Reality Check India

RTE, Right to Education Bill, how well thought out is it ?

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on December 29, 2009

First the PDF of the RTE gazette notification is available here.

The RTE bill is being polished and packaged. You can expect to see it on your neighbourhood shelves soon.

How well thought out is it ? Well, read the above PDF and judge it for yourself.

Here is an excellent opinion piece titled “Trick or Teach”

Talk about obfuscation. Who is to decide who this “weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood” is? And what is “the extent of per-child-expenditure by the State”? The answer to the first question is: state-level bureaucrats and local politicians will decide who qualifies. It sets up one more opportunity for milking the poor and holding private schools to ransom. In addition, the government’s “per-child-expenditure” is about Rs 3,000 a year, based on an extrapolation from figures provided by the standing committee on human resources development. That’s Rs 250 a month! Under the NREGA, the government pays Rs 100 a day for the poorest of the poor to dig ditches. Even that is low. In Goa, the mandated rate for manual labour is Rs 200 a day.

The RTE Act is poorly framed. It is currently being translated into policy under the ministrations of half a dozen bureaucrats. Like all well-meaning legislation, it will only create more problems. Government schools will remain non-functional. Private schools will have to face, in addition to highfalutin government influence over admission policies, the spectre of dealing with low-level bureaucrats and local politicians (read thugs).

Source : TOI

Also like to add,

1) Christian schools, which control the majority of elite schools are exempt from this. So even if the rest of the RTE Act was perfect and the whole thing worked completely as intended – there would be little impact on the ground. You still cant get your dumb kid into St Xavier or Don Bosco or Mount Carmel. I guess we need to be thankful that at least these will be spared.

2) If you were running a Hindu non-linguistic school, you could be excused for mistaking this to be a ransom note. Some examples.

  • Clause 14. No screening procedure for admission. In fact, if you had a screening procedure you are liable to a 25,000 penalty for the first interview and Rs 50,000 for each subsequent offence. Alternately, you may plead for mercy from your local party functionary.
  • Clause 15. No denial of admission. So if multiple students present themselves for limited seats, you are not allowed to screen them. So it is either hefty fines or prostrating before your local party functionary.
  • Clause 19.5. Recognition and penalty. All schools must meet recognition criteria, which themselves are unrealistic compared to government schools. In addition, clause 20 allows the government powers to modify the norms at anytime.  If you fail to meet the criteria or get your recognition withdrawn, here is the penalty. Rs One Lakh for the offense itself and Rs 10,000 for each day the school operates. In other words if you operate a school and fail to get recognition from the government for a year – you have to cough up 1 Lakh + 365*10,000 = Rs 37.5 Lakh.

The list just goes on and on. The most stunning aspect of the bill is.

There is no acknowledgement of the role to be played by the owners, founders, trustees, and management of the school themselves.

On the ground this bill will have poisonous divisive effect.

1. Children will have to get their caste certificates ready at Kindergarten level given the shortage.

2. Till date, schools at least in urban areas have largely been free of caste identity. Not any more.

3. The school management committee, if workable will also have to meet caste quotas in addition to the 50% women quota. Otherwise, the management will pack the SMCs with their appointees to get around compliance.

4. Places enormous power at the hands of local politicos. Has the ability to undo decades of hard work for the school boards and transfer control to the politicos.  Who in turn are largely elected for being benefit protectors of the data less quota regime, the core of contemporary Indian politics.

5. I dont think the economic quota is workable. It will produce grand anomalies. Impossible to set a meaningful cut off or to check income certificates.  Quick turnaround (for better or worse) not accounted for. Pressure to cover government employees at lower grades under economic criteria, etc, etc.

3 Responses

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  1. Barbarindian said, on January 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I guess kids will get politically smart early on and be ready to join Youth Congress and NSUI. Actually, they could also join Bal Congress, believe it or not, there is a Bal Congress, I think one of Priyanka Gandhi’s kids is President or something.

  2. […] institutions. But even I could smell the disaster from my little perch in nowhere land [ “RTE how well thought out is this – Dec 2009” […]

  3. UPA-4 Scraps RTE | whitericevellasamy said, on March 22, 2016 at 4:44 am

    […] of 2009. This right, in existence for 15 years with various changes and addenda over the years, was passed to ensure that at least 25% of the seats in any school were reserved to economically backward […]

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