47% of these schools have made it mandatory; only 13% schools provide age-appropriate admission

In gross violation of the provision of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, as many as 61 per cent government schools insist on proof of age while 47 per cent of these have made it mandatory, a latest study has revealed.

Special coaching

Against the norms of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, 66 per cent schools demanded documents for proof of previous studies at the time of admission. About 46 per cent of these schools asked for transfer certificate from children at the time of admission, which is also against the law.

As per the findings of “Learning Block: Status of Implementation of the Right to Education Act,” a study conducted by Child Rights and You (CRY) only 13 per cent schools provided age-appropriate admission. In most of these schools, special coaching or training was provided to the child who received age-appropriate admission.

The findings reveal that there was no 100 per cent compliance with regard to necessary provisions like school infrastructure, all-weather buildings, toilets and drinking water facilities, fencing or boundary walls, pupil-teacher ratio and the one-classroom-one-teacher practice.

While teacher-student ratio was violated across the board, non-availability of head teachers was reported in 28 per cent primary and 31 per cent upper primary schools. Only 35 per cent primary schools reported having teachers who had passed Class 12 or holding a Diploma in Education. More than half of primary schools had graduate or post-graduate teachers. In upper primary schools, 37 per cent of them had teachers who had passed their Class 12 or had Diploma in Education and 50 per cent had graduate or post-graduate teachers.

“One cannot expect children to stay in school without basic infrastructure like safe classrooms, electricity, clean drinking water and functioning toilets. CRY’s experience on ground points to the fact that the lack of basic infrastructure — especially facilities for drinking water and separate toilet for girls — is one of the key factors that push children out of school,” Chief Executive Officer of CRY Puja Marwaha told reporters at an event where the study was released.

Linked issues

Ms. Marwaha said CRY had learnt that issues affecting children were always linked. The lack of quality education was directly linked to child labour. “Parents often do not perceive any value in sending their children to school, given the dismal education they receive. Instead, they prefer that their children learn some skills at an early age so as to help them earn a living.”

Although data was collected from 747 government schools across 13 States and 71 districts, from the point of view of RTE implementation, information from only 642 schools — primary and upper primary — was used for the analysis.

Although qualifying elementary education as a fundamental right is a welcome step, the Act itself comes with certain limitations. “The Act crucially leaves children between 3 and 6 years of age out of its purview and 15-18 year olds find themselves in a similar situation, with little chance of completing their education if they cannot pay for it. The Act does not offer much to ensure learning outcomes for children, which is fundamental for any education system to be meaningful,” Ms. Marwaha pointed out. The study revealed that 11 per cent schools did not have toilets. Only 18 per cent schools had separate toilets for girls and in 34 per cent schools, toilets were in a bad or unusable condition. Overall, most of the schools did not have separate toilets for girls and boys. Around 49 per cent schools had common toilets for staff and students.

  • Lack of quality education directly linked to child labour

  • 11% schools sans toilet, 74% schools had no library