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The Centre Monday claimed in Delhi High Court that government-run schools in the country were adhering to norms mandated under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act and regular monitoring and review was being done to check compliance. In its affidavit, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) said after the RTE Act came into effect from April 1, 2010, over 44,400 schools building and seven lakh additional class rooms were sanctioned to states and Union Territories (UTs) under the ‘Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan’.
MHRD sought dismissal of a PIL which has sought that schools owned or controlled by government or local authorities should obtain a recognition certificate under the Act like private educational institutions, saying it was “devoid of merit”.
“Since RTE Act, 2009, came into effect from April 1, 2010, 44,495 schools buildings, 7,00,460 additional class rooms, 5,46,513 toilets and 34,671 drinking water facilities have been sanctioned to states and UTs under Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan programme to augment the school infrastructure for compliance with provisions of RTE Act,” it said in its affidavit filed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, which did not sit Monday.
The ministry further said that government schools were substantially complying with the norms mandates by the RTE Act and its schedule and the substantial degree of compliance was reflected by regular monitoring and reviews done by the central government to check compliance.
The government’s response came on a PIL filed by an NGO, Independent Thought, which alleged that exclusion of the government-run schools under Section 18(1) of the RTE Act from obtaining a recognition certificate violated the Constitution. The plea alleged that section 18 of the RTE Act would show that all schools owned or run by government and/or its agencies have been excluded from the ambit of sections 18 and 19 of the Act.
The Act, which came into force in April 2010, makes it mandatory for all private schools to seek state government’s recognition. The law stipulates that all schools must procure a “recognition certificate” from the government which would be renewable every three years.
Institutions failing to obtain the certificate can be deemed derecognised and heavy fines could also be slapped on them under the provisions of the Act.