Shruba Mukherjee, New Delhi, Jan 22, DH News Service

PM pushes Right to Education

Faced with criticism for the delay in implementing the much-hyped Right to Education Act Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday held an emergency meeting with the Human Resource Development Minister to expedite the process.

The meeting, which also included representatives of the Planning Commission, understood to have deliberated on the funding pattern and the share of the expenditure to be borne by the states. As per the HRD Ministry’s estimate Rs 1.71 lakh crore would be needed in the next five years for implementation of the Act.

A State Education Ministers’ meeting is likely to be convened towards the end of this month to share the funding format with them and take their approval. Though Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal refused to disclose on the deliberations he said, “we are on the right track and we are making fast moves to expedite the implementation.”

The Ministry has already framed the model rules for the Act which should be followed by the states.

Fund format

Sources told Deccan Herald that three formats have been presented before the Planning Commission for dividing the financial burden between the Centre and the states. While one proposal is to continue with the present format of 55:45 as is practiced in the case of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Since the HRD Ministry’s flagship education programme would be incorporated with the implementation of Right to Education Act, one argument is to continue the present practice. However, sharing the finances between the Centre and the states on 75:25 or 65:35 ratio has also been argued.

The states would also be asked to set up State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which has been specified as the monitoring agency for the Act providing free and compulsory education for children aged between 6-14 years. According to a set of statistics released by National University of Educational Planning and Administration on Friday the number of primary schools and quality of infrastructure has improved due to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

From 8,53,601 schools in 2002-03 their number has increased to 11,96,663 schools in 2006-07 and further to 12,50,775 schools in 2007-08. “It is heartening to note that more than 90 per cent of the new schools have school buildings and about 88 per cent of the institutions that impart elementary education now have drinking water facility,” the NUEPA statistics showed.

Of the total Muslim enrolment in primary classes, the percentage of Muslim girls is 48.93 which is quite similar to the share of girls in overall primary enrolment (48.38 per cent).


Deccan Herald, January22, 2010