read more on...... I Government.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No private school is outside the ambit of Right to Education Act

Dear colleagues,

The Supreme Court on 12th April 2012 (Thursday) upheld the constitutional validity of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which mandates 25 per cent free seats to the poor in government and private unaided schools uniformly across the country.

By a majority view, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar said the Act will apply uniformly to government and unaided private schools except unaided private minority schools. 

While upholding the Constitutional validity of RTE Act, Honorable Supreme Court of India has ruled that no educational institution - including the private schools (except the minority schools) are beyond the provisions of Right to Education Act. This particularly aids the marginalized segments including the disabled children to seek admission in the nearest school of their choice. The judgement will apply henceforth and not with retrospect.

40 percent teacher vacancies are still unfilled

However, I do not feel that this alone can ensure quality education to all children in India. Has the Government of India and those of various states given any thought to fill over 40 percent vacancies of teachers lying vacant. In Uttar Pradesh alone, the state government has  advertised vacancies of 72800 alone for primary level in 2011 which have not been filled up till date due to vested interest. Thousands of primary schools in UP are running on one Teacher and one Shikshamitra only whereas there is a requirement of minimum 5 teachers to man the school. Consider the quality of education when the sole trained teacher goes on leave!

Similarly, in Karnataka, about 30 per cent of the 76 lakh primary school children  go to unaided private schools, mostly in urban areas, according to District Information System for Education (DISE) data. A 25 per cent reservation in Class I for the disadvantaged/economically weaker sections in these schools would impact about 1 per cent of the school-going child population. 

Accordingly to recent government studies,  at primarily level alone,  in addition to the 5.23 lakh vacancies, another 5.1 lakh teachers are needed to meet the pupil-teacher ratio specified under the Right to Education Act. Of the teachers already on the job, 7.74 lakh are largely untrained or without the needed qualifications.

At secondary level, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan requires that 1.79 lakh new teachers be appointed with special focus on teachers for English, mathematics and science.

The court order is welcome and the spirit behind the reservation of seats in private schools is  laudable, however the priority and focus of India’s education system should be on what needs to be done to improve the quality of education in government schools, where 80% of our children are enrolled. The huge challenge that the state faces in addressing the deficiencies of the education system can be explained through the existing teacher-pupil ratio in rural India. 

Quality of Education in Govt School is driving parents to Private Schools

Similar is the situation across the nation. Can the Government ensure quality of education with such ill trained manpower. Isn't this a purposeful ploy to degrade the state education to such low level that the gullible parents and children are forced to opt for private schools? 

In a recent visit to a remote small village in UP, I learnt that a private school has come up in the recent past in that small village in past few years. Though the children of the village have their names on the rolls of the State run government school while most of them went to the private school for education. Few children  who continue to go the state run school were the ones whose parents were so poor that they could not afford the school fee. I was surprised to see that even those who went to private school were not very good financially. One could imagine at what cost the parents were sending their children to private school in the hope of a good future of the child.  I had an opportunity to visit both schools and I saw the difference. The only teacher available in the Government school told me that they could either complete official paper work and mid day meal or control (not teach!) the children from different classes under one roof. The teacher shared that it was just not possible for a single teacher to manage 5 primary classes, paper work of the school, maintenance of registers, preparing mid day meal and also attend to miscellaneous duties of election etc for which they get deployed by the state government.  

Need of focusing on improving quality of Govt Schools

The RTE Act is a historic piece of legislation because it gives a legal right to free education to children between the ages of six and 14 and makes the government responsible for providing it. And the RTE implementation must focus on improving standards in government schools. Need is to correct the skewed  teacher-pupil ratio and whole education infrastructure to generate the confidence in people. The states have to come forward with a political will to ensure that the rights of compulsory and free education becomes a reality and poor are not forced to send their children to private schools at the cost of essential requirements of life such as food, health, house and clothing.

Mechanisms & political will to regulate private schools

Another issue is how to implement the RTE in private schools. The state is not able to provide this right in their own school then how will they implement this in the private school is a huge question that is haunting the concerned citizens. The capitation fee/ donation is though banned under this Act, however, there are several ways the private schools can bypass this.  Hence, unless mechanisms are proposed and strictly implemented, I don't see the benefits of such a wonderful legislation would be reaped by the "aam admi" of this nation.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Delhi Government's New Admission Guidelines voilate the RTE Act 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Directorate of Education, Delhi Government has recently issued Guidelines for Admission to Pre-primary/Class I in Sarvodaya Vidyalayas  dated 27 Feb 2012 . This guideline seeks to reserve 15% seats for SC; 7.5% for ST; 3% seats for PH; 2% for wards of employee of Directorate of Education. While this allocation may look very reasonable, however, to our amazement, this is utterly against the mandate of the RTE Act 2009. 

Such a reservation can not be permitted  under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (in short RTE Act, 2009).  What will happen to the right of every child to seek admission in the neighbourhood schools? What will happen if the category for whom reservation is made doesn't live in a certain neighbourhood? Is the Government going to bring them from some other corner of the city? Will that not be against the concept of neighbourhood schools? What will happen to children from disadvantaged sections and those from weaker sections as defined in the RTE Act?

To me this amounts to introducing  a screening process of some kind which is actually against the spirit of RTE Act and is punishable under the law. This basic exercise should have been done by the Directorate officials before issuing such an illogical and contradictory provisions in the Guidelines. 

I am sure the officials are well aware about the provisions of the RTE Act which mandates in section 3 that every child from 6-14 years has a right to free and compulsory education in the neighbourhood schools till the completion of elementary education. Therefore, screening processes of this nature should not be used to deny admission to children since this would be violation of the RTE Act 2009

I strongly support our colleague Mr. Ashok Agarwal who has challenged these guidelines and this would be in fitness of things that the guidelines be suitably amended/modified.


Subhash Chandra Vashishth