Right to Education is a rather noble cause, but is it getting implemented right or are schools able to follow closely? It does not seem like at least in rural India. The basic framework, be it in terms of student to teacher ratio or even the basic infrastructure, is fundamentally weak.
Pupil to teacher ratio
|School Enrollment||RTE Std.||Number of Teachers on ground|
Per RTE, a school shall have an all weather building with the following facilities:
- At least one classroom for every teacher
- Office cum store cum head teacher’s room
- Separate toilets for boys and girls
- Safe and adequate drinking water facility to all children
- A kitchen where midday meal is cooked in the school
- Arrangements for securing the school building by boundary wall or fencing.
- Teaching learning equipment: shall be provided to each class as required.
- Library: There shall be a library in each school providing newspapers, magazines and books on all
|% of Schools with|
|Building||Office/Store/Office cum store||74.5|
|Drinking Water||No facility for drinking water||17.4|
|Facility but no drinking water available||10.5|
|Drinking water available||72.2|
|Toilet||No toilet facility||10.1|
|Facility but toilet not useable||38.8|
|Girls' Toilet||% Schools with no separate provision for girls toilets||29.3|
|Of schools with separate girls toilets, % schools where|
|Toilet not useable||14|
|Teaching Learning Material||Teaching learning material in Std 2||80.4|
|Teaching learning material in Std 4||75.9|
|Library but no books being used by children on day of visit||24.4|
|Library books being used by children on day of visit||38.7|
|Mid-day Meal||Kitchen shed for cooking midday meal||81.3|
|Midday meal served in school on day of visit||83.4|
It does clearly seem that there are miles to go before the current framework manages to catch up with what RTE prescribes or aims for. In an earlier post, we had mentioned the government's desire to get public sector units to fund many of these initiatives. The money could certainly come in handy to improve basic infrastructure, but teachers have to find it monetarily lucrative enough to remain in rural areas as well.
The reports show some very clear trends as you will see below.
The more prosperous states do well overall, with education improving and % of girl children in schools increasing as well. Focused literacy and education programs are starting to bear fruit. Punjab is an example. Eastern states are starting to do well, and a solid performer has been Himachal Pradesh.
Many states have produced variable results. Year 2009 seems to have been one of fluctuating fortunes as well. The states which are usually oppressive towards girl children (Rajasthan, or western Uttar Pradesh) do poorly even in this survey, naturally. Haryana however, is starting to show improvement.
Very surprisingly Tamil Nadu is one of the worst laggards in providing education (of relevance or impact) in rural areas. The impact of whatever education is getting provided in the state is clearly minimal. This is surprising because there has been no political turmoil of significance, no startling violence or impact of terrorism.
|% of 11-14 year old girls who are not in school||Rajasthan||10-15%|
|attendance % for enrolled children attending primary school||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar||50-60%|
|% of children in Std III who can read Std I text||Tamil Nadu||<30%|
|% of children in Std V who can read Std II text||Tamil Nadu||30-40%|
|% of 11-14 year old girls who are not in school||Punjab, Haryana||0-3%|
|attendance % for enrolled children attending primary school||Himachal Pradesh||>90%|
|% of children in Std III who can read Std I text||Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram||<30%|