Thursday 10 May 2018

No RTE admissions in Private schools in Uttarakhand| What about 1 Lakh PLUS Students?

Written by Anil Singh

When Uttarakhand assembly election campaigning was at its peak in 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically said in an election rally in Haridwar -- If you want to see Uttarakhand run at full throttle (full speed), then bring BJP to power.

Is it running at that speed? Keep reading.
  • In late 2017, some reputed newspapers reported that Uttarakhand government is planning to stop admitting children to private schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act from 2018-19 academic sessions. The primary reason behind the move was the lack of funds with the state Govt. The Central Govt. which is duty bound to provide 90 percent of RTE funds to Special States such as Uttarakhand, provided only a part of the funds for RTE students for 2015-16 and nothing thereafter. As a result the fund-starved state’s liability towards nearly 4,000 unaided schools in Uttarakhand reached to Rs. 100 crore in cumulative dues — tuition and annual fee --- for the students they had admitted under the RTE Act. 
The RTE Act in short mandates all private schools, to reserve 25% seats for students coming from socially and economically backward classes. At that time, the number of students in such schools had rose up to 1 Lakh 7 thousand.
  • Earlier this month, newspapers in Uttarakhand reported about Uttarakhand Government's decision to shut down all the Government schools with less than a certain number of students. Obviously, all these schools are situated in hard to reach villages in Uttarakhand.
  • Ever since, this Govt. came to power, it is speaking at lengths about "deserted villages" resulting from mass decampment (in Hindi, "Palayan") from Uttarakhand villages. The Government is also speaking non-stop about the ways it aims to stop this mass decampment from Uttarakhand hills.
  • Today, on May 10, 2018, the front page news report published in newspapers in Uttarakhand is: No RTE admissions in Private schools in Uttarakhand from the next academic session. The reason which is being offered by Uttarakhand Government now, is: the move will help increase the number of students in Government schools.

So what does all this mean?... Is Uttarakhand running at its full speed, as promised by PM Narendra Modi in election rallies in Uttarakhand in early 2017?

From the way the things are going. It doesn’t seem that way. It is even difficult to say – The state is running at an average pace.

Why go too far, it seems that the present state government has achieved its goal about RTE, the steps for which it started in late 2017.

Lets examine the above few examples. All are linked together.

If the state government doesn’t want people to desert their villages, then why is it planning to shut down certain Government schools in Uttarakhand? If there will be no schools, then even those people who are living there, will move out of their villages.

If the Uttarakhand Government is shutting them down because of low number of students, then why is it telling the people that stopping RTE admissions in Private schools in Uttarakhand will increase the number of students in Government schools? ... If the Government will shut down schools and stop RTE admissions at the same time, then where will it admit de-enrolled and new children?

The present Uttarakhand Government wants people to believe that all those who migrate to cities or other states, do so to provide quality education to their children. It may be true to some extent, but it is not majorly true.

The truth is, most people migrate for jobs and when they migrate, in the course of their lives, their children need schools. Not everyone who migrates to a city becomes rich. Most people who migrate, find it hard to make ends meet. The RTE is for them.

So there is a clear flip-flop in State Government's statements and decisions here?

The Government is giving reasons which are in clear contradiction(opposition) to one another.

Honestly speaking, the case seems to be like this: The Centre is NOT allocating sufficient funds to the Uttarakhand Government. In the absence of funds, the State Government cannot provide affordable education to children coming from economically and socially weak families. So instead of blaming the Central Government, the state Government is either putting the blame on everyone else OR is giving superficial reasons (in Hindi, "Satahi karan").

To conclude, if the Central Government is not giving its share of funds to the state, then why doesn't Uttarakhand Government tell it to release the much needed funds?

It is much better than calling everyone ignorant and offering wrong reasons.


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