Rajasthan eyes major changes to RTE Act

Vasundhra RajuThe Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan is in plans to bring two major amendments to the Right To Education (RTE) Act. These changes include reintroducing exams in at least three classes from Class I to VIII, and giving more importance to “learning outcomes” than to physical infrastructure of schools while deciding on their recognition or registration.

Parents are learnt to have suggested that a complete ban on exams till class VIII was not in the best interest of the child. Accordingly, the state is considering evaluations in classes III, V and VIII.

The second significant change stresses on giving more weightage to “learning outcomes” of schools than on hardware such as school buildings, playgrounds etc. Here, the Rajasthan government has taken note of the closure of a large number of private schools in several other states because they could not manage the RTE-mandated physical infrastructure requirement.

The Centre for Civil Society estimates that at least 34.94 lakh children have been affected with 19,414 schools across 17 states having been closed or issued notice for closure for not fulfilling the norms related to infrastructure and teacher salaries. The state is now in plans to restrict the weightage on infrastructure and other inputs to 30 per cent or less, and instead focus on absolute, relative (compared with previous year) and scholastic learning outcomes.

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