New Delhi, October 29: Highlighting the lacuna in the implementation of the RTE Act, 2009, experts Tuesday launched a national campaign demanding the fulfillment of the "constitutional obligation of the government with regards to education within the stipulated time".
The campaign, Claiming Education for Every Child, beginning Nov 1, will run till March 2015 - the deadline for the act's implementation. It was launched by Right to Education Forum, a civil society coalition of 10,000 grassroot organisations, educationists, national networks and teacher's organisations.
"The government is implementing the RTE like a scheme and not like a fundamental right. In 2014, The government admitted that even the minimalist norms it set for itself had been implemented in only 10 percent of the 1.3 million schools in this country. This being so, we do not perceive any sense of urgency or anxiety in the governments to make amends in haste," Ambarish Rai, national convenor, RTE forum said at the launch.
The Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009, enforced with effect from April 1, 2010, secures the right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school.
It also lays down the norms and standards relating to pupil teacher ratios, buildings and infrastructure, school working days and teacher working hours. Rai pointed out that India lacks 1.2 million regular, trained and qualified teachers in government schools, adding that 10 percent schools are single-teacher schools.
"Despite the Act strictly prohibiting the appointment of contract teachers, states are continuing the recruitment of lowly-paid contract teachers in gross violation of the RTE norms," Rai said. He also highlighted the process of merger and closure of schools in different states to surrender assets to private players. Social activist Annie Namala emphasised the proper focus and inclusion of disadvantaged and marginalized groups in the implementation of the Act.
"We need comprehensive thinking, and should consider it as a basic fundamental right," she said. As a part of the campaign, 10 lakh grievances would be collected from different parts of the country highlighting the violation of different provisions of RTE Act.
These grievances will then be submitted to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights(SCPCRs) for immediate action. A memorandum will also be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a charter of demands highlighting some quick action points for the implementation of the Act.