The Kerala Legislative Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution urging the Union government to bear the entire expenses of the States while implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
The resolution, moved by CPI(M) member M.M. Monayi, was adopted with 24 votes in favour and 12 votes against, after a discussion lasting for more than one-and-a-half hours.
K. Sivadasan Nair of the Congress moved an amended resolution urging both the Centre and the State governments to bear the expenses. The amended resolution was defeated by the same margin as the other one was passed.
Speaking on behalf of the Education Minister in reply to the discussion, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M. Vijayakumar said the Act was highly relevant in major regions across the country still plagued by the problem of illiteracy and lack of facilities for education.
Kerala had invested heavily on education since Independence and had achieved the target of universal education. The challenge now for the State was in improving the quality of education. Kerala wanted the Centre's support to take up this challenge.
He said the State had conveyed this view to the Union government. The State had also pointed out certain other practical problems it had to address while implementing the Act. Classes up to fifth standard were proposed to be brought under the primary school level and those from sixth standard to the eighth under the middle school level as per the Act. This would involve redeployment of a large number of teachers across the two school levels. He said Kerala wanted liberty to modify the approach to implementing the Act.
The specification in the Act to reserve 25 per cent of the seats in unaided schools for students from weaker sections of society too was not relevant for Kerala, where the network of government schools and government-aided schools reached almost all corners of the State.