Mission RTE 5000

Summary

30% of country’s total RTE seats in Uttar Pradesh alone; Fill rate is dismally low at 0.01%; Major private schools are defiant despite a mandatory Supreme Court Ruling and state orders.

Right to Education Act (RTE), is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted on 04 August 2009, that advocates for free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years of age in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.

Its constitutional validity was established in April 2012 by the honorable Supreme Court of India in a landmark judgment that also made it “binding” on all unaided non-minority recognized private schools to reserve minimum 25% seats in Nursery / Class 1 for children from disadvantaged and economically weaker section as per Section 12 of the RTE Act.  The reservation is applicable till class 8 where the cost of fees, uniform, and books is reimbursed by the government directly to the schools. This scheme is often considered as the biggest ‘Public Private Partnership’ model in the world by many leading educationists.

As per the ‘State of the Nation’ report released on Mar 24, 2015 in Delhi, there are a total of 21 lac RTE seats available in the entire country, of which UP accounts for 6 lacs (30% of the total). Unfortunately the RTE report card of UP has been extremely dismal with only close to zero fill rate (54 admissions in the year 2014-15 | 54 admissions in the year 2013-14).

Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation (BAF) was the first organization that brought this serious issue to the notice of media, government at the topmost level, and civil societies in early 2014.  It didn't take us long to understand that there was a reluctance from government side as well as a private school lobby that had led to the fine imprints of policy roadblocks making it impossible to implement the 25% reservation clause. The clause 6 of government order dated 03 Dec 2012 requires a EWS child to first approach a government school in neighborhood before applying in a private school under RTE Section 12. This clause itself is in contradiction to Supreme Court ruling and need to be abolished.

The early reluctance of the government was mostly due to the large cost that the state would have had to bear in reimbursements from its own treasury. However, with revised SSA norms in April 2014, the central government took the burden on itself thereby clearing one major financial hurdle from the state government. However, a handful of elite private schools continued to oppose the law and pressurized the state government against implementing it. This is where BAF played the role of bridging alliances across multiple stakeholders and holding dialogues on RTE challenges as well as finding their solutions built on consensus in Nov 2014. The stakeholders involved were the government, private schools, RTE experts, civil societies, and the parents.

Objective

To create an autonomous and robust system for the state government to effectively implement the Right to Education (RTE) act Section 12.

 What is RTE Section 12(1)(C)

 Right to Education Act (RTE) is an  Act of the  Parliament of India enacted on 04 August 2009, that advocates for free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years of age in India under Article 21A of the  Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make  education  a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.

Section 12 of the Right to Education Act stipulates that every aided non-minority private schools in India reserve 25% of their seats at class I or pre-primary level for students from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), with the government reimbursing them an amount equal to the private school fees or the per-child spending in Govt. Schools (whichever is lower) and it will be applicable till class 8.

UP has been the worst performer in RTE implementation over four years

 Presently, as per the statistics of schools in U.P, there are 46,084 recognized Private Unaided schools (with class I) in Uttar Pradesh as per DISE and seats available are near about 600,000.

As per the ‘State of the Nation’ report released on Mar 24, 2015 in Delhi, there are a total of 21 lac RTE seats available in the entire country, of which UP accounts for 6 lacs (30% of the total). Unfortunately the RTE report card of UP has been extremely dismal with only close to zero fill rate (54 admissions in the year 2014-15 | 54 admissions in the year 2013-14).

RTE implementation status in Uttar Pradesh

Year

No. of Admissions

2015-16

4200

2014-15

54

2013-14

54

2012-13

0

2011-12

0

Outlook Article on RTE Section12

 Reasons for the ineffective RTE implementation

Despite the Supreme Court's verdict on April 2012 that established the constitutional validity of the RTE Act, the state of UP had very smartly avoided its implementation for four years. They passed a Government Order (GO) on 3rd Dec 2012 putting conditions that could hardly be met. It said that a EWS child can seek admission in a private unaided school only if there is no government school within 1 km radius or there is no vacancy in the nearest government school. This condition is clearly not aligned with the true spirit of the RTE clause since in majority of the cases one the two conditions are never met.

 Role of Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation (BAF)

 For the past two one and a half years, BAF has been working hard to get the Government order (GO), dated 3rd Dec, 2012, amended. We approached the government, private schools, and think tanks for the discussions over the GO amendment. In short, we fought a fierce battle with the government machinery. Last year we came very close to achieving the success but due to a powerful lobby of private schools, cabinet note couldn’t reach the floor of the house.

But it didn’t stop BAF to continue its work towards successful implementation of the RTE act. Now we changed our approach by trying to work within the existing government order. We are working closely with the state government’s top bureaucracy to try and get maximum number of possible admissions under the 25% reservation.

Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation’s Mission RTE 5000 aims to admit 5000 disadvantaged and economically weaker section children in private schools of Uttar Pradesh (UP) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act Section 12.

Strategy & Plan

 We are targeting 20 key districts of Uttar Pradesh as our focus area. Our approach is along following 3 planks-

  • Wards with no government school
  • Wards having government schools with class I enrollment of greater than 40(The new notification states that a government school with enrollment greater than 40 in class I cannot take any further admissions)
  • Habitations with no government schools within 1 km  radius

Eligibility criteria

  • Economically weaker section: Parents or guardians having BPL card or names in BPL list or annual income of less than 1 lac. Children of parents/guardians who are receiving widow pension or disability pension.
  • Disadvantaged Section: Schedule cast / Schedule tribe / other backward classes / HIV or Cancer affected parents / Orphans / Disabled children.

Documents required (only two | photocopy |self-attested)

  • Address proof – Adhaar card, Ration card, Voter ID card, passport, driving license, water bill, electricity bill etc.
  • Eligibility proof – BPL card or Income certificate or caste certificate.

    1. Awareness campaign

We also plan to create awareness among the parents and the society regarding the benefits of the RTE act by following methods-

  • Advertisement in newspaper(along with the state government)
  • Volunteers to cover each and every relevant wards
  • RTE booth/information center
  • RTE Toll free number
  • Run for Education(Marathon)
  1. Applications

BAF will help the parents in the paperwork involved in the application process. We     would set up a dedicated RTE booth and toll free number for the process. Each student would have 5 options to fill the private school names in the order of preference. This would ensure the admissions for all students. We would also ensure that each parent get a delivery receipt acknowledging the acceptance of the application.

  1. Allocation of schools to children

BAF proposed a unique centralized lottery system for the allocation of seats in private schools. This would make the process transparent. But due to small no. of applications, this year first come first serve methodology is being used by the department to allot the schools.

  1. Actual Admissions

 After receiving the application form, the Basic Siksha Adhikari(BSA) initiates the  verification of the application and the documents attached. Once the verification is over and application is found correct, the application is send to the District Magistrate (DM) for the final approval. Once signed by the DM the list of children and the respective schools is released. The BSA office then contacts the parents and informs them about the admission. A letter is also sent to school authorities informing them the details of children admitted in their school.

  1. Managing live database

BAF is maintaining a database of all the relevant private schools, seats available, and EWS admissions in them. This would ensure to keep the admission process on track giving us a live status of the situation.

  1. Post admission management & Social Integration

Once the EWS students get admission in the private schools, BAF would monitor their progress. We would try to integrate these students with the rest of the class. We plan to hold seminars and workshops to make the parents understand the importance of a diverse class. All the parents would be given the grievance helpline number of SCPCR( State Commission for Protection of Child’s Right) to complain if their children face any problem in the school.

Timeline

1.Admissions

Deadline 1 -Submission of application form with all the required documents- 30st April

Deadline 2 -Submission of application form with all the required documents – 31st July

2.Social Integration

Social Integration workshops and seminars:  August 2015 - October 2015

Collaborations

  • Sandeep Pandey- Aasha NGO
  • Balmanch NGO
  • Central Square Foundation(CSF)
  • Centre for Civil Society(CCS)
  • Accountability initiative

Appendix

Some newspaper articles covering our fight to implement RTE Section 12 in Uttar   Pradesh.

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