‘13 years on, implementation of RTE still poor; political commitment lacking’

Representatives of South Indian Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education say Education Department officials think implementation of RTE means providing 25% seat reservation in private schools for poor children, but there are 39 sections in the Act

April 01, 2023 09:54 pm | Updated 09:54 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of a Government Higher Primary School at Siddapura in Bengaluru.

A file photo of a Government Higher Primary School at Siddapura in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit:

Thirteen years after the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into force, only 25.5% of its infrastructural norms, including additional classrooms, separate toilets for boys and girls, drinking water, ramp, playground, and boundary wall has been achieved, according to the report of the Union Ministry of School Education and Literacy about RTE compliance in the country.

“Irrespective of political parties, all the State governments are least bothered about the implementation of the RTE Act in Karnataka. We could not see any kind of political commitment to implement RTE in the State. The Act was implemented in 2010 and the rules were formulated in 2012. There was a delay of two years to formulate rules in terms of implementation,” said V.P. Niranjanaradhya, convener of the South Indian Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education (SIAFFRE).

The organisation of seven southern States and Union Territories — Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana — got together to reflect on the ‘Status of the fundamental right to education and the way forward’, on Saturday in Bengaluru.

“Since 2012, Education Department officials are thinking that implementation of the RTE means providing 25% seat reservation in private schools for poor children. But they never realise that there are 39 sections in the Act. The entire administration is busy in calling applications, selecting children, and sending them to private schools, instead of monitoring and developing the government schools,” Mr. Niranjanaradhya alleged.

According to the report, Karnataka’s achievement percentage is 23.6%, while the achievement of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 25.9%, Andhra Pradesh 10.7%, Goa 17.4%, Kerala 40.9%, Maharashtra 43.2%, Lakshadweep 12.2%, Puducherry 36.1%, Tamil Nadu 49.1%, and Telangana 32.0%.

A total of 12,54,773 posts of teacher are vacant in government schools, and Karnataka has 1,41,358 posts of teacher vacant, which is the highest. There are a total of 9,30,531 out-of-school children in India, and in Karnataka, the number is 5,945.

“Overall public spending on education is inadequate and far behind the resource commitment. The provision for 6% of GDP as total public spending on education is reiterated in all policy documents after the recommendation of the Education Commission (1964-66). The current percentage of the Union Budget on education is 2.5 and the percentage of the GDP on education is as low as 0.37. The State governments are also cutting the Budget for the education sector year by year. This is the major factor in the poor implementation of the RTE,” he argued.

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