RTE – CSE Review After Nearly 3 1/2 Years

April 2010 saw the Right to education Act come in to effect in India (my, my, doesn’t time fly when pursuing pie in the sky!!). So, it’s timely that Centre for Science & Environment (CSE) has carried out an extensive review of implementation of the Act.

Down to Earth – Elementary Failure

At the top level, on the biggest issues, the report gives a grim picture of progress so far on enrollment, prevention of drop-outs, teacher training and recruitment and parent empowerment. It doesn’t really get in to the other key areas of special needs education provision or integration of EWS children in to upmarket private schools where my suspicions would be that the failure to deliver is at least as bad, if not worse.

Of course, there were plenty of us at the time of the legislation being passed who doubted the viability and scope of the targets and promises. Nevertheless, with children as the biggest losers, ‘I told you so’ doesn’t carry much satisfaction. The legislation is a reality now and it’s time that educators and civil society started to bring pressure to bear on the Indian government to realign, to set fresh goals and to commit to put in place the resources necessary to achieve the avowed aims. If, over the next two years real progress could be achieved, then all would not have been in vain. However, without new fresh commitments I rather fear the failures would be brushed under the carpet and the objectives allowed to die a slow death – later to be blamed on party political issues!

I also believe that the best prospects for the future may genuinely lie in PPP, but partner selection must be good and the criteria for deliverables identified and communicated with clarity and transparency.

The children and the country deserve better.

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