Exclusive:What RTE? In Maharashtra, 1,400 schools still lack water, 2,100 don't have toilet

Home turfs of CM and education minister too have poorly managed schools, reveals the provisional report of District Information System for Education.

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As the world talks about the quality of education, the schools in Maharashtra are struggling for the most basic facilities-drinking water, separate toilets for the girls, playgrounds and even the school buildings. 

More than 1,400 schools across the state still don't have any water facility and over 2,100 institutions don't have the toilets-the two of the 10 basic parameters mandatory for the schools as per the Right to Education Act 2009. The latest provisional statistics of the District Information System for Education (DISE),the mandatory annual survey of the schools, reveals the pathetic conditions of the educational institutions in Maharashtra.

For example, over 17,800 schools don't have playgrounds and 24,000 lack even boundary walls out of total 1,03,119 schools across Maharashtra including private and government both. Over 833 schools are being run from rented buildings. "The information was collected up to September 2013.

The final report and the analysis would be submitted to the ministry by March end," says an official of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA-Maharashtra) which is division of the school education ministry. The break-up of private and government schools are not available yet. When compared with the report of 2012-13, the Maharashtra schools have improved a lot in terms of infrastructure.

However, a large number of schools still fail on basic parameters of RTE Act-ramp for the disable children, one classroom for one class, electricity, library, room for head mistress and kitchen shed, says the statistics exposing the poor implementation of the RTE Act 2009. While 257 schools in Mumbai lack playground, seven don't have building and 10 schools lack toilets, the situation at the home turfs of the Chief Minister (Satara) and School education minister Rajendra Darda (Aurangabad) is no better, according to the data.

Over 31 schools lack water, 19 lack toilets, 637 lack playground in Satara district which has 3,830 schools. In Aurangabad, out of 3,794 schools, 18 don't have own buildings, 54 lack water, 136 don't have playgrounds and half a dozen don't have toilets. The Act was introduced by the union government in 2010 to ensure free and compulsory education for every child in India in the age group of 6-14.

It also mandated the basic parameters for the schools so as to provide good and healthy learning environment to the children. While many states implemented the Act immediately, Maharashtra government woke up only in 2012-13 sans willingness which ultimately deflated the move.

The department showed some interest only in 2013-14 that too because of the deadline put up by the centre. Rajendra Darda, school education minister was unavailable for the comment and Mahavir Mane, Director of primary education didn't respond to calls. Educationist, Milind Wagh, says,

"The government's allocation for the education is too low as compared to the other countries which led to this poor show. The Navodaya vidyalya are the best example to explain if the government wishes, its schools can do wonder." He adds that the government needs to do something beyond the slogan.

"The central government has started Rashtriya Ucchatar Madhyamik Abhiyan to improve the higher education. It would be waste of money as till we don't have good school systems in place," says Wagh.

Schools with non-availability of the facilities (out of 1,03,119 schools) ParametersNumber of schools lacking (2012-13)Number of schools lacking (2013-14)Boundary wall32,02524,069Boys toilet12,4972,167Girls toilet2,7652,105Water1,5841,424Playground24,91817,875ElectricityNA8,183(Provisional data-DISE 2013-14)

Once again, edu officials to go on Singapore study tour While ground really is bizarre, a dozen education officials will soon fly to Singapore to understand the education system of the city-state which is known to be one the best. Only a year ago, a group of officials along with the minister of state Fauzia Khan has visited Singapore for the same purpose.

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