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Govt to launch Right to Education campaign today

Nov 11, 2011 09:27 AM IST India India

Mumbai: The government will be launching the Right to Education campaign across the country called 'Shiksha Ka Abhiyaan' on National Education Day. It is reported that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make an appeal to the students of the country urging them to study hard. The appeal will be read out in 13 lakh schools across the country on Children's Day.

Meanwhile, children in Uttar Pradesh will be listening to not just the Prime Minister's speech on the November 14, but also get to hear one from Chief Minister Mayawati herself.

Mayawati has also written a letter, urging students to be inspired by her and learn from her life's struggles.

This comes as the UPA tries to make the Right to Education campaign their next big flagship scheme.

However, reports suggest that the RTE implementation in Maharashtra is not working as well as planned.

Christ Church School Principal Carl Laurie said, "The situation is fluid. I can't say it's very clear. So we are at a loss really of how to really proceed with this."

Laurie is echoing the concerns of 97,000 school authorities as the process of admissions begin in Maharshtra.

While the UPA is showcasing the Right to Education as its big flagship legislation, Congress ruled Maharashtra has failed to even notify the rules of the act. Most schools are unclear if they should reserve 25 per cent seats for the economically disadvantaged, as mandated under the RTE.

Forum for Fairness in Education member Jayant Jain said, "Suppose if at all any school would like to give admissions to the weaker section of the society or 25 per cent reservation, where is the criteria? Where are the rules, means, how to give the admissions? Whom to give the admissions? Whether to schedule cast, whether to schedule tribe, whether to OBC, minority or HIV students or disadvantaged group means handicap children?"

Worse still, the state is nowhere close to filling the shortage of teachers and infrastructure. Around 45 per cent of the funds meant to implement the act needs to come from the state but the budget hasn't even been accounted for.

School education Department Minister Rajendra Darda said, "Yes, I know there is a lot of confusion. Number of schools are coming out with their queries also. And though we have made the RTE rules, we are in constant touch with the Union Ministry. At the same time we are also discussing this 25 per cent reservation matter with different states. What kind of a strategy these other states have adopted. And we are sure whatever the confusion is there we will be able to sort out in time."

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had recently flayed big states saying it would a historical failure if the revolutionary legislation does not take off even two years after it was passed.

At a time when the Maharashtra Education Department is dealing with possibly its biggest scam of bogus students in government aided schools, there is much it needs to do to put its house in order.