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‘RTE scheme is for teachers, not students’

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on March 12, 2018

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The Right to Education (RTE) programme, implemented by the government in 2009, has failed to move in the right direction. According to Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Ford Foundation International professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and director of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, the programme only ensures steady source of livelihood to Government teachers.

“The programme is of the teacher, by the teacher and for the teacher. It hardly solves the purpose of right to education,” Banerjee said at an interactive session organised by Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, here, on Monday.

Talking about the quality of education, Banerjee said, a majority of the teachers go by the syllabus in a mechanical manner, with little focus on imparting knowledge. According to the Annual Status Education report (ASER) of 2012, nearly 47 per cent of the children in Class V could read Class II level text fluently.

The situation was even worse in mathematics. Only 25 per cent of the children in Class V could solve a simple division problem, the report said. “The Right to Education programme has only spread confusion. Replacing examinations with continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) has been of little help as the teaching process becomes meaningless without some way to monitor learning,” he pointed out.

The RTE emphasises on the teacher-student ratio, teacher salary and physical infrastructure among others. However, these factors hardly have any correlation with the improvement in learning, he said.

That children are not being imparted quality education in schools is evident from the fact that a significantly large percentage of students take recourse to tuitions.

The ASER 2012 study points out that nearly 23 per cent of students in the country take recourse to tuitions. The percentage is even higher (73 per cent) in West Bengal.

“The dependence on tuitions stems from the fact that schools focus on completing the syllabi instead of giving attention to students. Most of the teachers are not concerned about what the students are learning,” Banerjee said.

shobha.roy@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 19, 2013

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