RTE lapse to cost State dearly

RTE lapse to cost State dearly

Failure to notify rules under the Act will deprive it of Central funds

RTE lapse to cost State dearly

 If RTE rules were not notified soon, the Ministry of Human Resource Development will also deny the states the Central fund meant for providing appropriate and safe transportation arrangements to disabled students to enable them to attend school and complete their elementary education. Street children would suffer, as the failure of the State in notifying the rules will prompt the Centre to stop funding for opening of new residential schools for them.

“The government’s intention to stop some part of the SSA fund has been communicated to all the 15 states, including Karnataka which have failed to notify RTE rules,” sources in the ministry told Deccan Herald.

At the last meeting of project approval board here, the States were categorically asked to notify the rules as early as possible else a decision would be taken by the ministry to stop releasing SSA funds meant for opening of new schools including residential schools for street children and providing transport facility.

“States, however, will continue to receive the rest of the SSA fund meant for other purpose under the flagship programme,” sources added.

The ministry has been forced to decide on stopping the release of funds to States that are yet to notify the rules because it was mandatory for them to notify neighbourhood norms under the RTE Act.

According to the Act, the governments and local authorities shall establish, within the area or limits of a neighbourhood, a school, where it is not already established, within a period of three years from the commencement of the law. A neighbourhood school is a school located within the defined limits or area of neighbourhood, which has to be notified by the state government under the state RTE rules.

Hence, state governments need to arrive at a clear picture of current availability of schools within defined area or limits of neighbourhoods. This will require mapping of neighbourhoods or habitations and linking them to specific schools.

“The provision of schooling facilities at appropriate locations is an essential prerequisite to universal elementary education. Release of funds meant for new schools is relevant only when the states concerned have notified the rules along with the neighbourhood norms,” sources said.

Universal access to elementary education requires schooling facilities within reasonable reach of all children. If schools are not located in or near the habitations where children reside, they are unlikely to complete schooling even if they are enrolled in schools, sources said.