NMMC education department organized a joint meeting of aided and unaided schools of Navi Mumbai at Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Koper Khairane as a first step towards ensuring implementation of the Right To Education Bill. As a first step, the corporation is collecting from schools data related to strength of students, number of class rooms, parents’ background, number of dropouts, infrastructure etc. Principals of almost all schools in the city attended the meeting informed Madhavi Naik, Head Mistress of St Lawrence High School.
Bhanumathi Ramachan-dran, principal of Anchorwala Umarben Lalji Vidyalaya expressed, “Each and every child has the right to education, regardless of whether he is rich or poor, belonging to any class or creed. This step is really welcome, but the fact cannot be ignored that the government has woken up too late. Now the government must ensure that does not get misused to serve vested interests”.
Dr Komal Merani of Komal Tutorials agreed, “The government must come up with some mandatory criteria to ensure that the bill is implemented in proper manner”.
Anuj Kumar Pandey, secretary of the All-India Federation of Parents’ Teachers’ Association said, “We appreciate the government’s effort to bring transparency in education. This will surely remove the gap between haves and have nots. The under privileged children will have a chance to get quality education at par with those who are more privileged. If implemented properly and rigorously for five years and the motion is kept for another 10 to 12 years, we will achieve 100 per cent literacy in India”.
Despite the optimism, Pandey is skeptical about the implementation of the Bill. He says, “The main obstacles are state governments. Are they willing to implement RTE? Is there any assurance that 100 per cent transparency will be maintained? Are they fully prepared with the infrastructure? Do they have qualified teachers? Is it possible for the government to get qualified teachers within a short span of three years? Why very few people are opting for teachers’ profession? Who is responsible? Will Shikshan Sevak Scheme work? Is there any guarantee that there will be no corruption? Who will monitor the whole process? Will the intended beneficiaries will ever get benefited or the idea will fall flat like the mid-day meal scheme?”
Dr MS Desmukh, president of Students’ Welfare Association, Kharghar said, “Nearly 70 per cent of educational institutions are run by politicians and they are more interested in profiteering than charity. Their intentions and motives are ulterior. There will be a huge element of corruption at every stage. No transparency will be maintained”.
Offering solution to the problem Pandey expressed, “The Central Government should appoint independent monitoring committees headed by judicial authorities and also fix responsibilities of officials who fail to implement RTE within specified period (by maintaining total transparency).”