By Bhanvi Satija:
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, which makes education in India a fundamental right, came into force in April 2010. Five years down the line, Oxfam India helps us analyse the reality and how well are we helping the children across the country exercise this right.
Through an interactive map of India, which takes one across every district in the country, mapping about 14 lakh schools – Oxfam has created a one-stop center of information on the implementation of RTE. The main purpose of the map is to generate public awareness and thereby create pressure on the government to fully and effectively help children exercise this right. In the map, every district has been scored out of an average score of 10. As one navigates across the map, information regarding the infrastructure, the learning conditions, and the Member of Parliament to be held accountable is also available for every district. This information is provided in the form percentage of schools across the district which provide the mentioned facilities.
There are about 640 districts in India, as per the Census of 2011. The map shows only about 20 districts in the country with an average score of 9-10, most of them located in Maharashtra or in the northern states of Himachal, Punjab and Haryana. The schools in the district of the eastern states lie between the average score of 3-6 in Bihar and Jharkhand, and vary from a score of 4-8 in the states of Orissa, West Bengal and Chattisgarh.
Here is a glimpse of how the map looks:
It is true that the RTE, since its implementation, has contributed to tremendous changes in the state of elementary education in India. However, we are still quite far away from an effective implementation and full compliance of the RTE, since only 8% of schools across the country comply with all the norms of the RTE Act.