New norms sc backs right to education -

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New norms sc backs right to education -

  1. 1. New norms for schools as SC backs Right to EducationDhananjay Mahapatra & Himanshi Dhawan, TNN Apr 13, 2012, 12.02AM IST (The SC directed schools,…)NEW DELHI: With the SupremeCourt throwing its full weight behindthe Right of Children to Free andCompulsory Education Act, 2009,(better known as the Right toEducation Act or RTE Act), thecomposition of students in schoolsas well as the economics of running 1
  2. 2. schools will undergo dramaticchanges.The apex court upheld the constitutional validity of the Act anddirected all schools, including privately-run schools, irrespective ofthe board they are affiliated to, to admit from this academic year(2012-13) at least 25% students from socially and economicallybackward families. These students will be guaranteed freeeducation from class I till they reach the age of 14.This means the nature of the classroom will change. Until now,several schools were holding a separate shift for students frompoor families after the main school was over. Under the RTE Act,they will have to induct these students in the main class - in otherwords, 25% of every class will have students from socially andeconomically disadvantaged families.While many educationists feel the resultant social integration willmake education more meaningful, the reaction of some expensiveschools as well as of some parents hasnt been positive. Also, theneed to give free education to 25% students is expected toincrease the expenditure of schools, which is likely to lead toanother round of fee hikes. 2
  3. 3. The schools will get a subsidy from the government for giving freeeducation (65% of the subsidy will come from the Centre and 35%from states), but the subsidy is not expected to meet the full cost.The government subsidy will be based on the expenditure perstudent in government schools or Kendriya Vidyalayas, whilemany private schools spend (or at least, charge as fee) muchmore.According to estimates, the government spends Rs 3,000 perchild per year for primary education. The Centre has given statesthe freedom to implement its own grants and aids, but manystates are financially broke and the grants vary from state to state.For instance, Delhi gives about Rs 1,200 per child per month,while Haryana doesnt give any aid to schools. Someeducationists said that now private schools would have to hikefees as 75% of the class would have to pay for the 25% studentsadmitted under the RTE Act.Reacting to the Supreme Court order, HRD minister Kapil Sibalsaid, "I am very happy that the court has set all controversies atrest. One of the biggest controversies was on whether the 25%reservation applies to private schools or not... that controversyhas been set to rest." 3
  4. 4. The court has, however, sought a clarification from thegovernment on applicability of RTE Act to boarding schools andorphanages as the legislation applied only to day scholars. "Toput the matter beyond doubt, we recommend that appropriateguidelines be issued under Section 35 of the 2009 Act clarifyingthe above position," the bench headed by Chief Justice S HKapadia said.According to 2007-08 statistics quoted by the Supreme Court, outof the 12,50,755 schools imparting elementary education in India,80.2% were government run, 5.8% private aided and 13.1%private unaided. Of these, 87.2% of the schools were located inrural areas.According to RTE activist Kiran Bhatty, former nationalcoordinator for the monitoring of the RTE, several violations hadcropped up recently, including non-compliance of the 25% quotafor economically weaker sections. Other violations includedrunning two shifts instead of integrating students in the class andconducting admission tests.While National University of Planning and Administrations vicechancellor R Govinda did not rule out initial "turmoil", he said 4
  5. 5. some "restructuring" on the part of government and privateschools was necessary. He added that there was an increasing"ghettoisation of schools" that will now be discouraged. "The fullimpact will be seen in 7-8 years when the composition of thestudent community will change," he said.Madarsas and institutions of vedic learning will continue to beoutside the ambit of the Act as the HRD ministry has declaredthem as institutions of religious instruction rather than educationalinstitutions as described under the RTE.WILL FEES RISE?What is RTE?Free school education up to age of 14 for students from socially &economically backward familiesDoes RTE apply to all schools?Yes, even private, convent schools, irrespective of the board.Only madrasas & Vedic schools exemptWhat age group does RTE apply to?To children from age 6 to 14, or from Class 1 to 8Will there be a fee hike? 5
  6. 6. Most probably as govt subsidy wont meet full cost of providingfree education to 25% studentsWill students from poor families be in same classroom?Yes. RTE says these students must be integrated in the mainclassroomCan teachers hold private tuitions?RTE says that no teacher can take private tuitionsFEATURED ARTICLESTHE TIMES OF INDIA© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved 6

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