In 2009,the Right to Education Act came into effect with the promise of free and compulsory education to all aged 6 to 14,an optimum pupil-teacher ratio,and the basics such as spacier classrooms,playgrounds,ramps,water,toilets andqualified teachers. With the first major deadline (March 31) for compliance by states approaching,many of those targets are yet to be achieved. A progress report:
1 in 5 untrained
Of over 52 lakh posts sanctioned across states,11 lakh are still vacant. Battling this shortage,particularly of qualified teachers,has been the most challenging task for states. This has been a focus area but 8.6 lakh teachers,or around 20 per cent,are still untrained.
Though most states have begun conducting the Teachers Eligibility Test to ensure only trained teachers join schools,it remains to be introduced in Karnataka,Jammu & Kashmir,Meghalaya,Goa,Mizoram,Nagaland,Sikkim and Tripura.
Bengal has the highest number,1.97 lakh,of teachers who are untrained when assessed under the norms of the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). Bihar has 1.86 lakh,followed by Uttar Pradesh with 1.43 lakh,Jharkhand with 77,000,Chhattisgarh with 48,000,Orissa with 40,000,J&K with 31,000,Assam with 16,000,Meghalaya with 14,000,Arunachal Pradesh with 9,000,and Mizoram with 6,000.
With states struggling to develop infrastructure and resources for training institutes,the HRD ministry has extended till 2015 the deadline for 13 states for training teachers in distance mode. As per the agenda to be discussed at the Central Advisory Board of Education next week,the NCTE has approved such training in Arunachal Pradesh (8,948 teachers),MP (34,902),Jharkhand (15,967),Bihar (39,210),Chhattisgarh (45,225),Meghalaya (7,822),Manipur (6,583),Nagaland (10,863),Orissa (30,067),Bengal (1,15,050),Uttarakhand (2,374),UP (1,24,000) and Assam (68,727).
Pupils per teacher
3 of 5 get it right
Only 59 per cent of schools have reported the right pupils-to-teacher ratio (a maximum 30 for schools with 200 pupils,and 40 where the student count is higher). In Bihar only 14.8 per cent have achieved it,in Dadra & Nagar Haveli 30.91,in Jharkhand 35,in UP 38.55,in MP 42 and in Arunachal Pradesh 43.
Of other infrastructure,schools have done better in providing drinking water to students: 94.26 per cent have the facility. Proper toilets,however,remain inaccessible to many 2 2 per cent provide a common toilet,and 64.8 per cent separate ones for boys and girls. Only 61 per cent provide a ramp for children with disabilities.
Work hours,child rights
Most states have reported how far they have followed the stipulation of 200 working days and 800 instructional hours at primary level,and 220 days and 1,000 hours at upper primary. Goa has had 210 working days and 925 instruction hours at upper primary; Meghalaya and Mizoram 600 instruction hours at each level; Rajasthan has not yet specified its progress on this aspect.
All states have notified rules to set up academic authorities; 26 have set up a State Council for Protection of Child Rights. Nineteen have renewed the curriculum while Assam,Himachal Pradesh,Maharashtra and Punjab are in the process of doing so.