RTE deadline passes, but 90 percent schools still to comply: Report

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) As the deadline for implementing the Right to Education Act expired March 31, a group of civil society organisations have claimed that less than 10 percent schools are RTE-compliant in terms of infrastructure and teacher availability.

They have sought a pan-India review of the implementation of the act.

The organisations, which come under an umbrella group called RTE Forum, Wednesday released a report on the implementation of the RTE Act.

Funds have been allocated, but growth has been “sporadic”, the report said.

“While it is undeniable that additional government resources have been allotted, more teacher posts and infrastructure sanctioned, and administrative changes brought about, these efforts have been sporadic,” said the report.

“The sheer fact that less than 10 percent schools are RTE-compliant in terms of infrastructure and teacher availability is reflective of the reality of poor performance on the ground,” it said.

“The tough issue of adequate financing, regulation of private providers, setting up of a transparency and redressal mechanism have not been addressed on the ground”.

It also points out that India’s commitment to provide education to millions of its children has “stagnated, between centre and state”.

On the positive side, the report highlights that 77 percent schools comply with the neighbourhood norms as per RTE, and are within reach of the community. When it comes to infrastructure, 79 percent schools have all-weather buildings, but only 50 percent have a boundary wall.

Around five percent of the schools in the sample were run in a single room, nearly two-thirds had three or more classrooms, and only a third of the schools had seven or more classrooms.

Nearly 80 percent of the schools also had teaching-learning material accessible to teachers and students.

When it comes to playgrounds, overall, 58 percent schools reported they had playgrounds, while 58 percent said they had some kind of play material. This ratio varies among states.

While in Tamil Nadu, 82 percent schools have playgrounds, states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and West Bengal still have to provide playgrounds to 44 to 60 percent of their schools.

Safe drinking water is available in 77.8 percent schools. In states like Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, more than 75 percent schools reported that they had separate toilets for girls.

However, in Odisha, only 14 percent schools had separate girls’ toilets, in Andhra Pradesh, 46.3 percent, and in Bihar, 46 percent.

Teachers recruitment remains a problem, as the study shows only 56.6 percent schools comply with the pupil-teacher ratio of 30:1.

The study also found that while the act says no teachers shall be deployed for any non-educational work other than census, disaster relief and local, state and general elections, more than 47 percent teachers were involved in activities other than these.

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