A DISMAL SCENARIO…?

Despite claiming to have made tremendous progress in education sector across the nation the output is far below the desired level especially in the state of Jammu and Kashmir where the sordid tale of the affairs of the sector is an open secret. Right to Education Act has implemented in India for the past about eight years but despite that a huge disparity between urban and rural education and rich and poor children having radically different schooling experiences continues even today. A critical appraisal of the functioning of RTE reveals that large gaps exist only due to implementation flaws. The law is the best panacea to improve the education scenario in India but there is flaw in its ground implementation especially due to the vested interests of some politicians and the menace of corruption playing a spoil sport in this most significant national cause. Experts have many a times advocated for ensuring special audit mechanisms for effective implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act asking states and local education authorities to monitor the implementation of the Act more seriously. It is an acknowledged fact that quality of education suffers due to understaffing and lack of training of teachers and as such there is a need to focus on making teachers’ remuneration more attractive. Although huge funds have been flowing into this sector but the main focus has been on developing school infrastructure with teachers’ training as well as appointments kept back stage. Around 37 per cent of primary schools are short of the prescribed national pupil-teacher ratio norm of 30:1. What is most surprising according to a reliable report is that around 10 per cent of schools across the country remained single teacher schools. Not only this, teacher absenteeism continues to be rampant in many parts of the nation, the worst position being in J&K which has directly impacted especially the disadvantaged students in remote and far flung areas where monitoring is often avoided by the concerned officials. In J&K the substandard infrastructure coupled with dearth of teachers in specific subjects in the government schools had compelled the parents to ensure that their wards either get admitted to private institutions or else give up education rather than pursuing education in the government schools. Since affording the fees of private schools is not everybody’s cup of tea therefore most of the students had to give up education and those who under compulsion had to continue in the government schools had to face a lot of hurdles on account of receiving sub standard education in the government schools especially in the far flung and remote areas. It is hoped that the stakeholders at the Central as well as State level especially in the state of J&K will rise to the occasion and respond positively to address this vital issue by streamlining the education system to provide quality education to all which is a constitutional right guaranteed to every citizen of this nation.