Will implementation of RTE add to existing pressure?


The writer has mentioned challenges like paucity of funds and lack of trained teachers, and I would like to narrate my experience in this context.

The ‘Nali Kali’ programme is being implemented in government schools in the lower classes (Class 1 to Class 3).  This is good for rural children because they are mostly first generation learners.  Considering their socio-economic background and the inability of their families to help them in their studies, ‘Nali Kali’ encourages the child to come to the school voluntarily as he/she can play and learn. 

After Class 3 and Class 4 (which will be implemented in due course), they move up to Class 5 and into a mainstream  school.  They do not have the ‘Nali Kali’ pattern of learning anymore.  Henceforth, the children have to read, understand and apply the knowledge from textbooks, and write pages of questions and answers.

In Mathematics, algebra is introduced.  These children are not in a position to understand abstract concepts. Some of the lessons in Science, for example, the Drainage System which is taught in Class 5, seem out of context because these children do not have toilets at home.

Children who move from Class 4 to Class 5 find it very difficult to cope with such a heavy workload. It is also very difficult for the teachers to make them understand these topics and concepts. The students cannot get any help from their parents too.  If they are forced to learn they run away.  In reality, the dropout rate peaks at Class 5.  Inability to understand the lessons and cope with writing assignments are some of the reasons for the maximum dropout from schools. 

MLL (minimum levels of learning) is only on paper; it is not implemented in reality.  Proper guidelines in MLL are also not furnished. Under such conditions, can the objectives of ‘Right to Education’ be achieved?   RTE must not add to the existing stagnation and wastage.  There should be some solution to these problems before implementing the Right to Education Act.

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