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RTE creates unease among institutions in Nagaland
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, FEB 6 (NPN):
Published on 7 Feb. 2011 12:49 AM IST
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With the decision to implement the Right to Education (RTE) act from this academic year all over the state, the state government will be placed with a dilemma when all the salient features of the RTE would have to be implemented in letter and spirit. With the act turning into a fundamental issue with riders, many private schools are showing less inclination to implement the act while the government schools have started grappling for adequate infrastructures and faculty.
On the forefront, the very term ‘free and compulsory education up to elementary school’ have put almost all the private schools in a tight spot while the nominal fees charged in government schools derides the clause. It may be noted that the act defines ‘free’ as removal of any financial barrier by the state that prevents a child from completing eight years of schooling
With many government schools charging admission, stationary and sports feee (some even collect medical and electricity fee) from students, the question on whether the term ‘free’ has been exactly understood has been brought forth into the open. Moreover, the Education department seems to have no provisions for extending any financial help to the government run schools even for basic stationeries. “We do not receive any sort of financial or material help from the department for stationary purpose” lamented a Deputy Inspector of Schools
On one hand the department officials have been standing by the term ‘free’ as given in the act, on the other, many school administrators and VECs have admitted helplessness in executing the clause if they do not receive any financial help from the state government.
Though the SSA programme has helped to rebuild some certain infrastructures in many government schools besides other assistance, even the distribution of free textbooks remain as another concern with reports of shortage of supplies streaming in.
The provision of reserving 25 percent of seats for children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the neighborhood in private schools has become an impediment for the act. It may be mentioned that many unaided private schools have even petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the 25 per cent reservation of seats as “unconstitutional” and “violating fundamental rights of unaided private educational institutions”.
Another area of concern has been on the human resource front, with the act spelling out the students to teacher ratio at 30:1. With the classroom environment of many schools especially private ones, running at an average of 50:1 or in some cases even as high as 80:1, the government and private school proprietors will have to increase their staff strength by many folds. While clause 25 of the act calls for ensure that the pupil-teacher ratio, as specified in the schedule within six months from the date of commencement of the act, taking into account the ongoing tussle between various ‘aggrieved’ teachers association and the government, plus the reservation and exemption for BTs on the ongoing recruitment of teachers, the implementation part might be found wanting.
Some of the penalties mentioned in the act include; fine upto 10 times the capitation fee if taken, Rs 25,000 for first contravention and Rs 50000 for each subsequent contravention; if screening test is conducted and lastly a penalty of Rs one lakh; in case of continuing contravention, penalty of Rs 10,000 for day, if the school does not obtain recognition. Interestingly, while the act authorizes the government to take actions against the defaulting schools, the hard fact remains that the private institutions have better infrastructure and basic requirements than government-run ones.
No doubt, the act has put almost the entire onus on the state governments but huge effort will also be needed from various quarters if the act has to be executed under the purview of social equality and education for all.
Right To Education
For The Children/Students
Free education
Not enrolled/dropout children be admitted to age appropriate class. Special training to enable such children to be at par with others and child so admitted entitled to completion of EE even after age 14
Softens barriers like birth certificate, transfer certificate, etc
No child shall be psychologically abused by calling him/her ‘failed’ in any class upto class 8, or expelling him/her from school
Bars corporal punishment, mental harassment
For Teachers
Qualification for appointment of teachers to be laid down by academic authority authorized by Central Government
To address the problem of untrained teachers and lays down academic responsibilities of teachers
Prohibits private tuition by teachers and deployment of teachers for non-education purpose, except decennial census, disaster relief and elections
For Schools (Private & Government)
All unaided schools to provide free education to at least 25% children from the neighborhood – as a measure of ensuring common schooling. Costs reimbursed @ per child expenditure incurred by the State or actual fee charged, whichever is less.
Special training for previously not enrolled or dropout children to enable them to be en par with others
Make child free from fear, trauma and anxiety
Be child centred, child friendly; provide for learning through activities
Medium of instruction – child mother tongue to the extent possible
Provide for comprehensive and continuous evaluation
No Board examinations till completion of EE
No capitation fees
No screening for admission
Recognition of schools. (Obtain recognition within 3 years, if not recognized)
Community participation ensured through School Managing Committee (SMC) comprising elected representatives, teachers and parents. ¾ of the members should be from amongst the parents of children in the school out of which 50% should be women

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