Right To Education (Rte) Salient Features


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  • There has been a lot of debate on elementary education as a fundamental right. I propose to take you through the main issues
  • The 86 th Constitutional Amendment was passed 5 years ago in December 2002. It provided for insertion of Art 21A, emanating from Art 21 being the Fundamental Right to Life. Art 21A provides for free and compulsory education to children in the 6-14 age group as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution of India. Consequent to this insertion the existing Art 45 in the Directive Principles was replaced and made applicable to children in the 0-6 age group. The 86 th Constitutional Amendment also stipulates that it shall come into force from such date as notified in the official gazette. This notification has not issued on account of the issue of the consequential legislation under Art 21A. Thus the Constitutional Amendment for free and compulsory education is not yet in force.
  • At least six draft Bills – The last one has reached Parliament
  • So what does the Bill provide: Child Rights Not just enrollment, but right to completion of elementary education Those who are not enrolled, would be facilitated to join an age appropriate class – its traumatic for older children to sit in class with younger children; so therefore special training to enable them to join a class appropriate to their age. There is facility for these children to complete EE even after they cross age 14 The issue of certificates – age certificate, transfer certificate – causes huge harassment – the Bill doesn’t do away with these, but attempts to soften the stress they cause. Has an wide ranging definition for ‘free’ covering any financial barrier that prevents a child from completing 8 years of education – It does not itemise these, because financial barriers would differ from area to area Clarifies ‘compulsion’ – as compulsion on State, not parents No child to be declared failed – follows a no-detention policy; no child to be expelled; bars corporal punishment
  • Teachers One of the problems we face on account of the huge expansion of the education system is that we do not have institutional capacity for producing trained teachers. There is a debate between academics and administrators. Academics feel that on no account should untrained teachers be appointed; administrators take a practical view – that you cannot let a generation of children be deprived of education for want of trained teachers – therefore many states are resorting to engaging untrained teachers. Most of the untrained teachers are in the educationally backward states – huge numbers (40%) in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, etc. The Bill provides a period of five years for all untrained teachers to acquire the requisite qualifications. The Bill also lays down the academic responsibilities of teachers – that they shall attend school regularly, in time, transact the curriculum, provide remedial teaching, where required, ensure contact with the parents of children. It prohibits private tuition – we hope that this will ensure that teachers spend more time in school Also prohibits deployment of non-educational activities – cattle census, water pump census, tree census. Except for decennial census (once in 10 years, disaster relief – (Kosi breach, tsunami, Gujarat earthquake), elections – all levels: Parliament, Assembly and Local Bodies.
  • In so far as schools are concerned, the Bill lays down certain norms and standards – applicable to all, government and private. These relate to infrastructure – all weather schools, one class per teacher – so we shouldn’t have a situation of two teachers, each teaching two-three classes, and sharing the same room. Infrastructure norms also include provision for drinking water and toilets – these days a lot of emphasis is given to provisioning for drinking water and toilets by the DWM and TSC. It lays down a PTR: 1:30 at primary and 1:35 at upper primary, with provision for subject teachers – one each for Science, Maths and Social Science at upper primary School days – officially are approx 220 – 230 per year. But in reality schools remain close for more than half the prescribed calendar Working hours for teachers – 45 hours including preparation time. Community participation ensure through SMCs
  • These provisions are applicable to private schools: No capitation No screening tests for admission No school to function without recognition 25% admission to children from disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood,
  • Responsibilities of appropriate government, local authority Read
  • Curriculum This is the crux of quality and equity
  • The bottomline is how do you ensure that the child’s right is protected:
  • Right To Education (Rte) Salient Features

    1. 1. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill As passed by the Rajya Sabha on 20 th July 2009
    2. 2. 86 th Constitutional Amendment, 2002 <ul><li>Art 21-A inserted in Fundamental Rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the State may, by law , determine. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stipulates that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ it shall come into force from such date as the Central Government may by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint’. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Notification will be issued after enactment of consequential legislation under Art 21-A. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Follow up legislations <ul><li>2003: The Free and Compulsory Education For Children </li></ul><ul><li>Bill, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>2004: The Free and Compulsory Education For Children </li></ul><ul><li> Bill, 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>2005: The Right to Education Bill, 2005 (CABE Bill) </li></ul><ul><li>2005: The Right to Education Bill, 2005 (August) </li></ul><ul><li>2006: The Model Right to Education Bill, 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>2008/9: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory </li></ul><ul><li>Education Bill, 2008, introduced/ passed in Rajya Sabha </li></ul>
    4. 4. The Bill: Child rights <ul><li>Right of Children t o free and compulsory admission, attendance and completion of EE. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defines ‘free’ as removal of any financial barrier by the state that prevents a child from completing eight years of schooling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And defines ‘compulsion’ as compulsion on the state, rather than targeting parents . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not enrolled/dropout children be admitted to age appropriate class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Special training to enable such children to be at par with others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Child so admitted entitled to completion of EE even after age 14 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Softens barriers like birth certificate, transfer certificate, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No child shall be psychologically abused by calling him/her ‘failed’ in any class upto class 8, or expelling him/her from school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bars corporal punishment, mental harassment </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Teachers <ul><li>Qualification for appointment of teachers to be laid down by academic authority authorised by Central Government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To address the problem of untrained teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lays down academic responsibilities of teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibits private tuition by teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibits deployment of teachers for non-education purpose, except decennial census, disaster relief and elections </li></ul>
    6. 6. Schools <ul><li>Norms and standards specified </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PTR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School days; working days for teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community participation ensured through SMC comprising elected reps, teachers and parents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>¾ members from among parents of children in the school; 50% women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proportionate representation to weaker and deprived sections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SMC to plan, manage and monitor – in collaboration with the local authority </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Schools <ul><li>No capitation fees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Penalty: fine upto 10 times the capitation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No screening for admission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Penalty: fine of Rs 25,000 for 1 st contravention and Rs 50000 for each subsequent contravention </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No school without recognition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Penalty: Rs one lakh; in case of continuing contravention, penalty of Rs 10,000 for day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All unaided schools to provide free education to at least 25% children from the neighbourhood – as a measure of ensuring common schooling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Costs reimbursed @ per child expenditure incurred by the State or actual fee charged, whichever is less </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Appropriate Government, Local Authority <ul><li>Ensure free and compulsory education </li></ul><ul><li>Provide schools in neighbourhood within 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>Children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups not to be discriminated against </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure, school building, teaching staff, learning equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Special training for previously not enrolled or drop out children to enable them to be en par with others </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring of admission, attendance, completion of EE </li></ul><ul><li>Good quality EE conforming to specified norms and standards </li></ul><ul><li>Timely prescription of curriculum, courses of study, teachers’ training </li></ul>
    9. 9. Curriculum <ul><li>Curriculum by prescribed academic authority should: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conform to constitutional values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make child free from fear, trauma and anxiety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be child centred, child friendly; provide for learning through activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medium of instruction – child mother tongue to the extent possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide for comprehensive and continuous evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No Board examinations till completion of EE </li></ul>
    10. 10. Protection of Right <ul><li>Bill assigns NCPCR/SCPCR additional functions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examine and review safeguards for rights under this Act, recommend measures for effective implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inquire into complaints relating to child’s right to free and compulsory education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NCPCR/SCPCR have powers assigned under Section 14 and 24 of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act </li></ul><ul><li>Where SCPCR not constituted, appropriate Government may constitute an Authority </li></ul>
    11. 11. Commonly raised issues Exclusion of 0-6 age group; also suggestions for extending Bill to age 18 Bill derived from the 86 th Constitutional Amendment. Hence restricted to 6-14 age group. No explicit reference to child labour Clause 8 casts a compulsion on the State to provide free and compulsory education to every child. Explanation to Clause 8(a): ‘compulsory education’ means obligation of the appropriate Government to provide free compulsory education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of EE by every child. Far better way of curbing child labour – by legally declaring that every child has to be in school.
    12. 12. Commonly raised issues On the inclusion of private schools Forefront of all controversies. One view: Article 21-A states that ‘the State shall provide free and compulsory education’ means that schools which receive no financial aid from the Government should be kept outside the purview of the Bill. Another view: ‘State’ does not merely mean governmental system, but includes government and private systems. Private fee-charging schools are an impediment to the concept of ‘common school system’, and should be brought within the ambit of the legislation. The Bill avoids both these extreme positions: provides for 25% admission to children belonging to weaker sections & disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood
    13. 13. Commonly raised issues Adequacy of norms and standards This is a beginning. Clause 20 of the Bill also provides for the Central Government to amend the schedule by adding to or omitting from the schedule. As we progress the norms and standards can be enhanced. Inclusion of parents in the compulsion laws. Why is there no provision for punishment for parents? Most children who do not attend school are from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups. Penalising their parents would be tantamount to penalizing poverty. Many children are first generation learners, deprived of a learning environment at home, and drop out because of difficulty in coping with the curriculum. Inflicting penalties on parents because their children have have been pushed out of the education system would be discriminatory.
    14. 14. Commonly raised issues Why no detention, no examinations? Wouldn’t quality suffer? Examinations are known to produce mental trauma. Fear of failure, particularly at a tender age, leads to loss of self esteem. ‘ No detention policy’ does not imply abandoning procedures that test the learning abilities of the child; ‘ No detention policy’ implies putting in place a continuous and comprehensive procedure of child evaluation and recording it so that the teacher can use it as a guide in helping each child reach desired levels of educational achievement.
    15. 15. Commonly raised issues Issue of finances: Mechanism of central and state funding <ul><li>Bill provides that </li></ul><ul><li>Central Government shall prepare the estimates of capital and recurring expenditure, </li></ul><ul><li>Central Government shall provide to the State Governments a percentage of the expenditure as GIA of revenues. This percentage shall be determined from time to time in consultation with the States, </li></ul><ul><li>Central Government may make a request to the President to make a reference to the Finance Commission to examine the need for additional resources to be provided to any State Government for carrying out the provisions of the Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Finance Commission allocations, specific to elementary education, would be welcomed by the States, as they would provide for direct central funding without being dependent on central schemes </li></ul>
    16. 16. Next Steps: Central Government <ul><li>Prepare estimates of capital and recurring expenditure </li></ul><ul><li>Determine the percentage of expenditure to be provided to States </li></ul><ul><li>Finance Commission to examine the need for additional resources </li></ul><ul><li>Notify the 86 th Constitutional Amendment in the Gazette </li></ul><ul><li>Notify the new Act in the Gazette </li></ul><ul><li>Harmonize SSA norms with RTE </li></ul>
    17. 17. Next Steps: States <ul><li>Initiate action under delegated legislation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Review existing state legislations on compulsory education and legislations on organisation and management of private schools. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ensure access to all children in ‘neighbourhood’ as prescribed </li></ul><ul><li>Notify plan for automatic progression from primary to upper primary; designate schools and feeder school </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Children should not have to run from pillar to post for transition to u/primary in schools that terminate at primary stage. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ensure all schools conform to norms and standards prescribed in schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Review content and curriculum in line with Section 29. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Next Steps: States <ul><li>Undertake redeployment of teachers to ensure prescribed PTR is maintained in all schools. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure untrained teachers are not appointed in future; existing untrained teachers to receive training </li></ul><ul><li>Notify that teachers shall not be deployed for non-academic work, except as provided under RTE. </li></ul><ul><li>Notify that teachers shall not give private tuitions. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure no-detention policy </li></ul><ul><li>No Board exams till completion of EE. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institute system of ongoing and continuous evaluation; prescribe manner in which children would be awarded certificates at end of EE </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ensure no-expulsion policy/ Ban corporal punishments </li></ul>
    19. 19. Next Steps - States <ul><li>Set up SMCs - Enforce management and supervision of schools with community support </li></ul><ul><li>Notify all panchayats, municipalities as local authority </li></ul><ul><li>Where SCPCRs are not constituted, constitute authority to perform functions in clause 31(1) </li></ul><ul><li>Ascertain which schools are under obligation to provide free seats for land/ Prescribe manner in which per-child expenditure will be reimbursed to other schools </li></ul><ul><li>Prescribe mechanism for private schools to obtain certificate of recognition </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>Thank You </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><ul><li>Notify year-round admission; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Onus not on the child to apply for upper primary – State to make it happen. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure automatic transition from primary to upper primary; transfer certificate to be issued by Head Teacher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No denial of admission on account of birth records or other papers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers to be trained for older children; arrangements for special training for older children within school and time; eventually to mainstream them to age appropriate class. </li></ul></ul>