The Right To Education (RTE), initiated during the UPA regime, today got a thumbs-up from the NDA government which said its implementation had not been tardy as 19.88 crore children have been enrolled at the elementary level. "No, the progress under RTE Act 2009 indicates that 19.88 crore children have been enrolled in elementary school, with a gross enrolment ratio of 96.5 per cent as per district information system for education 2013-14," HRD Minister Smriti Irani said in Rajya Sabha today.
She said this in a written reply to a question by D Raja and M P Achuthan as to whether it was a fact that the implementation of RTE has been tardy. The minister said that the average drop out rate has come down from 6.8 per cent in 2009-10 to 4.7 per cent in 2013-14 at the primary level. The RTE Act 2009 provided for free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14.
To a related question, the Minister said availability of teacher in elementary education has improved with additional recruitment of 15.06 lakh teachers funded under the Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan programme, an important the RTE programme. Talking about the Rashtriya Uchchattar Sikshya Abhiyan Programme, which seeks to universalise secondary education, she said while 23 states are participating in the programme, state higher education plans have been received from 13 states and Rs 310.40 crore has been released to different states till June this year.