Minister of state for education Fauzia Khan on Friday said she cannot assure that the state government would be able to meet the March 31 deadline to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE). “I cannot assure. We will try our best,” she told reporters during her visit to the office of director of education in Pune. “The smooth implementation of the act will require more time. We will try our best to meet the deadline,” she added.
Commenting on the directives by the director of education asking schools to stop admission process for nursery and kindergarten, which had to be withdrawn following the furore, she said, “How can we issue such a circular? Will it not strangulate schools? They should have the freedom.”
She said, “Are we going to strangulate the private unaided schools. If we have control over their 75% admissions, then how will they work. They also have freedom to carry out certain administrative processes of their schools. These schools are in the public sector providing education and they have to have their freedom.”
She said citizens and schools must read the RTE Act instead of waiting for directives from the state. She said, “We issue government resolutions, which are in the public domain. They should be referred to as it is not possible for us to reach every doorstep.”
The minister said, “The act has given the state the right to take action against private unaided schools.” She was responding when it was brought to her notice that some schools in the city had bouncers at the gate who denied entry to education officers.
The state government accepted implementation of the RTE policy in 2010. The Supreme Court had directed the state to implement the act in three years and so March 2013 is the deadline for the state.
Director of education Shreedhar Salunke said, “We have to implement the act by March 2013 as per the Supreme Court directives. But the challenges are of infrastructure in the schools.” As per the act, every school should have adequate number of toilets for girls and boys, clean drinking water, adequate classrooms, benches and other infrastructure