M A I N   N E W S

Just 50% schools have right pupil-teacher ratio
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Half of India’s rural government schools don’t meet the prescribed pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) norms mandated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act and only 3.7 per cent meet the seven mandated infrastructure norms.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2010, the first baseline report for the RTE Act, shows 96.5 per cent enrollment of 6 to 14 year olds in rural government schools across India.

But only 55.8 per cent of the 13,021 schools surveyed in 522 districts had the PTR norms mandated under the Act. The law stipulates a PTR of 30 or less for schools with less than 200 enrolled students; for schools with greater enrollment, a PTR of 40 is prescribed.

By this yardstick, about half of India’s primary and upper primary schools will need more teachers. The ASER also concludes that one-third of schools will need more classrooms as the Act mandates one classroom per teacher. The study found 20 per cent schools with three teachers and 35 per cent schools with over five teachers not meeting the norms.

And though the law stresses on teachers’ regularity, the ASER reports a consistent decrease in all-India percentage of primary schools with all teachers present on the day of the visit - from 73.7 in 2007 to 69.2 in 2009 to 63.4 per cent in 2010. For rural India, children’s attendance is also not improving and remains stagnant at 73 per cent with some inter-state variations.

Regarding infrastructure, only 75 per cent schools visited have an office-cum-store as the Act mandates; 62 per cent have a playground and only half have a boundary wall. Though 63 per cent have a library, only in 38 per cent schools are the books being used. Likewise, though 90 per cent schools have toilets, only in half of these are the toilets are usable. Sadly, the RTE Act stresses on the provision of toilets but not their usability. Again, though 70 per cent schools have girls’ toilets, they are being used in just 37 per cent cases.

The ASER 2010 also warns the government on the complete silence of the RTE Act on the learning outcomes of enrolled children. “We find better learning outcomes in schools that meet the PTR norms. For instance, in Class III, 46 per cent children could read Class I text in the PTR compliant schools as against 39 per cent in non-compliant schools. The Act must specify ways of evaluating learning outcomes if right to education has to be ensured,” Dr Wilima Wadhwa, lead statistician for the ASER, said.

Uttrakhand and UP have the most catching up to do on the PTR front, with just 18 and 21 per cent compliant schools, respectively. The corresponding percentage is 100 in Daman and Diu, 50 in Punjab, 64 in Haryana and 61.3 in Himachal.

Sporty Puducherry

Puducherry leads on the sports infrastructure front with 95 pc schools having a playground; only 38 pc Jharkhand schools and 42 pc WB schools have a playground; The figures for for Punjab and Haryana are 69 and 79, respectively.

Most schools sans a boundary in Manipur (11 pc); least in Daman and Diu; percentage for Punjab and Haryana is 82.

Most interested in reading are the children of Puducherry where library books in 98 pc schools are in use; these percentages are 66 for Punjab, 41 for Himachal and 31 for Haryana.





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