RTE Forum welcomes the extension of RTE Act recommended by draft National Education Policy

Right to education

RTE Forum welcomes the draft National Education Policy released by the Ministry of HRD on 31st May,2019.

New Delhi, 02 June 2019. Ambarish Rai, National Convener of RTE Forum has said in a statement that it is a progressive step that NEP has recommended for extension of RTE Act to include pre-primary and secondary & higher secondary education, provided the Government implements it in its full spirit so that school education becomes a legal entitlement of millions of children in India. Apart from this, there has been emphasis on instruction in the mother tongue of students in schools at primary, preferably at elementary level in the NEP.

RTE Forum has been demanding the regularization of teachers and the elimination of Para Teachers from schools and this has been reinforced in the draft document. This has been stated in the RTE Act already. Other much needed inclusions are doubling of the overall financial allocation to education, strengthening decentralized mechanisms of teacher management and support, expansion of school nutrition programme from Mid-Day Meal to include provision of school breakfast, and a possible return of the No Detention Policy. Another big move as mentioned in the NEP is the 5+3+3+4 structure of education.

However, there are some deficiencies in the NEP which are worrisome. There has been relaxation and loosening of RTE norms to promote school choice and competition.

RTE Forum expressed its apprehension about the improvement in overall quality by abolishing of minimum norms.

The Forum believes that it is necessary to chalk out a regulatory framework for private schools. Closure of schools in the name of consolidation is another regressive move mentioned in the NEP.

Another proposal in the document is that parents become de-facto regulators of private schools instead of this function being the role of the state. It is an area of concern to regulate and monitor private schools complying with quality, safety and equity norms.

While the document is potentially far reaching, only time will show the extent to which these provisions would be implemented.

Mitra Ranjan, Media Coordinator of Right to Education Forum said,

“RTE Forum will soon organize a national level consultation as well as consultations at the state level to discuss the NEP and thereby draft its recommendations to be submitted to the Ministry of HRD by 30th  June.”