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The shocking statistics of Right to Education non-compliance
A review by the Right to Education Forum - a civil society collective comprising around 10,000 NGOs and three networks - has shown that while some progress has been made in implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act, it is far from adequate.

THE RTE stipulates three years to ensure the fulfillment of the majority of its milestones, which terminate on 1 April 2013. The nation has, in effect, only a year to fulfill the historic promise made to ensure that every child in the country has a school of acceptable quality. On 3 April, 2012 a draft report regarding the status of the implementation of RTE Act was released by the RTE Forum. Some of the highlights of the report are below:

95.2% of schools are not compliant with complete set of RTE infrastructure indicators.

In 2009-10, only 4.8% of government schools had all nine facilities stipulated under the RTE Act.

Eight of the nine facilities are present in 11.41% schools. Approximately one third of the schools have up to seven facilities and about 30% schools do not have even five.

One in ten schools lack drinking water facilities.

Forty percent schools lack a functional common toilet.

Forty percent schools lack a separate toilet for girls.

Sixty percent schools are not electrified.

Half the schools lacked even a ramp for access by the disabled.

One in every five schools had a computer.

93% of teacher candidates failed the National Teacher Eligibility Test conducted by CBSE. This is a national examination to test teacher aptitude and is a prerequisite for being appointed to teach.

36% of all sanctioned teaching posts are vacant.

6.7 lakh teachers are professionally unqualified and untrained.

99.68% children reported one or more type of punishment in school.

A study released by the NCPCR during 2012, based on evidence collected in 2009-10, found that only nine out of 6,632 students in seven states who were surveyed denied that they received any kind of punishment in schools. 99.86% children reported experiencing one or the other kind of punishment. As many as 81.2% children were subject to outward rejection by being told that they were not capable of learning. Out of the total, 75% reported that they had been hit by a cane and 69% had been slapped on their cheeks.

40% of primary schools have a student classroom ratio higher than 1:30.

Child Labour: Still not illegal. Children in Agriculture outside purview.

The government failed to spend 30% of the funds allocated forSarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)/RTE in 2010-11 compared to 78% in the year earlier.

National Convener of RTE forum Ambarish Rai says, “Current status paints a bleak picture for children as more than 95% schools don’t adhere to government norms and we have only one year left to meet the criteria laid in the RTE Act. After more than 100 years of struggle now that we have the RTE Act in place, it is sad to see the lackadaisical attitude of state governments in implementing the Right to Education as a fundamental right in the true sense”.

Ambarish Rai also added that along with allocations, expenditures, too, are a cause for concern. He added, “Last year, the government spent 78% of the funds allocated for (SSA) and RTE. This year, the expenditure has dropped to 70%.” He cited the Planning, Allocations and Expenditures, Institutions: Studies in Accountability report, prepared by the Accountability Initiative for these figures.

At the same time, the National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights have been tasked to take on the mammoth role of monitoring adhering to the RTE. However, these state structures (SCPCRs or REPAs) are not in place in a majority of the states with only 21 states having constituted either an SCPCR or a REPA. “These bodies are critical in protecting the larger interest of children including education,” said Shireen Vakil Miller, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Save the Children.

The report points out that a lack of availability or recruitment of teachers remains a critical issue. According to DISE data during 2010-11, 40% schools failed to reach the primary grade norm of a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:30. Similarly, 70% primary schools failed to attain the RTE teacher-pupil ratio norm of 1:35. “This is a key factor in determining quality of education,” said Anjela Taneja, Education Co-ordinator with Oxfam India.

The report also cites DISE data, which suggests that 21% of teachers in schools were not professionally trained. The number of such teachers in December 2011 was as high as 6.7 lakh. States such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Orissa have especially large pools of unqualified teachers, which directly impacts the quality of education in schools. In comparison with 2010, when 91% of teachers failed to clear the national Teacher Eligibility Test (TET), this year the number stands at 93%. “This reflects the quality of instruction in teacher training institutes,” said Mr. Rai.Infrastructure remains an issue to be dealt with. The pace at which infrastructure is being added is slow, says the report. “There is, consequently, a huge infrastructural backlog that requires to be cleared, which makes the slow pace doubly unfortunate. Around 4% of habitations lack a primary school within a walking distance. Still we have 16 million children out of school” said Mr Rai.

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