CHARGE 1: ERODING THE SPIRIT OF RIGHT TO EDUCATION ACT (All figures as per DISE data)
- In 2016, only 12.7 percent of schools were compliant with 10 Right to Education (RTE) indicators.
- The share of RTE Compliant schools has increased by only 4 percent, inching at an average of 1 percent per year. At the current rate of progress, it will take India 87 years to make every school compliant with its very minimalistic quality norms.
- The roll back of the ‘No Detention Policy (NDP)’ through an RTE amendment has effectively penalized students for the system’s failure to provide quality education to children coming from poor families and is discriminatory to marginalised communities risking increased drop out and increase the number of children out of school.
- The roll back of NDP also ignores the existing Supreme Court verdict on the issue (that has upheld No Detention), and has the potential to damage the internal coherence of the RTE Act.
- National and state governments must not punish children for the system’s fault. This roll back of the NDP is retrogressive with respect to India’s international obligations on the Right to Education.
- Media reports suggest the Centre’s plans for location-specific merger of about 2,60,000 small government schools as part of its rationalisation process to “enhance efficiency”.
- The school mergers and closures have resulted in increasing the number of drop-outs, especially children from marginalised communities and girls, due to reasons such as increased distance to school, location of the new schools (often in upper caste areas where children from lower castes feel threatened), lack of transport facilities and safety issues (highway on the way to school) among others.
- The closure/merger policy is also a contravention of the fundamental spirit behind the section 6 of the RTE Act, as well as Section 3 (1). In many states, merged schools are far beyond the 1 km radius of the closed school. This subverts the accountability of state to ensure schools within 1 km radius.
CHARGE 2: FALLING IN THE PITFALL OF PRIVATE EDUCATION
- At the elementary level, only 5 percent listed in the official statistics are private unaided schools while 40 percent schools offering secondary or higher secondary grades are private, unaided institutions. This increasing reliance on fee charging, private education at each successive level of education stacks the odds against girls’ education and leads to dropouts.
- While government schools increased in numbers by less than 2 percent, private schools went up by 24.28 percent. While enrolment in public schools declined by 8.5 percent, it increased by 24.42 percent in private schools.
CHARGE 3: A DEARTH OF TEACHERS
- 92,275 government schools at both elementary and secondary level have only one teacher to teach all the subjects.
- There are 900316 teacher posts that are vacant in Elementary Schools, and there are 107689 teacher posts that are vacant in Secondary Schools
- 5 percent teachers are without the required academic qualifications
- 50 percent secondary schools/sections are functioning without teacher who is at least a graduate in Mathematics
- The proportion of funds spent out of total approved budgets under SSA also fell from 84 percent in FY 2013- 14 to 66 percent in FY 2016-17. In FY 2017-18 (until 30 June 2017), Rs. 7157 crore, equivalent to just 9 percent of the approved budget was spent.
- With half the schools lacking electricity and less than 1 school in five having a single functional computer, the expectation of a digital revolution sweeping the Indian education system has not materialised.
CHARGE 4: EDUCATION PERPETUATING INEQUALITIES AND VIOLENCE
- There are only 1.16 percent of children with disability at primary level. 0.26 percent at secondary and 0.25 percent at senior secondary.
- Unequal education systems continued to create unequal lifelong opportunities for India’s children. The government runs Kendriya Vidyalaya schools for central government employees, especially those in transferable jobs. Costs per child incurred in KVs in roughly Rs. 27,000 per child; this contrasts with an annual average of only Rs. 3,000 per student across India in other Government schools.
- Crimes against children have also increased from 89,423 in 2014 to 1,06,958 in 2016.
- DISE data shows a dark contrast between the enrolment of Muslim girls at primary level (90.90 lakhs) with enrolment at secondary level with only 21.81 lakhs.