From a total absence of a system to identify out-of-school children to lack of a monitoring system in implementing the Right to Education Act, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s latest report has pulled up Maharashtra for shoddy implementation of the RTE.
The report points out the huge gap in the numbers of out-of-school children as calculated by the education board and by Women and Child Development Department. “Audit shows there were 2.30 lakh out-of-school girls in the age group of 11 to 14 years in the state who were being provided supplementary nutrition under Integrated Child Development Service Scheme implemented by W&CD as on March 2014. However, the School Education and Sports Department identified only 19,713 out-of-school girls in the same age group for the purpose of training under SSA in the AWP&B of 2014-15,” the report says. It also points out that almost five years after the Act came into force, the state government is yet to have a system to track the children who are not attending schools or have dropped out. The other deficiencies pointed out by the report include non-availability of free transport for students, teacher shortage, decrease in enrolment in government schools, diversion of reserved seats to children belonging to general category in violation of RTE rules.
Nilesh Borate, an educational activist, said, “The biggest roadblock in implementation of RTE is corruption. Big schools don’t want it and the government plays into their hands. There is a huge need for a proper grievance redressal mechanism and most of all, a political and bureaucratic will to implement the Act.”
Despite repeated attempts, Mahavir Mane, director of Primary Education, and Nand Kumar, principal secretary, education department, were unavailable for comments.
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