Schools may get more time for infra boost

Deadline could be relaxed by six months to a year

The Centre may consider extending the deadline for completion of school infrastructure under Right to Education (RTE) Act beyond March 31, 2013, for states lagging behind, even as the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) has decided to stick to the time-frame.

The issue of giving a second chance for achieving RTE standards in their school infrastructure is being examined, according to sources in the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.

 “The deadline could be extended for six months or one year. This could be done on a case-to-case basis, not for all states. The issue is being examined keeping in view that students should not suffer due to failure of some states in meeting the deadline,” a ministry source said.

The Act specifies a three-year time frame for all existing schools to meet several parameters stipulated under the law. According to Section 19 of the Act, non-compliance would lead to revocation of the school’s recognition and subsequent closure.

Any change in the deadline will require an amendment to the law. In order to resolve the issue, the ministry is considering seeking legal advice on whether the deadline could be amended through an executive order or an amendment to the Act.

“No decision has been taken. Meetings willbe held on the issue and a final decision will be taken very soon,” sources said.

States that are lagging behind include Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and few from the North-East.

Some of these states, especially Bihar, have often expressed their helplessness in meeting the deadline, citing various reasons including financial crunch. They have been requesting the HRD Ministry to give them more time.

When the issue figured in the CABE meeting on Thursday, some of the members vehemently opposed the states demand which prompted the Board to stick to the time frame. The Ministry is now giving a re-think to the issue as most of the states expressing their inability to meet the deadline are ruled by Opposition parties and they could create problems in passage of the pending bills of the Ministry in Parliament, sources said.

As many as eight key legislations including Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010, Universities for Innovation Bill, 2011 and National Council for Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011, have been pending at various stages for passage in Parliament for over two years.

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