New Delhi, RTE Forum: The Right to Education Forum (a civil society collective of over 10,000 organizations) has expressed grave concern on ignorance of the central government towards school education reflected in the recent Union Budget 2017-18.
Mr. Ambarish Rai, National Convenor of RTE Forum told that this budget has come as a big disappointment for the education sector already crumbling due to insufficient fund allocations since long.
He said that meager increase of 1000 Crores in SSA budget is not going to help in any way to implement the RTE Act meaningfully and effectively. Due to sever fund crisis RTE Act, 2009, as a Fundamental Right, has not implemented completely across the country within the stipulated time line. Only 9.5% schools are made RTE complaint across the country. Low allocation is hampering quality of education in Govt schools which caused 5 lakh teacher vacancy, 6.4 lakh teachers untrained, 10% single teacher schools, 30% schools without functional toilet for girls, 20% schools still lacking safe drinking water. Mr Rai said that it totally ignores the promises made by ruling party in its election Manifesto to enhance the education financing up to 6% which could make education accessible to each and every child. In this budget Finance Minister has increased only 1305 Crores for National Education Mission which comprise of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), Teacher Training and Adult education. It shows apathy of Govt of India towards school education and improvement of quality education. A nominal increase of 300 Crores in Mid day Meal is also totally insufficient to combat malnutrition among millions of school going children.
Mr Rai said that Budget has made no adequate financial arrangements for pre-schooling of children which essential for every child to prepare herself for schooling. Govt has ignored 158 Million children below the 6 years of age group and their educational rights.
Mr Rai said Finance Minister has ignored the suggestions made by RTE Forum and other civil society activists during the pre- budget consultation with him. He asked - “how can digitalization of education and skill training could be possible without universalization of basic education”??