Even three years after the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act was implemented, many government schools still have huge infrastructural gaps, a report by an NGO said Wednesday.
According to a survey by Child Rights and You (CRY), 11 percent of government schools did not have toilets, only 18 percent had separate washrooms for girls and boys and 34 percent of them were in a very bad condition or were unusable.
The survey was conducted in 642 schools across 13 states and 71 districts.
“Although RTE clearly signifies separate toilets for girls and boys, there is no provision for this, which results in a lot of inconvenience. In certain schools, toilets don’t even have doors or water,” said CRY chief executive Puja Marwaha.
The findings also indicated that only 13 percent of the schools provided “age appropriate admission”. Although not required by the RTE Act, proof of age was asked for in 61 percent schools and was mandatory in 47 percent of institutions.
“Many school headmasters and principals are not aware of the provisions of the RTE. The Act clearly indicates that no child can be denied admission for lack of their age proof. Even then, 46 percent schools ask for transfer certificates from children and 47 percent schools ask for proof of age, which is a huge barrier for migrant children,” Marwaha said.
The report also indicates that only 35 percent of teachers in primary schools had passed Class 12 or had a diploma in education and 56 percent were graduates or post-graduates. Only 37 percent upper primary teachers had passed Class 12 or had a diploma in education.
“The report indicates that most of the teachers are not qualified. Most of them prepare mid-day meals. They cook instead of teaching,” she said.
“We will submit the findings of our report to the Ministry of Human Resource Development as one cannot expect children to study in a school without basic infrastructure like safe classrooms, clean drinking water and functioning toilets,” Marwaha added.