'Enforcing RTE will cost State 658 crore'

Estimates PAISA, a report prepared by Centre for Policy Research

If a study by the Centre for Policy Research is anything to go by, the State government will have to spend an additional Rs 658 crore to comply with the pupil-teacher norms and infrastructure facilities under the RTE Act.

The report titled ‘PAISA’ has been prepared by the Centre for Policy Research in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Finance Policy and the ASER Centre.

The RTE guidelines stipulate that a school should have the following seven infrastructure facilities: an office-cum-store-cum-head teacher’s room, barrier-free access, separate toilet for boys and girls, a kitchen for cooking mid-day meals, a playground, and a boundary wall or fencing for securing the school building.

Here’s how the State fares on some of these norms. The percentage of schools not having separate toilets for boys and girls is 35, a little more than the national average of 29.9 per cent. Drinking water is not available in 13 per cent of schools, while 7.1 per cent of schools do not have a kitchen shed. As much as 28.1 per cent of schools do not have an office/store room.

The RTE Act also mandates pupil-teacher norms for primary schools, where Karnataka fares extremely well. Only 6.6 per cent of schools in classes 1-5 have a shortfall in the pupil-teacher ratio, while 0.64 per cent of schools in classes 6-8 have a shortfall.

Under the RTE, schools with less than 60 students should have two teachers and those with 90 students three teachers. For 120 students, four teachers are mandatory, and schools with more than 200 students should maintain a 1:40 teacher-student ratio. The total cost of implementing RTE for existing schools across India works out to Rs 15,000 crore, according to the report.

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