The budget for implementation of the RTE Act throughout the country is just half of the amount spent on the 2010 Commonwealth Games, so funds are scarcely the problem. Why is there a resistance to complete implementation of the Act from states, centre and civil society?
The government’s film, School Chale Hum, shows children all over the country eagerly running to school. Indeed, 98% of habitations now have a school within 1 km. But with unintended irony, the scenes shot inside the schools are all about rote learning or copying from the blackboard. Will the historic Right to Education Act 2009 bring in schools that do something more for our children?
According to the 2001 Census, 65 per cent of Indians are literate. And almost every child now has access to a school, with around 95 per cent of our rural population having a primary school within one kilometre of their habitation. This is a significant achievement. But the big questions are: does the socio-economic condition of children allow them to go to those schools? How many dro p out within a year or two? And what is the quality of education available at these schools?