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UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN IN INDIA

REFORMS FOR UPLIFTMENT OF THE WEAKER SECTIONS OF INDIA

'An Educated India is A Progressing India'


Education for All

United Nations in 1998 adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 26 (1) of UDHR proclaims that: Every one has a right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be

compulsory. "

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is Indias main


programme for universalising elementary education. Its
overall goals include universal access and retention,

bridging of gender and social category gaps in education


and enhancement of learning levels of children.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had been set with specific targets. These are: All children in school, Education Guarantee Centre, Alternate School or 'Back-to-School' camp by 2005. All children complete five years of primary schooling by 2009. Children complete eight years of elementary schooling by 2012. Focus on elementary education of satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life. Bridge all gender and social category gaps at the primary stage by 2009 and at the elementary education level by 2012. Universal retention by 2012.

Though the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan [SSA] is being administered through government and govt. aided schools, some private unaided schools are also

actively involved in contributing towards


universal elementary education.

The govt. entered into an agreement with


the World Bank for assistance to the tune of

US $ 600 million to fund the second phase


of the S S A.

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act,


has come into force with effect from April 1, 2010. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Framework of Implementation and norms for interventions have been revised to correspond with the provisions of the RCFCEA . This includes

interventions, inter alia for opening new primary and upper primary schools as per the neighbourhood norms notified by State Governments in the RCFCEA Rules,
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The Act provides that no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education. There is a provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them up to par with students of the same age. The Right to Education of persons with disabilities until 18 years of age has also been made a fundamental right. A number of other provisions regarding improvement of school infrastructure, teacherstudent ratio and faculty are made in the Act.

Monitoring and Implementation of the act should be done by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, an autonomous body together with Commissions

to be set up by the states.


Schools excluded from RCFCEA under

special category : Kendriya Vidyalaya,


Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sainik School and

Madrasas (protected under Article 29 and 30


of the Constitution)

To promote literacy among its citizens, the


Government of India has launched several schemes such as the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme, Mid-day Meal Scheme and the National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL).
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Indias initiatives to achieve universalization of elementary education: In 1950, commitment was made through its directive principle of State policy. In 2002, the 86th constitutional amendment was passed that made education a fundamental right for children in the age group of 6 14 years.

In 2009 , The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory


Education Act (RCFCEA),was passed and represents

the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21A, empowering implementation by Union & State Govts.

The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002, inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine. The

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act


(RCFCEA), 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.
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The 86th constitutional amendment (2002),


and the RTE Act (2009), have given us the

tools to provide quality education to all our


children. It is now imperative that we the

people of India join hands to ensure the


implementation of this law in its true

spirit. The Government is committed to


this task though real change will happen

through collective action.

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RIGHT OF CHILDREN TO FREE & COMPULSORY EDCATION ACT [RCFCEA] or [RTE]

The need to address inadequacies in retention, residual access, particularly of un-reached children, and the questions of quality are the most compelling reasons for the insertion of Article 21-A in the Constitution of India and the passage of the RTE Act, 2009 in the Parliament.

The new law provides a justiciable legal framework that


entitles all children between the ages of 6-14 years free

and compulsory admission, attendance and completion


of elementary education.

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Norms & Standards Specified. In private schools also, 25% seats for children from poor families Schools need to get recognition No capitation fees No interview for admission Overall approach and implementation strategies of SSA harmonized as per the mandate of the RTE Act. A Committee to suggest follow up action was appointed
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Meaning of Free & Compulsory


Free education is defined as removal of any
financial barrier by the state that prevents a child from completing eight years of schooling. Compulsory education means obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group.
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With this, India has moved forward to a rights based framework that casts a legal obligation on the Central and State Governments to implement this fundamental child right as enshrined in the Article 21A of the Constitution, in accordance with the provisions of the RCFCE Act. The new law provides a justiciable legal framework that entitles all children between the ages of 6-14 years free and compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education.
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Steps towards Universal Elementary Education


The role of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) for strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunities to all has been accepted since the inception of our Republic. The original Article 45 in the Directive Principles of

State Policy in the Constitution mandated the State to


endeavour to provide free and compulsory education

to all children up to age fourteen.

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Role of Private Sector in SSA

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Right to Education Act is indeed a landmark law.


It marks a historic moment for our country, where

an estimated eight million children aged between


6 and 14 do not currently attend school. However,

the RTE Act is more about Right to Schooling than


the Right to Education. It focuses heavily on

inputs whereas learning outcomes have not been


addressed. It is unlikely to improve mass

education because there is no focus on quality. Arun Kapur, Director Vasant Valley School

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National Commission for Protection of Child Rights


The act also provides that, no child shall be held back,
expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education. Provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them at-par with the students of the same age. Right to Education of Person with Disabilities till 18 years of age has been made a Fundamental Right.
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The Act provides for empowerment of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for supervising of proper implementation of the act and for looking after the complaints in protection of Child Rights.
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IMPLEMENTATION OF RTE EEGULATIONS

Successful implementation of the RTE act


passed by the central government requires key

steps to be undertaken by state governments.


States are required to notify specific rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act. They are also required to constitute a State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and notify a state academic authority to frame and monitor the curriculum.
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Recently the Centre is seriously exploring ways to


bring pre-school education under Right to

Education Act to provide free and compulsory


education to children between the age group of
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four and six.

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Major Highlights of the Act


The Act makes education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14. It requires all private schools to reserve 25% of

seats to children from poor families (to be


reimbursed by the state as part of the public-

private partnership plan).


It also prohibits all unrecognized schools from

practice, and makes provisions for no donation


or capitation fees and no interview of the child
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or parent for admission.

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SC backs Right to Education


The apex court upheld the constitutional validity of the Act and directed all schools, including privately-run schools, irrespective of the board they are affiliated to, to at least 25% students from socially and economically backward families. These students will be guaranteed free education from class I till they reach the age of 14.

admit from this


academic year (201213)
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SC Bench said: To put an obligation on the unaided non-minority


school to admit 25 per cent children in class I under Section 12(1) (c) cannot be termed as an unreasonable restriction. Such a law cannot

be said to transgress any constitutional limitation. The object of the


2009 Act is to remove the barriers faced by a child who seeks admission to class I and not to restrict the freedom under Article 19(1) (g). From the scheme of Article 21A and the 2009 Act, it is clear that the primary obligation is of the State to provide for free and compulsory education to children between the age of 6 and 14 years and, particularly, to children who are likely to be prevented from

pursuing and completing the elementary education due to


inability to afford fees or charges.

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The SC judgment said: We hold that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is

constitutionally valid and shall apply to a school


established, owned or controlled by the appropriate

Government or a local authority; an aided school


including aided minority school(s) receiving aid or grants to meet whole or part of its expenses from the appropriate Government or the local authority; a school belonging to specified category; and an unaided nonminority school not receiving any kind of aid or grants to meet its expenses from the appropriate Government or
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the local authority.

Both the Central and state governments are responsible for ensuring effective implementation of the Act. There has been significant improvement in terms of the number of primary schools, largely due to additional resources made available through the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan to bridge

existing gaps. The scheme is now being extended to the


secondary school level as well. In addition to the Governments initiative, the private sector has also played a role in improving the state of education in the country and continues to do so.
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Since RCFCEA came into force,


50,672 new schools,

4.98 lakh additional classrooms,


6.31 lakh teachers, etc

have been sanctioned to States and UTs


under S S A. The fund sharing pattern

between the Central and State Governments


has also been revised to a sharing ratio which is more favourable to States Governments.
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Reservation of 25% seats in private schools for children from poor families The principle behind 25%
The school may be there but students may not attend, or drop out after a few months. Through school & social mapping, many issues need to be addressed that prevent a weak child from completing the process of education. reservation is to promote social integration. A school is a perfect setting where existing inequalities in society can be bridged if the school encourages students to integrate psychologically, emotionally and academically.

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Universal access is an essential component of UEE. Access does not constitute mere physical availability of school; it implies facilitating full, free and joyful participation of children in learning.

25% reservation in private unaided schools for children

belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker


sections. Reimbursement of expenditure so incurred shall be made by the state Government.
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support for residential schools for children in areas which are sparsely populated, or hilly or densely

forested with difficult terrain, and for urban deprived


homeless and street children in difficult circumstances,

special training for admission of out-of-school children


in age appropriate classes, additional teachers as per norms specified in the RCFCEA, two sets of uniforms for all girls, and children belonging to SC/ST/BPL families, strengthening of academic support through block and cluster resource centres, schools, etc.
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mandated the following timeframe for implementation of its provisions:


Activity Timeframe 3 years (by 31st March, 2013)

Establishment of neighbourhood schools


Provision of school infrastructure All weather school buildings One-classroom-one-teacher Head Teacher-cum-Office room Library Toilets, drinking water Barrier free access Playground, fencing, boundary walls

3 years (by 31st March, 2013)

Provision of teachers as per prescribed 3 years (by 31st March, 2013) Pupil Teacher Ratio
Training of untrained teachers Quality interventions and other provisions 5 years (by 31st March 2015) With immediate effect 41

Implementation of RCFCEA
provides for all children the benefit of free and compulsory admission,
attendance and

completion
of elementary education.
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In India, since we gained freedom of self governance,


Undoubtedly, much progress has occurred
since the last sixty years of our

independence and
many more children with a diverse background are accessing school.

Yet....

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Dropped out, child labourers


There are invisible children_ children bonded to work with an employer, young boys grazing cattle or working in a dhabha girls working in the fields or as domestic help or

caring for younger siblings, and


children being subjected to early marriage. Many of

these children are formally enrolled in a school but


have either dropped out or have never been there.

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Extremely vulnerable ones


Many others such as migrant and
street children, who live in extremely vulnerable conditions; denying them education is against the universal nature of human rights.
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Enrol, attend, learn, and Be empowered by education


Providing universal access itself is no longer enough; making available school facility is essential but not sufficient. A monitoring mechanism is needed to ensure that all children attend school regularly and participate in the learning process.

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Not attending, drop-out in a few months?


Focus must be on the factors that prevent children from regularly attending & completing elementary education. Children from
weaker sections and disadvantaged groups, as also girls.
SOCIAL,CULTURAL,ECONOMIC, LINGUISTIC AND PEDAGOGIC ISSUES
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Good education is empowering


Of what use is nobility of family if a person is illiterate? A learned man is respected by Gods too though he does not belong to a noble family.

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Free, compulsory and of high quality


The right to education is free, compulsory and it includes good quality education for all. A curriculum not only provides good reading and understanding of text books but also includes learning through activities, exploration and discovery. Comprehension, competence, competitiveness and creativity should be developed, not forgetting compassion.

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Education Depts of State & Union Governments have direct responsibility


To provide schools, infrastructure, trained teachers, curriculum and teaching-learning material, and mid-day meal. A well coordinated mechanism is needed for inter- sectoral collaboration & convergence.

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On the part of the whole Govts:


The factors that contribute to the achievement of the overall goal of universalizing elementary education as a fundamental right requires action on the part of the whole Governments.
A well coordinated mechanism is needed for inter- sectoral collaboration & convergence.
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Timely & appropriate financial allocations, redesign school spaces


The Finance Department to release funds at all levels. The Public Works Dept. to re-conceive and redesign school spaces from the pedagogic perspective & Address issues of including disabled children through barrier free access.

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Provide Social & Location Mapping of schools, Water & sanitation facilities
The Dept. of Science & Technology to provide geo-spatial technology to perform at grass-root survey. Provision of access to sufficient safe drinking water Provision and access to adequate sanitation facilities, specially for girl child.

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ROLE OF CIVIL SOCEITY in RCFCEA


Above all, peoples groups, civil society organizations & voluntary agencies will play an crucial role in the implementation of the RCFCEA. This will help build a new perspective on inclusiveness, encompassing gender & social inclusion, & ensure that these become integral & crosscutting concerns informing different aspects like training, curriculum and classroom transaction.

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ROLE OF CIVIL SOCEITY


A VIBRANT CIVIL SOCEITY MOVEMENT CAN ENSURE THAT THE PARENT / CHILD FROM WEAKER OR DISADVANTAGED SECTIONS BECOME AWARE OF THE VALUE OF EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO ELEMENTARY EDUCATION AND PUT IN SERIOUS EFFORTS ON THEIR PART. NGO contribution of knowledge, ideas and solutions to the challenges are needed.

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Good teachers company enables.


One who reads, writes, sees, inquires, lives in the company of learned men, his intellect expands like the lotus leaf does because of the rays of sun.
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The RTE act does not cater to the absence of provisions for pre-school education for children below the age of six years. A key issue being raised against the provisions of the RTE Act is the absence of provisions for improving the job conditions of teachers. This leads to limited availability of quality teachers in rural or inaccessible areas. According to analysts, teacher training is one of the biggest requirements of the current system and has been neglected by the Act.
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Since the Government has finite resources,


reimbursing expenses to private schools

will be at the expense of government


schools.

Therefore, it should be made voluntary for


private schools to reserve seats for children

from disadvantaged sections of society.


It is unfair to make this applicable for all

private schools.

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The whole idea of reimbursement of expenses


to private schools is a case of poor economics.

If the government is unable to meet the expenses


from where will it generate additional resources

to reimburse the private schools.


Prof. Praveen Jha, JNU

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Reservations about the norms & standards of RCFCEA:


1. Private schools that are not very well resourced but are imparting education to disadvantaged sections of society will find it difficult to survive.
2. Norms are silent on learning outcomes and quality in education may not / can not be ensured. 3. It is observed that teacher recruitment and training is one of the biggest requirements of the current system and has been neglected by the Act.

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The National Council for Teacher Education has laid


down the minimum qualifications for teachers in schools in 2001 on the basis of the National Council for Teacher Education Act and the RTE Act, according to which teachers appointed by the government or employing authority should be trained and have minimum qualifications for different levels of school education.

Within the five year period, all teachers need to acquire


the academic and professional qualifications prescribed

by the academic authority under the RTE Act. This is a


difficult task.

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Free education means that no child, other

than a child who has been admitted by his

or her parents to a school which is not


supported by the appropriate Government, shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or

charges or expenses which may prevent


him or her from pursuing and completing

elementary education.

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.Compulsory

education casts an obligation on

the appropriate Government and local

authorities to provide and ensure admission,


attendance and completion of elementary

education by all children in the 6-14 age


group.

With this, India has moved forward to a rights


based framework that casts a legal obligation

on the Governments to implement this right.

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The new law provides a justiciable legal


framework that entitles all children between the

ages of 6-14 years free and compulsory


admission, attendance and completion of

elementary education. It provides for childrens


right to an education of equitable quality, based

on principles of equity and non-discrimination.


Most importantly, it provides for childrens right to

an education that is free from fear, stress and


anxiety.

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The Rights perspective under the RTE Act has also


brought in new monitoring mechanisms to ensure that

child rights under the Act are protected. The RTE Act
provides for constitutionally created independent bodies like the National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights to perform this role. These bodies, with quasi-judicial powers bring in an element of monitoring new to the implementation of SSA, requiring that internal monitoring mechanisms under the SSA engage

purposefully with these independent bodies.

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The RTE provides a legally enforceable rights framework with certain unambiguous time targets that

Governments must adhere to. For example, the Act


mandates that every child in the six to fourteen age

group shall have a right to free and compulsory


education in a neighbourhood school. The Act also provides that if a school does not exist in an area or limit prescribed as the neighbourhood, the appropriate Government and the local authority shall establish a school in this area within a period of three years.
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The revised S S A Framework for Implementation is derived from the recommendations of the Committee on

Implementation of RTE Act and the Resultant Revamp of


S S A, and is intended to demonstrate the harmonization

of S S A with the RTE Act. It is also based on child centric


assumptions emerging from the National Policy on Education, 1986/92 and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005. The revised S S A Framework of Implementation provides a broad outline of approaches and implementation strategies, within which States can frame more detailed guidelines keeping in view their
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specific social, economic and institutional contexts.

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The revised SSA Framework for Implementation is derived from the Committee on Implementation of RTE Act and the Resultant Revamp of SSA, and is intended to demonstrate the harmonization of SSA with the RTE Act. It is also based on child centric assumptions emerging from the

National Policy on Education, 1986/92 and the National


Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005. The revised SSA

Framework of Implementation provides a broad outline of


approaches and implementation strategies, within which States can frame more detailed guidelines keeping in view their specific social, economic and institutional contexts
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The Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2012, prepared by NGO Pratham and released by Union HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju on Thursday, also raises questions about whether the Right to Education Act has actually led to any improvement in India's literacy.The basic learning levels of children in rural India have fallen; in 2012, just five out of 10 students in Class V across

rural India, could solve a simple arithmetic problem, it


says. The report also says that there is a sharp decline in the reading ability of children, especially in government schools and that more and more parents seem to be depending on private schools in rural India.
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Nodal officers to monitor RTE implementation


Bangalore: To ensure more students enroll themselves under Right to Education (RTE), the Directorate of Public Instruction (DPI) has appointed nodal officers in each of educational districts in the State to oversee admission under the Act. Last year, of the nearly 50,000 students who registered under the RTE, as many as

46,000 students were admitted under the Act. This year


it is estimated that more than one lakh students would seek admission under the RTE quota, said an official
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with the DPI.

The nodal officers will oversee number of applications


submitted, total intake of students under the Act in

each of the taluks and the districts in the State and


also collect information about monitoring processes, etc. The nodal officer for Bangalore South will be the Director of Secondary Education, while the Joint Director of the Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT) will be responsible

for Bangalore North.

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RTE has put 11 million more children in school: New Delhi, April 11 : The Right to Education Act has ensured that the education budget in most states has doubled - 11 million more children are now enrolled in schools, Louis-George Arsenault, Unicef India

representative, said Thursday. Arsenault said 99


percent of India's rural population now has a primary school within a one-km radius. The Unicef India representative, however, also noted the challenges that still lie ahead: despite the landmark law, eight million Indian children remain out of school.
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Getting the children who have fallen out of the school system within it, and into age-appropriate classes remains a significant challenge, he said.

High enrollment rates alone do not mean much, if dropout rates also remain high, the Unicef representative pointed out, speaking of the 80 million children who still drop out of school before completing the full cycle of elementary education. Arsenault was speaking at a media round-table discussion to take stock of three years of the Right to Education Act. March 31, 2013, was the agreed deadline for meeting most of the targets set by the RTE.
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The Unicef representative expressed concern that even when


students were going to school, their learning levels may be alarmingly poor. Many students who attend school do not learn the

basics of literacy and numeracy, and do not achieve the necessary


knowledge and skills for all-round development, as specified under the Act. Arsenault also pointed out that some one-time investments like putting in place a well-stocked library or a functional toilet in every school made significant differences, a pedagogic transformation, as envisaged by the RTE, would only be brought about by substantive institutional reform. The Right to Education Act guarantees every child the fundamental right to eight years of quality

education, so that he or she acquires basic literacy and numeracy,


and enjoys learning without fear.

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SC slams lapses in posting primary education workers New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday gave vent to its ire over state governments flouting guidelines for the

appointment of 'Shiksha Sahayaks' for promoting primary


education saying it amounted to "spoiling the future of the future generations". As senior counsel U.U. Lalit, appearing for the Gujarat government, rose to make his submission, the apex court vacation bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Dipak Misra asked him "how are these (Shiksha Sahayaks) appointed" and what

was the criterion and method of their appointment.

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Justice Misra observed that "populist principalities can be used to spoil the future of the future generations".Justice Chauhan observed that in Uttar Pradesh 'Shiksha Sahayaks' are known as 'Vidya Mitra' and in public perception they are perceived as 'Vidya Shatru'. Having expressed its anguish over the way 'Shiksha Sahayaks' were being appointed in pursuance to the Right to

Education Act, the court asked "whether this type of


system (of recruitment of Shiksha Sahayaks) is in consonance with Article 21A (provides for free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to 14 years)".
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