By Srishti Chauhan:
The speculations about the goodness of the Right to Education (RTE) Act are rife in the country at present. Numerous Public Interest Litigations (PILs) demanding the government and judiciary to make sure that private schools follow the norms of the act in the oncoming nursery admissions are being sent, reviewed and passed judgment upon.
On one side are the parents who only care about getting their children admitted in a reputable institution. On the diagonally opposite ends are the children for whom this act is actually put into place. Majority of children in India are those who suffer from such extreme levels of poverty that school seems like an unnatural proposal to them. I’m not sure about how many families in the rural areas of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh would even know about this act.
Indian statistics, where education, dropout rates, female literacy rates and average extent of education are considered, are extremely reprehensible. The recent RTE Act seems like a shoddy way to cover up for the lack of a good education system in place. Making it mandatory for teachers to pass the students in every class up till class 8th just lowers the quality of students that the primary school delivers. In government schools- where teacher absenteeism has been a major setback since the past decades- this regulation just adds to the laxity of the teachers.
This poor level of education imparted at primary levels widens the ridge between the private school students and government school students at higher levels of education. Since the government students are mostly Hindi medium educated, the probability of them attaining fluency in English- required for high level jobs- reduces significantly.
The government schools– which are responsible for the education of more than 73% of the school-going children — suffer from some integral problems that refuse to let the RTE Act improve education system. The lack of infrastructure, which several times is to the extent of lack of a school building, is detrimental to the spirit of the Act.
There are many government schools where the lack of toilets for female students has acted as a regressing force that makes the dropout rates amongst females higher.
Another serious problem that the education system, at large faces is that many teachers teach only a few chapters out of the entire prescribed book and announce the questions that are to come in the exam from those chapters. This saves the ordeal of teaching the other chapters and also the toil of making a question paper that is diverse and checks the skills that the student has acquired.
The government has been introducing schemes like mid-day meals to lure children to come to school. In most schools in rural India, the food deployed to be fed to students is sold in open market and children are forced to make do with the meager quantities that they get in the name of proper nourishment. The government has also introduced the system where a child will be paid Re. 1 per day that he attends school.
A pertinent question that needs to be answered is- Why has the government simply not made education a compulsion? Why is it not illegal to not send children to schools? For how long does the government intend to bear the unnecessary financial burden that it incurs in trying to achieve a high literacy rate? It may raise doubts regarding personal choices of an individual but can be considered to get out this nation’s sinking literacy rate from the throes.
In the northern state of Uttarakhand, the government seems to be trying to implement a strategy that is not well thought out. As per the rules, the teachers would have to go to the homes of the children and call them to school in case they are missing from class. The idea is ludicrous even in thought- let alone in practice. A teacher is an employee who has been trained to teach. Does the government expect the teachers to take this duty of dragging children to school kindly? And will this kind of education benefit anyone at all?
This Act in totality seems like a shoddy way to hide the defects of the education system- which are in abundance. And this is an understatement.
What do you think? Drop your views in the comments section below.