Govt gears up to implement RTE

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The Education department is gearing up to implement the Right to Education (RTE) in Meghalaya from the next fiscal year even as the department has already projected a total amount of Rs 800 crore plus for the coming five years for its implementation.

According to Education Minister Prof RC Laloo, the Centre has assured the State Government to provide necessary fund for the implementation of RTE during the next two years (2013-2014 and 2014-2015).

Prof Laloo informed that the funding pattern would be the same like all other Central Schemes with Centre giving 90 percent while the State Government managing the remaining 10 percent.

The Education Minister further informed that the funding for the RTE will be through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Central Society. “The fund which is proposed by the State Government would be laid before the Project Approval Board (PAB) of the SSA. The PAB is scheduled to meet sometime in February to fix on funds which would be allocated to the State in the next fiscal year,” Prof Laloo said while talking to newsmen after the State Advisory Council meeting here on Tuesday.

According to Prof Laloo, the Government has projected a total amount of Rs 6420 crores for the Lower Primary School for the next five years.

Meanwhile, he informed that there would be a normal budget allocation for the RTE after two years when Central funding for this ambitious programme stops.

It has been informed that the department has conducted an exercise to identify schools in both Lower Primary and Upper Primary level across the State. “These schools have been described as “Neighbourhood Schools,” Prof Laloo said, adding that a total number of 12113 neighbourhood schools across the State have been identified so far.

Out of the total 12113 neighbourhood schools, 8623 schools are at the Lower Primary level and 3490 schools at the upper primary level.

“We have asked the NIC, Hyderabad to prepare a GIS mapping which would demarcate all the neighbourhood schools in the State,” he said.

As per the prescribed norms, a lower primary school should be located within a distance of 1 km between them and at the same time it should have a children population of not less than 200.

“At the upper primary level, the schools should be located within a distance of 3 km and the total strength of children should not be less than 600,” Prof Laloo said.

While replying to a query, he said that the Government would provide funds for the identified neighbourhood schools for construction of extra class rooms, toilets and other necessary infrastructures.

Further, the Education Minister informed that the department would have to ensure that all the teachers who are teaching in the various neighbourhood schools are trained by 2015. A decision has been taken to appoint a joint director in all the 11 districts to oversee the whole implementation of the RTE while staffs have been deployed to assist the joint director.

The Education Minister also said that the Directorate of Educational Research and Training (DERT) have come up with a handbook to oversee the conduct of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE). Under the CCE there will be no detention of children studying from class I to class VIII. CCE refers to a system of school-based evaluation of students that covers all aspects of students’ development. It is a developmental process of assessment which emphasises on two fold objectives.

These objectives are continuity in evaluation and assessment of broad based learning and behaviourial outcomes on the other. The outcomes of the day’s meeting would be sent as a recommendation to the Government.

RTE amendment: Prof Laloo also informed that the State Advisory Council will recommend the State Government on the amendments made to the RTE Act.

Section 21 of the RTE Act requires that 75 per cent of a school’s management committee should consist of guardians or parents. This provisions if implemented, would violate the Constitution and the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution Guidelines. Since the State has many minority run institutes; the State Government has sought an amendment to the section.

According to the Minister, the managing committees of minority schools shall perform advisory functions only.

Earlier, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD), Kapil Sibal, had informed that the Centre has already amended the RTE Act, 2009 to address the issues concerning the composition of the School Managing Committees (SMC).

“Under the Act, the managing committees would take care of the management of the schools. If at all there has to be a representation of parents in the SMC, they would only have an advisory role,” Sibal said in his recent visit to Shillong.

Sibal also said that the RTE Act would not disturb the existing composition of the SMC in the minority and private aided institutions. Sibal mentioned that the management would be done by the minority institutions and private bodies themselves.

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