“RTE Can Also be a Tool of Harassment”

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By Pragya Gupta, Elets News Network (ENN)

Sujit Bhattacharya, Director, Indus  World School Sujit Bhattacharya, Director, Indus World School

On Supreme Court’s verdict on RTE

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As a private school operator we see great merit in the role of RTE to create a more inclusive educational climate in our country. The government has to now play the role being a true facilitator of this act by creating transparent and robust norms of implementation, especially on reimbursement of costs to private schools. RTE must not become a tool in the hands of officials to harass private schools. We at Indus World Schools have already implemented RTE in our classes and we are very happy to partner the government in nation building. I hope the government also reciprocates by implementing clean and open processes and creating prompt payment systems so that the entire society promotes the idea of RTE rather than to find faults with it.

Expectations from the government

If the government gives the reasonable compensation for that 25 percent then private schools can do a wonderful. The current norms, which have been spoken about have to be looked at more seriously because the cost of education in a government  schools are many times cheaper as they offer basic form of education whereas cost of education in any private school which is aspiring to a quality is different. By using the simple benchmark of saying that whatever government schools are charging will be paid to the private schools will be paid the same it way rob the opportunity from private school to provide the quality education. This is what government needs to look at.

RTE can also be a tool of harassment in the hands of some lower level government officers. That is something government should think on very seriously. The education affects so many people and it can easily be misused. The kind of power has been given to district level officer can be misused in terms of approving the payment, in terms of approving the eligibility, payments, reimbursements, etc. There should be very clear norms, which are transparent, robust and easy to compliance. I do not want my school admin person to follow up with government official 20 times for payments. That should not happen as we are not a construction company who know how to deal with babus and clerks.

The second aspect is about how the economically weaker children will be intermingled with children of other section. There are psychology and social issues. In my opinion, at the younger ages like Nursery and KG children by enlarge do not understand these differences. If Schools are sensitive to this and train teachers and it can happen in a smooth way. Schools have to be sensitive about dealing with it in terms of training the teachers and sending the right messages to the parents so that as a society we will learn how to cooperate. However, RTE impacts on higher education grades. If suddenly student from a very different background enter into the school it can have ramification on the psychological well being of children of both side. Both will find difficult to cooperate with each other. If happens gradually they can settle down very well. Government should not rush to implement the RTE in higher grades.

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