Govt formulates provisions under ‘Right to Education Bill’

Govt formulates provisions under ‘Right to Education Bill’

New Delhi: The government has formulated provisions under Right To Education Bill doing away with capitation fee and screening procedure for admission of children.

The financial burden to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008, which would be introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament, will be shared between states and Centre.

The Bill stipulates duties and responsibilities by parents, private schools and local communities to ensure that the children in the age group of 6-14 years get free and compulsory education.

“The bill will be introduced in the current session. Whatever be the financial requirement it will be provided by the state government and the Centre for purpose," Elementary Education and Literacy, Secretary, A K Rath said.

As per the Act, no school should charge capitation fee on students. A school can be penalised ten times of the capitation fee charged by it for admission.

“Similarly, screening during admission is prohibited. A school will pay penalty of Rs25,000 for first contravention and Rs50,000 for each subsequent contraventions," Rath said.

A school can be fined up to Rs1 lakh if it does not have recognition from the body concerned.

“The Act provides for 25% reservation of seats in private schools for poor children in neighbourhood. The government would reimburse the money at government rate towards these seats," Rath said.

“As per an estimation, the financial requirement to implement the act will be Rs2.28 lakh crore for a period of 7 years. Apart from the existing schemes, the government will have to spend an additional Rs12,000 crore per annum for implementation of the act," Rath said.

“It is decided that the state and the centre will jointly take the financial burden. But the ratio between the states and the centre for the purpose will be finalised later. The states have said they will cooperate with the Centre for implementation of the Act," he said.

Asked if any state develops cold feet to bear the burden on the ground of financial problem at its end, Rath said that such a matter may be referred to Finance Commission.

“In such cases, the Centre can pay more funds to the specific states. But the matter would be first taken to the Finance Commission before taking any decision," he said.

For grievance redressal and monitoring of the Act, there will be Commissions for Protection of Child Rights at state levels under the National Commissions for Protection of Child Rights.

These commissions will have the power of a civil court and pass enforcible orders in case of any violation of the Act by any school or any agency involved in the programme.

Besides, each school will have a committee comprising parents of the kids and eminent persons from the local areas who will monitor and ensure the act is implemented properly.

“The focus will be more on quality, facilities and learning material," Rath said.

Each school need to maintain a pupil teacher ratio of 40:01, he said. The urban-rural divide with respect to facilities and teaching staff will be mitigated.

The Act, which is a major achievement of the UPA government, also specifies among other things school working days and teacher working hours. It prohibits physical punishment to children and private tuition by teachers.

The Union Cabinet last week cleared the Bill after a group of ministers scrutinised and cleared the draft legislation early this month without diluting the content.

The Right to Education Bill is the enabling legislation to notify the 86th Constitutional amendment, which gives every child between the age of 6-14 years the right to free and compulsory education. It was passed by Parliament in December 2002.