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Understaffing and lack of teachers' training impacting elementary education quality: Vice President
Addressing the National Stocktaking Convention organized by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum on March 21, Vice President M. Hamid Ansari said the RTE Act that was passed six years ago had shown promising developments but issues such as the quality of education, the high number of drop-outs and out of school children and the absence of equity in education were needed to be addressed.
He was of the view that quantity, quality and equality in education were the three planks of RTE. He suggested that the monitoring of the implementation of the Act needs to be taken more seriously by forging vibrant partnerships among the departments and organizations concerned with children.

As per the released text of his address, the pertinent excerpts are as follows:

The quality of education suffers due to understaffing and lack of training of teachers. The flow of public fund has so far been focused on developing school infrastructure. Teacher training has been a neglected area.

  • Around 10% of schools across the country remained single teacher schools. Teacher absenteeism, which is rampant in several parts of the country, particularly impacts the disadvantaged students.

  • We continue to see children working at roadside restaurants, in people's homes, at construction sites, in shops and on the roads. However, to pick these children up and put them in school is hardly as easy as it sounds.

  • Cases of discrimination on the basis of caste; and neglect of targeted elementary education schemes for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other backward communities are serious in nature.

  • Legislation is one aspect of the matter. The experience gained in operating the RTE for the past 6 years should inform the correctives to reduce the gaps and overcome the shortcomings.

  • "Although state education departments and local education authorities are responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Act, this responsibility needs to be taken more seriously," he suggested.

    He was of the view that for ensuring RTE Act's effective implementation State Governments needed to get the Panchayati Raj institutions appropriately involved so that 'local authorities' can discharge their functions under the Act along with a close cooperation amongst various departments so that the deprived children could get their rights to education.

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