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RTE should Shift Focus from 'Access' to 'Learning'
Apr 18, 2014

At a roundtable to assess the progress made in RTE in India the Chief of Education UNICEF-India said, Right to Education (RTE) should shift focus from right of access to education to right to learn. India needs to shift focus from right of access to education to right to learn, to achieve RTE and quality education with equity for girls and boys.

Independent assessments on Indian schools reveal while India is doing considerably well in creation of school infrastructure and enrollment, levels of learning remain dismal. The UNICEF-backed roundtable focused on increasing institutional capacity to implement RTE, extending RTE to pre-school and secondary education and improving quality.

The discussion included some child-friendly schools in the country equipped with interactive and creative tools to ensure better learning. Experts suggest the need to collectively advocate and offer support for promoting such schools in India. The panel discussion pointed out examples in states like Bihar where teachers are being trained through a two-year distance education programme to hone teaching skills.

Three years of Right to Education has resulted in expansion of schools with 98% of habitations having primary schools within one kilometre and 92% habitations having upper primary schools within three kilometres. The government has now decided to shift the focus on quality of education and decided to formulate national standards for schools performance. The initiative will bring out schools which are performing well and which are not doing that good so that students and parents are well informed.

Though a lot has been achieved in meeting RTE parameters, much more ground needed to be covered. Against the target of 19.82 lakh teachers, 14.80 lakh have been recruited as of September 30, 2013. 90% of schools across the country had toilet facilities while 95% had drinking water supply. Additional classrooms were also added.

During 2013-14, 2,08,731 primary schools and 1,59,731 upper primary schools were sanctioned.  On the key issue of redress system for better implementation of the RTE mandate, 19 states had set up decentralized grievances redress systems while 34 states and union territories had set up school management committees, notifying their roles and responsibilities.


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