The Actual Right To Education Bill Can Be Downloaded Here :- Right To Education
- The number of out-of-school children has declined from 25 million in 2003 to 8.1 million in mid-2009. The most significant improvements have been in Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur and Chhattisgarh.
- The percentage of out-of-school children in highly populated states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar remains a cause of concern.
- There has been tremendous progress in improving access with 99 per cent of habitations having a primary school within one kilometer, and 92 per cent an upper primary school within 3 kilometers.
- There have been considerable improvements in the proportions of children from socially disadvantaged groups enrolled in school. For Scheduled Caste (SC) students, 19.7 per cent were enrolled in 2008-2009, with 11% enrolled for Scheduled Tribe (ST) students.
- The proportion of ST children at upper primary level is much lower, indicating that ST children are more vulnerable to dropping out from the school system. As many as 23.4 per cent of Muslim school children are out-of-school.
- 84 out of 100 schools have drinking water facilities overall in India. But nearly half the schools in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya do not.
- 65 out of 100 schools have common toilets in India; however only 1 out of 4 schools in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Orissa and Rajasthan have this facility.
- 54 of 100 schools have separate toilets for girls. On an average, only 1 in 9 schools in Assam, Meghalaya, and Manipur have separate toilets and 1 in 4 schools in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Orissa.
- The RTE Act has specific provisions for disadvantaged groups, such as child laborers, migrant children, children with special needs, or those who have a "disadvantage owing to social, cultural, economical, geographical, linguistic, gender or such other factor."
- Creative and sustained initiatives are crucial to train more than 1 million new and untrained teachers within the next five years and to reinforce the skills of existing teachers to ensure child-friendly education.
- School Management Committees, made up of parents, local authorities, teachers and children themselves, will need support to form School Development Plans and monitoring. The inclusion of 50 per cent women and parents of children from disadvantaged groups in these committees should help overcome past disparities.
Q. Why is the RTE Act 2009 significant and what does it mean for India?
A. The passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of India.
This Act serves as a building block to ensure that every child has his or her right (as an entitlement) to get a quality elementary education, and that the State, with the help of families and communities, fulfils this obligation.
Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure both free and child-centered, child-friendly education.
Q. What is ‘Free and Compulsory Elementary Education’?
A. All children between the ages of 6 and 14 shall have the right to free and compulsory elementary education at a neighborhood school.
There is no direct (school fees) or indirect cost (uniforms, textbooks, mid-day meals, transportation) to be borne by the child or the parents to obtain elementary education. The government will provide schooling free-of-cost until a child’s elementary education is completed.
Q. What is the role envisaged for the community and parents to ensure RTE?
A. Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure child-centered, child-friendly education to help all children develop to their fullest potential. There were an estimated eight million six to fourteen year-olds in India out-of-school in 2009. The world cannot reach its goal to have every child complete primary school by 2015 without India participation.
Schools shall constitute School Management Committees (SMCs) comprising local authority officials, parents, guardians and teachers. The SMCs shall form School Development Plans and monitor the utilization of government grants and the whole school environment.
RTE also mandates the inclusion of 50 per cent women and parents of children from disadvantaged groups in SMCs. Such community participation will be crucial to ensuring a child friendly "whole school" environment through separate toilet facilities for girls and boys and adequate attention to health, water, sanitation and hygiene issues.
Q. How does RTE promote Child-Friendly Schools?
A. All schools must comply with infrastructure and teacher norms for an effective learning environment. Two trained teachers will be provided for every 60 students at the primary level.
Teachers are required to attend school regularly and punctually, complete curriculum instruction, assess learning abilities and hold regular parent-teacher meetings. The number of teachers shall be based on the number of students rather than by grade.
The state shall ensure adequate support to teachers leading to improved learning outcomes of children. The community and civil society will have an important role to play in collaboration with the SMCs to ensure school quality with equity. The state will provide the policy framework and create an enabling environment to ensure RTE becomes a reality for every child.
Q. How will RTE be financed and implemented in India?
A. Central and state governments shall share financial responsibility for RTE. The central government shall prepare estimates of expenditures. State governments will be provided a percentage of these costs.
The central government may request the Finance Commission to consider providing additional resources to a state in order to carry out the provisions of RTE.
The state government shall be responsible for providing the remaining funds needed to implement. There will be a funding gap which needs to be supported by partners from civil society, development agencies, corporate organizations and citizens of the country.
Q. What are the key issues for achieving RTE?
A. The RTE Act will be in force from 1 April. Draft Model Rules have been shared with states, which are required to formulate their state rules and have them notified as early as possible.
RTE provides a ripe platform to reach the unreached, with specific provisions for disadvantaged groups, such as child laborers, migrant children, children with special needs, or those who have a "disadvantage owing to social, cultural economical, geographical, linguistic, gender or such other factor." RTE focuses on the quality of teaching and learning, which requires accelerated efforts and substantial reforms:
- Creative and sustained initiatives are crucial to train more than one million new and untrained teachers within the next five years and to reinforce the skills of in-service teachers to ensure child-friendly education.
- Families and communities also have a large role to play to ensure child-friendly education for each and every one of the estimated 190 million girls and boys in India who should be in elementary school today.
- Disparities must be eliminated to assure quality with equity. Investing in preschool is a key strategy in meeting goals.
- Bringing eight million out-of-school children into classes at the age appropriate level with the support to stay in school and succeed poses a major challenge necessitating flexible, innovative approaches.
Q. What is the mechanism available if RTE is violated?
A. The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights shall review the safeguards for rights provided under this Act, investigate complaints and have the powers of a civil court in trying cases.
States should constitute a State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) or the Right to Education Protection Authority (REPA) within six months of 1 April. Any person wishing to file a grievance must submit a written complaint to the local authority.
Appeals will be decided by the SCPCR/REPA. Prosecution of offences requires the sanction of an officer authorized by the appropriate government.
Q. How does RTE translate into action and become a reality?
A. Substantial efforts are essential to eliminate disparities and ensure quality with equity. UNICEF will play an instrumental role in bringing together relevant stakeholders from government, civil society, teachers’ organizations, media and the celebrity world.
UNICEF will mobilize partners to raise public awareness and provide a call to action. Policy and programme design/implementation will focus on improving the access and quality education based on what works to improve results for children. UNICEF will also work with partners to strengthen national and state level monitoring bodies on RTE.