Huge gaps in budgetary allocation is acting as a massive barrier to implement RTE Act and in achieving universalisation of education in India
New Delhi 6th December, 2017. RTE Forum. Today (6th Dec, 2017), Ministry of Finance convened a Pre-Budget Consultation under the chairmanship of Mr. Arun Jaitely, the Finance Minister of India. Mr. Ambarish Rai, the National Convenor of RTE Forum participating in the consultation and giving its submission raised the concerns regarding hugely inadequate financing of school education in India. Right to Education Forum which is a civil society coalition of 10000 organisations across the country, demanded at least 6% of GDP. He emphasised that India is long committed to spending at least 6% GDP on education. This was a recommendation of the Kothari Commission, formed part of both the UPA and the BJP election manifestoes and also part of India’s EFA commitments internationally. However, India’s spending continues to fall short. Indeed, India continues to spend below the global average on education (3.7% GDP, 2017).
He said that even after 7 years of commencement of the RTE Act, there is a teacher vacancy of 17.51% (more than 9 lakhs) in government schools at the elementary and at Secondary level it is 14.78%. Their service conditions, qualifications and salaries vary widely. There is a need to ensure availability of the prescribed number of trained teachers in these schools as per the RTE Act. Around 10 % percent primary schools are only single teachers.. As per official data, the share of professionally trained teacher varies from 52.2 percent in Bihar to 99 percent in Maharashtra (DISE, 2015-16). The District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETS), conceived as teacher training and curriculum development institutions, have failed to live up to their roles. Private teacher training institutes constitute 92 percent which acts primarily as business houses instead of providing constructive teacher training.
Mr. Rai pointed towards the fact that India failed to meet the MDGs of achieving universal primary education by 2015. The new set of UN SDGs (Sustainable Development goals) 2015-2030 to which India has committed for universalisation of education up to secondary level. Now, extension of RTE needed accordingly from pre primary to secondary level. The government must calculate the resources required for fulfilling the targets and objectives under the Act and provide for it over a stipulated period of time.
RTE Forum gave its submission in pre budget consultation which demands mainly as follows: 1. Investment in RTE Implementation is investment in quality and learning, 2. Ensuring Availability of adequate numbers of trained and qualified teachers, Addressing Infrastructure gaps, 3. Need to address CAG Recommendations under the Audit of RTE Compliance, 4. Need to Increase Budgetary Allocation in Secondary Education and Universalise Education for Children Up To 18 Years, 5. Improving Financial Transparency in SSA