Right to free education is a dream of every welfare state, India took initiative in this regard by introducing RTE but it appears that it is still a dream. Two years have been passed since the Right to Education came into existence but its goal is still unfulfilled more than 95 per cent of schools in the country do not comply with its guidelines, a research by an NGO has found.
Data compiled by RTE forum with inputs from its members from across the country points out that only one out of 10 schools in 2010-11 had drinking water facilities, while two out of every five schools lacked a functional toilet.
The report also shows lack of training facilities for teachers, adversely affecting the quality of primary education in India.
Nearly 36 per cent of all sanctioned posts of teachers in the country are lying vacant. Of this, the national capital alone accounts for 21,000 vacancies, while 1,000 posts are vacant in Odisha, RTE forum’s report says.
The guidelines under the RTE act specify that schools “established, owned, controlled or substantially funded by the government or local authorities” must ensure that the vacancy of teachers “shall not exceed 10 per cent of the total sanctioned strength“.
The study also found teachers in Haryana being engaged in non-teaching activities like construction work or working as contractors in the mid-day meal programme.
“No teacher shall be deployed for any non-educational purpose other than the decennial population census, disaster relief duties or duties relating to elections to the local authority or the state legislature or parliament,” according to the guidelines of the RTE act.
The data shows that the national average for pupil to teacher ratio is worryingly high at 1:80, against the prescribed ratio of 1:30 for primary and 1:35 for upper primary level under the act.
“There is an urgent need to mobilise people who can demand that the government do its part in implementing the act. As a civil society organisation, we will create awareness among people and monitor the implementation of the act,” convener of RTE forum Ambarish Rai said.