The introduction of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in 2009 was aimed at changing the face of education in India, and to ensure that every child between the age of 6 and 14 yrs is entitled to free and compulsory education.
Five years later, statistics provided by the state education department shows that less than 82 per cent schools in the city are not following basic infrastructural norms.
What’s worse, the awareness about the RTE 25 per cent reservation quota for admissions is so low, that parents are not even aware of schools where the reservation quota seats are up for grabs.
While the education department still basks in the glory of being one of the first states in the country to implement this landmark law, its actual implementation in the state sheds light on various loopholes. Be it lack of awareness amidst the general public or the supposed dis-interest of school managements in enacting minute details of the law, the cascading effect of these reasons reflects very poorly on the education department at present for not being able to ensure implementation of the law in totality.
One of the biggest grievances, pointed by educationists, was the exclusion of private minority schools in the form, following the 25 per cent reservation quota for students from the economically and socially backward classes of the society.
Questions have also been raised on RTE’s no-fail policy and its direct effect on the deteriorating standards of education till class VIII.
At a time when RTE mandates a student-teacher ratio of 35/40:1, close to 1,800 teacher posts in the city are lying vacant, making it impossible for schools to implement the said ratio.
What the education department needs to focus on is proper awareness of the law, to begin with. Not only the general public, but schools too need to be made aware of their role in the proper implementation of this rule. Only then will it be possible to ensure free and compulsory education to all children in the country.