Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Smt. Krishna Tirath Inaugurates National Convention on the RTE Act

Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development Ministry
Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development Ministry inaugurated a two-day National Convention on ‘Three Years of Completion of the RTE Act” in New Delhi, here today. 

This convention has been jointly organized by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and UNICEF. 

Around 300 participants associated with the implementation of RTE Act and other stakeholders from across the country are participating in the convention. 

Inaugurating the convention Smt. Tirath said that the title of the RTE Act incorporates the words ‘Free and Compulsory Education’, which implies that the onus is on the Government to provide and ensure free and elementary education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. 

It casts a legal obligation on both the central and State Governments to implement this fundamental child right as enshrined in the Article 21’A’ of the Constitution of India in accordance with the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009, she added. She said that the Act is a revolutionary Act. 

Stating that there is an urgent need to bring about a synergy and convergence with various departments and ministries of the Government, Smt. Tirath urged that other ministries such as HRD, Social Justice & Empowerment, Health & Family Welfare, Tribal and Minority Affairs should also be taken on board to ensure that there is no duplication of efforts and the resources can be used to the optimum level. 

Appreciating NCPCR’s role in monitoring the progress of RTE Act the Minister said that NCPCR and SCPCRs should also monitor out-of-school children to facilitate their access and participation in the schooling system. 

This would include children who have never enrolled or have dropped out, children who are temporarily absent, and children who are permanent migrants or who migrate seasonally with their parents. She also asked NCPCR to carry forward its initiatives of linking and networking with civil society organizations for monitoring. 

The purpose of holding the National Convention is to jointly take an overview of the RTE Act implementation so far and to review the progress made since its coming into effect on April 1, 2010. 

The convention bring togethers, on a common platform, representatives from NGOs, Civil society partners, International Organizations, concerned Central Government Ministries, State and Local Governments, and SCPCRs/REPAs, who are all involved in making RTE Act implementation a reality, and to solicit their opinions, concerns and suggestions. 

This forum will provide stakeholders such as community members, teachers and principals of both, the government supported and private schools, an opportunity to share their experiences and views on the Act’s implementation since its coming into effect. 

Welcoming the delegates, Chairperson NCPCR Ms. Kushal Singh urged all the participants to come out with constructive ideas and participate in the discussions to make the convention meaningful and successful. 

The two-day convention will discuss various aspects that hinder the effective implementation of the RTE, and ways to make it sharper in its focus and more effective. The participants will bring their knowledge and experience of working with the Act during the discussions and deliberations. 

Shri R. Bhattacharya, Secretary School Education highlighted the many appreciable outcomes that have been a result of the RTE such as drop-out rates have come down by about 7% in various categories in the last decade, and about 4% among the SC students.

 Enrolment figures have gone up due to better infrastructure, focus on providing amenities and facilities within the school campus, building primary schools within one km radius, teacher training and evaluation modules. Enrolment numbers have increased among girl students at the primary and upper primary levels, and also for Muslim students, he stated. 

Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, Country Representative, UNICEF; and Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission were also present during the inaugural ceremony. 

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