Centre to hold discussions with state governments on RTE

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (ANI): The Centre has said that it would hold discussions with the different state governments to evolve a policy on how to give relaxation to 'marginalised' schools that may close down taking into account the tough registration conditions introduced under the new Right To Education Act (RTE) coming into effect from April 1.

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal said that there are a number of issues on which consultations are required with the states for implementing the Right To Education Act.

The Act says that "no school, other than a school established, owned or controlled by appropriate government or the local authority, shall, after the commencement of this Act, be established or function, without obtaining a certificate of recognition from such authority, by making an application in form and manner, as may be prescribed."

It provides for a number of conditions like all-weather building and playground facilities to make a school eligible for registration.

The Act is silent on fee structure and teachers' pay.

However, states like Delhi have separate laws, which say that registration would be given to those schools which would implement government pay scale for teachers.nder these circumstances, certain schools, whose economic condition is not good but they impart quality education, may be closed down.

Sibal said, "Schools should not be closed because of their poor economic conditions," adding that the states law will be applicable in those issues on which the RTE is silent.

While the central law is silent on teachers' pay, the Delhi School Education Act, 1973, stipulates that remuneration of teachers in private schools cannot be less than their counterparts in government schools.

This may further affect the condition of a number of 'marginalised' school which offer quality education.

"The marginalised schools will not be marginalised further," clarified Sibal.

Meanwhile, Sibal is expected to meet Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today to discuss the issue.

Implementation of RTE will be a problem in urban areas as availability of playground is a problem.

Sibal said, "The provision in the Act regarding 25 percent reservation of seats for poor students in private schools may not be implemented from this year since admission season is almost over."

"The states do not have data on how many students are eligible for admission into schools. This provision may be implemented from next year," he added.

Sibal said the government is opposed to commercialisation of education and no schools can charge the capitation fees from students.

If the state laws are in conflict with RTE, the states will be asked to bring them at par with the central Act, claimed Sibal. (ANI)

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