Faced with teacher shortage and other infrastructural hurdles, the Government has said the ambitious Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act will take at least three more years to show results.

“It (RTE Act) is going to take three years at least. This is not something that is going to bear fruit tomorrow,” HRD Minister Kapil Sibal told PTI.

Many hurdles have to be overcome for effective implementation of the Act as the states don’t have the necessary “wherewithal and infrastructure”, he said.

The Act provides for free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years.

Recently, some states had approached the Ministry seeking relaxation of teacher qualification norms under the Act due to shortage of teacher training institutes.

Section 23(2) of the RTE Act provides a time frame of five years for ensuring that all teachers in elementary school are trained and within this period they need to acquire professional qualification.

At a meeting of the state education ministers here on June 8, it came into light that there are over seven lakh untrained teachers in the country, the largest number of them are in Bihar, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Moreover, of the total number of untrained teachers, around 5.48 lakh are at primary level and 2.25 lakh at upper primary level.

Mr. Sibal, however, said the feedback received about the willingness of the states to implement the Act has been “very positive”.

Till now, 18 States have notified the Act which came into force from April last year and 14 of them have constituted the State commission for protection of child rights as per the provisions of the Act.

The role of State commission is to examine and review safeguards for ensuring rights of the children.

Some States have also sought a revision of the funding norms citing budgetary constraints.

While Bihar suggested raising the Centre’s contribution from 65 per cent to 90, Chhattisgarh demanded it should be revised in the ratio of 75:25 instead of 65:35.

Uttar Pradesh Education Minister R. Tripathi had said his “State is yet to get the Centre’s share for implementing RTE“.

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