The Right to Education Act

Ever since India got independence in 1947, education has always been our top priority. Whether it is the ‘Savitribai Phule Yojana’ for girl child education or the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’- the right to education act seems like a relief and similarly a ray of hope which promises to bring education at one’s doorstep.

What is the act about? (the exact portions from the written act)

•    Every child between the ages of 6 to 14 years has the right to free and compulsory education.
•    The government schools will have to provide free education to all the children and the schools will be managed by school management committees (SMC)
•    The RTI promises to that it is compulsory for private schools to include at least 25% of students from the lower sections. The National Commission for Elementary Education has to be a body to monitor all aspects of elementary education including quality.

How ever idealistic it may sound, the government has done nothing apart form sanctioning huge amounts of money for the implementation of this act. Apart from that there have always been loopholes in the cited measures in the written act. This questions the credibility of the execution of the act.
The act mentions free and compulsory education for children till they are 14.But it fails to include children below and beyond the age. It is noted that rural children after they get some education do not have a source to earn and are thus caught in the vicious circle of child labor.

Also the teachers in municipal schools are nothing but a disappointment. According to government provisions there has to be a teacher for each class, but the reality is quite different. In the smaller taluka schools, just 2 teachers are in charge of at least 5 classes. The RTI clearly states that there has to be no compromise with respect to the teachers without whom this act remains void of implementation. For those, teachers are expected to be punctual, are responsible for completing the decided curriculum and should stick to the guidelines by the education ministry. But no training has yet been giving to them.

So when they say free education do they mean quality education?

Also the act states uniform education to all over the country. But statistical data on the education difficulty levels states that the curriculum in some developed cities like Bangalore. Delhi and Chennai is higher to that of cities like Chhattisgarh, Bihar or Assam. A uniform syllabus will mean that they have to lower their level. The act needs expert suggestions from all the three boards namely the CBSE ICSE and the SSC boards in order to take uniform steps thus enabling overall transformation in the system.

The food and milk to all primary school kids although lures us ,almost 5 in 10 kids have reported the food given to them is of much inferior quality than promised and that the milk they get is most of the times sour and pungent.

In a country like ours what is required is an overall makeover in the system and education to all should be quality education to all .Only then we can at least dream of being in par with the western education. Till then the act still remains a mere document!

Ankita Bhatkhande

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