Right to Education after two years-long way to Go
Created by nabamaster on Sun, 2012-04-01 14:21
2 years on to RTE Act
Long way to go
1st April 2012 marked the second year completion of the RTE Act in
Recent trend on RTE intervention in Odisha
The mapping of acceleration and implementation of the Act reveals that over 81.5 lakh children still remain out of school and 34.12% of children with disabilities still remain out of school and there is an urgent need to ensure that children with disabilities are provided adequate support both to reach school and grasp their potential.
Odisha was the second state to enact the RTE Act and formed the state rules as a matter to speed up implementation in the state. Recently, National Review Mission Team of Government of India has also appreciated innovative interventions initiated by School & Mass Education Department of Odisha in primary education wing.
According to the Annual Survey on Education Report (ASER) findings, Odisha has made progress in the field of Gross Enrolment Ratio, and in reducing out of school children in the elementary schools of the state. Around 95% of the total children (6-14 years) have been enrolled in the public schools and the figure lines a prospect mark in comparison to other states like Jharkhand and Kerala. The official statistics of Odisha Legislative Assembly reveals that a total of 4488904 students in class 1 to 5 enrolled themselves in public schools this year. The drop-out student’s population in primary level has been estimated at 10441 and out of school children number is 72048 .However, ASER data states that the out of school children rate is 7.2% in Odisha and it is even 21.9% in Malkangiri district. The RTE Act has clearly stated that 25% children belonging to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) are to be provided free education in private schools but still it is mounting to ambiguity as no examples of such cases are found so far. Education is conceptualized to be free at the elementary stage. However, Act stands long distance from its conceptuality to reality. According to the National Sample Survey (NSS) 64th Round in 2008 , per capita out-of-pocket expenditure incurred by an average parent in government schools at the elementary stage is Rs 1243.
Reaching the unreached
The issue of educating tribal children has also been well defined in the RTE Act. This is very much contextual in the case of Odisha where 15 out of 30 districts are largely dominated by tribal population. In Odisha, tribal constitute 23% of the total population. About 32 tribes speak in their own languages excluding Odia and other official languages. Around 13 primitive groups live without having access to communication and education. The enrolment figure of ST Children (6-14 yrs) in schools in Orissa is 1371897. However, the School and Mass education Department of Odisha has taken a welcome step to introduce 10 tribal languages where the children will be taught in the classrooms.
The issues of teachers
Teachers are considered in the Act, major assets in bringing reforms and progress in the education scenario of our country. But due to the lack of adequate number of quality and trained teachers, the prescribed outcomes are not coming. According to DISE 2010, percentage of single teacher primary schools remains at 12.26%in the country. The School and Mass Education Department of Odisha also confess that out of 56535 schools, there are 14306 schools where toilets are dysfunctional. There are 9000 schools in the state with single teacher. Taking the instance of the (SSA) statistics of Sonepur district where out of the 987 schools, 231 run with a single teacher. However, during the recent budget speech, the Finance Minister of Odisha has declared that financial concurrence has been given for recruitment of 85,850 teacher posts for the School and Mass Education Department
Budget for Children on Education
Fiscal priorities play a prominent role in improvement in indices of development indicators. But the most disheartening factor is that most of the states’ spending is generally on non-plan expenditures of recurrent nature. Besides, the provision for mid-day meal is ` 638 crore for 65 lakh children which puts the cost of each meal at ` 4.38 a day which is insufficient to provide calorific value to the children.
In Odisha, though the budget of the school and mass education department has increased by 20.67 percent to Rs. 6537.40 Cr but as a percentage of GSDP, the education budget is only 2.51 percent which was 2.53 percent in 2011-12(RE). Elementary education budget within the School and mass education department has increased by 27.88%. In 2011-12(RE) elementary education budget was Rs 3334.26 Cr which increased to Rs 4263.99 Cr in 2012-13(BE).
The fresh appraisal of the Act summarizes that the two years of the implementation of the Act has not covered much ground. In terms of creating policy framework, plan of action and conducive space for its implementation, The state as well as the country must invest and ensure in making the Act a justiciable rights for the children. Strategis must be taken forward in apposite manner so that the real issues of RTE can be articulated and our children enjoy free ,compulsory and quality elementary education.
___________________________________________________________________Mr.Naba Kishor Pujari is an RTE Activist and Advocacy Coordinator, National Coalition for Education. Currently, Fellow, JP Overton Fellowship for Education Policy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org