Dismayed ‘education’ missing in manifestos: Civil society

New Delhi, Dec 2: Members of civil society working in the field of education Monday expressed dismay over the failure of political parties in Delhi to have a plan for implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act in their manifestos.

“Since the implementation of the Act in 2009, the government had asked for three years’ time, but now after three years none of the political parties have a greater reflection of RTE implementation in any of their political manifesto,” said Annie Nammala, state convenor of the Delhi RTE forum.

The RTE forum also carried out a campaign Nov 11-26, where they collected one lakh votes from 70 villages and 30 public places as tokenism.

Civil society members and various stakeholders highlighted the gaps in the implementation of the RTE Act and demanded education to be treated as a political issue.

“In Delhi, we require 20,000 teachers in government schools so that the ratio can be corrected to 1:35. The government had also promised that by 2015 contractual workers will be made permanent but there is still no institutional roadmap in this regard,” said Ambarish Rai, national convenor of the RTE forum.

“This is for the government schools but then there is also a need for regularisation of private schools,” added Rai.

Throughout the campaign, the forum also collected data which highlighted the complete absence of school management committees (SMC) in schools around Delhi and absence of “bridge course” which is an essential part of the RTE.

Rajni, an SMC member in a school in Trilokpuri, said: “There are only a few schools which have SMC but that too is not functional. The power of the SMC needs to be defined and a grievance redressal mechanism should also be developed.”

There are 2,71,000 school dropouts in Delhi, according to the Delhi government.

“There is a need to extend the RTE Act to all children from age three to 18 to provide equity and equal opportunity of education,” said Bharat Singh, another convenor of the RTE forum.

IANS