Even though the Right to Education (RTE) Act was enforced in 2010, the Punjab government is yet to implement it in letter and spirit. This despite the fact that the government spent more than Rs 1 crore this year to publicise the Act.
As per the RTE Act, private schools must keep 25 per cent of seats for the students from economically weaker sections (EWS). However in Punjab, the private schools are reportedly reluctant to admit students from the EWS category.
“Schools are not ready to admit children from the EWS category as mandated in the Act. Most schools have allotted the RTE seats to children from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who are already studying in their schools,” said an education department officer.
Also, the state is yet to meet the condition of the RTE’s specified ratio of 40 students per teacher, as there is huge shortage of teachers in the state.
Punjab Education Minister Sikandar Singh Malooka while claiming that the Act will be implemented completely by next year added that there are many provisions that require clarity. He said a committee has been formed to look after the modalities of the Act.
The Punjab government reportedly plans to keep a budget of Rs 200 crore to implement the RTE Act in the state.