education Department, Government Of Gujarat by  GR dated 31-3-2010 (Annex-A) constituted a Committee to re draft the Gujarat (Bombay) primary Education Act,1947 and Gujarat Compulsory Primary Education Act,1961 in the context of ,and in consonance with The right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act,2009 (RTE Act) enacted by Government of India. The  GR Also mandated the Committee to daft rules and suggest procedure tu give effect to provisions of admission of disadvantaged children and recognition of unaided schools in the RTE Act.

     The Committee Co-opted a few member and held several meetings. It Constituted three sub groups to work on

  1. Admission Of Disadvantaged Children To Unaided Schools
  2. Recognition Of Unaided Schools
  3. Gujarat (Bombay) Primary Education Rules-1949.
   The Committee heid meetings with teachers, school management and association representatives in Ahmedabad,Surat,Vadodara and Rajkot and greatly benefited from their views.

   The Committee submitted draft of Gujarat Elementary Education Act to State Government in August-2010. As requested by the Education Department, the Committee submitted draft rules on the Admission of disadvantaged children and recognition in January 2011.

      The Committee examined many complex and controversial issues associated with RTE Act. The thinking of the Committee on some of these issues is summarized in the following paragraphs as this will explain the reasons for some of its recommendations;

(01)   Themost contentious provision in the RTE Act is regarding admission of at least 25% disadvantaged children in unaided schools. During its visits and discussions the Committee discovered that most of the unaided schools have a high percentage of disadvantaged children on their rolls. These children today pay fees which are generally modest and well below the estimated per student cost for Government schools. The Committee fears that to take unintended benefit under the RTE Act school management will raise the fees upto reimbursement level and claim it from Government. It is for this reson that the Committee has recommended SchoolCard system so that the benefit of admission to disadvantaged children is extended to the most deserving. The Committee also felt that the elite schools are reluctant to admit such children on their own initiative and the School Card system will ensure that they admit them.

(2)    The RTE Act lays down norms and standards which a new unaided school must fulfill for recognition. These nprescribe minimum level of academic and physical infrastructure. If anexisting school does not have the necessary infrastructure, it must provide it in three years to retain its recognition. The Committee was informed that there a large number of existing school which will not be able to fulfill these norms due to physical and financial constraints. The Committee was of the view that closure of these schools will seriously disrupt education of hundreds of children. The Committee has therefore recommended that if such schools are able to show that they provide good quelity education then they shouid be allowed to continue. The Committee has drawn up minimum educational outcomes which such schools should continuity achieve and recommended that the academic evaluation should be done by independent educationists.
        The Committee felt that the norms and standards prescribed by RTE Act will make establishment and running of unaided schools more expensive and the burden of higher fees will badly affect the middle and lower middle income families who aspire for good education for their children.
(3)     The focus of RTE Act is to make availabel free and compulsory elementary education to every child of the age of 6 to 14. The Gujarat Elementary Education Rules provide for admission on completion of 5 years and schools have been admitting children to class I accordingly. If the age of admission is now made 6 years then there will be virtually no admissions to Class I ain the first year as all six years olds would have progressed to Class II having been admitted to Class Ithe previous year. The Committee was therefore faced with a serious dilemma and finally desire their child shouid be admitted 6 year as age of admission , but recommended that if some paparents desire their child should be admitted on completion of 5 years, schools should allow them admission. The Committee hopes that with greater spread of pre primary education, this problem will get resolved during the next few years. 

(4)      The RTE Act prescribes that in order to prepare children above the age of 3 years for elementary education , and to provide early childhood care and education to all children up to six tears of age, State Governments may make necessary arrangements for free pre school education . Pre praimary education in Gujarat is unregulated by any law. Guidelines were issued in 1998 but there has been no serious effort to regulate pre primary education . Schools run by local bodies do not have pre primary education which is expected to be provided under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) . The Committee had very heated discussion on the need or desirability of regulating pre primary education. The Committee has recommended a set of basic regulations, based on the Guidelines of 1998 but feels that this subject needs a more detailed study and debate before any regulations are prescribed. Expert Committee should go into these issues immediatly.

(5)    The RTE Act increases Government contol in elementary education and this couid result in administrative malpractices. The Committee felt that there should be adequate checks and balances to reduce the opportunities for misuse of authority, particularly in the context of requirement of all unaided schools to obtain recognition. The Committee has recommended that all applications for recognition should be examined not by Education Department but by committees consisting of retired teachers and Government officials, and educationists; and grant of recognition or otherwise should be based on the report of these independent committees.

 Thank you.....


Post a Comment