It should be extended to Class 10 to be effective, says judge

Even as private unaided school managements are putting up stiff resistance against the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE) from this academic year, a section of thinkers have asserted it should be implemented this year.

Technical glitches can be addressed in the course of time, they said at a discussion, ‘Implementation of the Right to Education Act 2009', organised by the Bangalore wing of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS), here on Thursday.

Addressing an audience comprising representatives from organisations of autorickshaw drivers, farmers, Dalits and labourers, H.N. Nagamohandas, judge, Karnataka High Court, said that amendments were required in the Act as there was no clarity on some issues.

Extend to Class 10

Pointing out the basic problems in the RTE Act, he said: “The RTE Act addresses the age group of six to 14. But for most jobs, the minimum qualification is Class 10. The Act must be extended from Class 8 to 10 in order to address this issue,” he suggested.

He also spoke about the existing “discrimination” between students studying under different syllabi (Central and State), and said that the government must think of a way to make it uniform as the RTE Act does not tackle this issue.

Mr. Nagamohandas also said that the lack of infrastructure in many schools, which do not have basic facilities like buildings and restrooms, should be upgraded.

‘Don't close schools'

Poet and critic S.G. Siddaramaiah criticised the State's move to close down government schools that don't have enough student strength and pointed out that there were 1.08 lakh dropouts in primary education, most of whom had become child labourers.

“The present government also closed down 89 residential schools meant for students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.”

Mr. Siddaramaiah also accused the government of implementing the RTE Act not because it wanted to, but because it had to. “It is a Supreme Court order and violating it would be contempt of court,” he said.

Why public funds?

Viplava, member of BGVS's national wing, took exception to public funds being channelled into private institutions through the reimbursement given to private unaided schools by the government for admitting disadvantaged students under the 25 per cent reservation.