Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh: School Education Department racing against time to implement RTE Act

Less than two weeks ahead of opening of schools for the academic year 2022-23, the Department of School Education is immersed in working out modalities for implementation of Section 12 (1) C of the Right to Education Act, which mandates reservation of 25% seats in private, unaided and non-minority recognised schools at the entry level classes (Nursery / LKG or Class 1) for children belonging to socially disadvantaged groups and economically weaker sections.

Long-drawn exercise

The time is short and there is a long-drawn exercise that needs to be carried out for implementation of the key clause.

Following court orders, the Department of School Education had in February this year constituted a State-level committee with the Principal Secretary / Special Chief Secretary (Education) as its Chairman. Department officials and representatives of private school associations and NGOs were its members.

The committee had met on March 29 and identified the need to finalise per-child expenditure that would be incurred on account of the scheme.

According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed for implementation of the Act, the government should create a web portal showing vacancies in schools and call for applications giving ample time before the commencement of the academic year.

The second and final meeting of the State-level committee to finalise the modalities has not taken place yet.

With schools scheduled to reopen on July 5, and with many private educational institutions going ahead with admissions, some of them even completing the process, doubts are raised over the efficacy of the exercise.

“The number of applicants is bound to be lower than what they should be if sufficient time is not given by the government,” says an educationist.

The Act was not been implemented in the State due to policy reasons and litigation though the rules were notified in 2010.

The Commissioner, School Education, is said to be fast-tracking the exercise to issue the notification.

Doubts over reimbursement

The private school managements, meanwhile, seem reluctant to become a part of the initiative, as they feel that delay or denial of reimbursement of the money spent on the beneficiary children may result in financial problems for them.

“Given the precarious financial position of the government, it is easy to conclude that the school managements will have difficult time with regard to reimbursement amount,” says an owner of a private school.

MoU with Indus Action

The Department of School Education, meanwhile, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Delhi-based think-tank Indus Action, which has been actively engaged in creating support systems in best policy practices and technology solutions for implementation of RTE Section 12 (1) C in around 12 States through partnership with the governments and local civil society organisations.

As part of the collaboration, Indus Action will extend support in terms of governance, technology and capacity-building activities.

“It is exciting to partner with the A.P. government in the task of creating equality and inclusion through education,” says Tarun Cherukuri, CEO of Indus Action.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 9:13:50 pm |