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Challenges in implementing the RTE Act

By Ramakant Rai

The budget for implementation of the RTE Act throughout the country is just half of the amount spent on the 2010 Commonwealth Games, so funds are scarcely the problem. Why is there a resistance to complete implementation of the Act from states, centre and civil society?

Right to education act

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After the RTE Act, the focus is on quality of education

By Mini Shrinivasan

The government’s film, School Chale Hum, shows children all over the country eagerly running to school. Indeed, 98% of habitations now have a school within 1 km. But with unintended irony, the scenes shot inside the schools are all about rote learning or copying from the blackboard. Will the historic Right to Education Act 2009 bring in schools that do something more for our children? 

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Why are children not in school?

By Mini Shrinivasan

According to the 2001 Census, 65 per cent of Indians are literate. And almost every child now has access to a school, with around 95 per cent of our rural population having a primary school within one kilometre of their habitation. This is a significant achievement. But the big questions are: does the socio-economic condition of children allow them to go to those schools? How many dro p out within a year or two? And what is the quality of education available at these schools?

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The bogey of the impressionable mind

In the wake of the controversy over the Nehru/Ambedkar cartoon in NCERT textbooks, Havovi Wadia and Arun Kumar point out the folly of seeing children as empty vessels and passive absorbers of information, incapable of engaging actively with the learning process

Ambedkar cartoon controversy

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RTE as a social experiment towards equality

Rakesh Shukla examines the recent Supreme Court judgment on the Right to Education, which clarified that the obligation on un-aided non-minority schools to admit 25% children from disadvantaged groups is a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to carry on a business or occupation

Right to Education Act

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A dismal report card

By Chitta Behera

Around 17,282 habitations in India do not have a primary school within 1 km, 148,696 government schools still do not have a building, 165,742 have no drinking water, 455,561 schools have no toilets, and around 114,531 primary schools are single-teacher schools. Where does that leave the Right to Education, which has been notified by only 9 states 15 months on?

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Numbers, at the cost of quality?

By Anu Kumar

After the passage of the Right to Education Bill, elementary school education is now compulsory, and free. But several questions remain, including how children outside the 6-14 age-group will be covered, and how the neighbourhood schooling system will be implemented

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Ragging as human rights abuse?

“Ragging” is not a rite of passage or a bit of fun and games. It is a serious crime and should be regarded and dealt with as such by students, teachers, parents and law enforcement agencies, says Kalpana Kannabiran

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The first and last learners

By Rahul Goswami

If anybody knows about education for a sustainable future it's young Kelechütsü  and Megozokho in Khonoma, Nagaland. They are free to learn as and what they will, without fear of examinations and admissions, with the freedom to experiment with a curriculum that reshapes itself every day

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A school with a view

Sunandita Mehrotra

Swajan Siksha Samiti, an alternative education school perched on a hill in Ghati village in Uttarakhand, revives local culture and encourages creative learning. It has a zero dropout rate

alternative education

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Tomorrow’s children

By Moushumi Basu

Adivasi children orphaned and traumatised by extremist violence in Chhattisgarh find education, sport, theatre and emotional support at residential schools like Uttaran

displaced adivasis

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One room, two teachers, six classes

By Burhan Majid

The state of elementary education in Kashmir is pathetic, says this reporter. Many believe that the funds for midday meals could be better utilised to improve infrastructure and the quality of education in the state

Elementary education in Kashmir

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Report card on RTE two years after

By Rashmi Gupta

Two years after the Right to Education, 36% of sanctioned teacher posts lie vacant, several states do not meet the required pupil:teacher ratio, funds lie unspent, and monitoring bodies are somnolent

National Right to Education Forum report on RTE

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No meal, no school for Bodo children

By Sumir Karmakar

There are 793 primary schools in Bodoland which, in the absence of government recognition, have no concrete buildings, free textbooks, water, sanitation and, most of all, midday meals. As a result, school attendance is low, an unfortunate situation in a region that has 33% literacy compared to 64.28% for Assam as a whole

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Schools for all

By Deepti Priya Mehrotra

Elementary school enrolment rose from approximately 156 million in 1999-2000 to about 194 million in 2006-07. The Annual Status of Education Report-Rural by the Pratham Resource Centre finds that school enrolment for rural areas, for children aged 6-14, was 93.4% in 2006. It increased to 95.8% in 2007. This is no mean achievement. Concerted efforts, committed policies and programmes have borne some fruit

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Interactive approaches for special children

By Rupa Chinai

Sangath Society, a Goa-based CSO working with mental health issues, has come up with the concept of 'resource rooms' for children with learning disabilities, within their normal schools, where they can be given special attention. The concept is currently being pilot-tested in three schools in the state

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Open school for Bhopal's slum children

By Aparna Pallavi

Arambh has taken up the challenge of getting Bhopal's slum children to return to school. Scores of children attend its centres to study and re-enter the education system, at timings that best suit them, especially if they are working

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Environmental education finally finds a place in India's school textbooks

By Shilpa Shet

Thanks to a two-year study that identified the gaps and anomalies in environmental education in India, 800 schools now have a new and improved syllabus that promotes an understanding of environmental issues

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Have cycle, will study

By V Radhika

Sometimes solutions to problems as grave as female illiteracy can be so simple. Providing a humble bicycle to girls in Maharashtra's villages has allowed students who would normally drop out after Class VIII to go on to finish high school. The project has been initiated by Ashta No Kai (ANK), Pune

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Kerala's neo-literates lapse into the darkness of illiteracy

By M P Basheer

Eleven years ago Chelakkodan Ayesha announced Kerala's total literacy status by reading a verse from the Quran before a thundering crowd. Today she is fumbling over the letters in 'Kerala' and cannot write her own name. What has gone wrong? Why have Kerala's literacy levels plummeted from 95 to 80 per cent?

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