AP to miss RTE deadline, but extension unlikely
As the Union Government ruled out extending the deadline beyond March 31 for schools to meet RTE requirements, Department of school education is...
As the Union Government ruled out extending the deadline beyond March 31 for schools to meet RTE requirements, Department of school education is at a loss to know what to do. "Yes we know that a lot more issues are to be addressed including construction of toilets, additional rooms, distribution of chappals. I don't think it is possible to complete them overnight. We need at least three to four months. I think, by the time, the schools are reopened, some progress can be made," Sake Sailajanath, the minister, told The Hans India on the sidelines of Assembly session. The HRD Ministry has appointed a panel to expedite the implementation process. But the HRD Minister M M Pallamraju was evasive when asked about the fate of the schools which fail to meet the Right to Education Act requirements like infrastructure after March 31, saying they would ensure the requirements are complied with in the "shortest possible time". "The deadline is the objective. Even the Supreme Court has spelt it out. It is apparent that most states are going to miss it, but that does not mean we will leave the objective. The committee will see the seriousness of the implementation," he pointed out. Schools face the prospects of closing down under the Act if they are not RTE compliant after March 31. The government also faces the threat of being challenged in court by stakeholders in the event of non-compliance. "If some parents want to A be litigant, we cannot stop them. But as far as I can say, we all A are serious," Pallamraju said. The Central Advisory Board of Education, in its meeting last November, had also unanimously resolved not to extend the deadline, arguing that any move in this regard would dilute the Act that seeks to provide free and compulsory education to students. But since majority of states could not move faster, we have to think again. A meeting of CABE will be held on April 2 and the on the top of agenda is RTE implementation" he explained. The RTE Act had set two deadlines -- until March 31, 2013 for infrastructure and March 31, 2015 for teachers to attain minimum qualifications (pass Teachers Eligibility Test).A Meanwhile, 13 states have asked the Ministry to relax the norms as far as minimum qualification goes to ensure speedy compliance with RTE norms. They are Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Bihar, Chattishgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The National Council for Teacher Education has given permission for teacher training to be conducted under the distance mode in these 13 states for teachers being hired and untrained teachers. Besides, he said a panel of 50 experts has been set up who are travelling to various states and giving recommendations on strengthening teacher education.A Andhra Pradesh government has initiated steps to introduce reforms in school education. A workshop will be held in April in which all the issues will be discussed threadbare and a policy paper will be brought out, Sailajanath said.