A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, known at the RTE Act, was tabled in Parliament last week. The report established numerous irregularities in its implementation. However, the key issue highlighted in the report is the Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR), which is ideally essential to be 30:1 in primary schools (PS) and 35:1 in upper primary schools (UPS), is terrible in 11 states.
Section 25 of Act had stated that the PTR is maintained in each government school within three years (31 March 2013) from the date of commencement of this Act. But the situation on the ground is quite different. Besides, though RTE norms prohibit single teacher schools, the CAG report observed thousands of schools being run by single teachers.
The states that have failed to comply with the Act include:
Bihar: the PTR in both PS and UPS schools was in the range of 50:1 and 61:1 between 2010 and 2016. Moreover, 3,269 PSs (8%) and 127 UPSs (1%) were running with the single teacher during 2015-16.
Gujarat: While 64 schools with a total of 5,698 students had no teachers during 2013-14, 677 schools had only one teacher as of March 2016. Apart from that, there were 843 and 7,333 surplus teachers in 1,539 PSs and 4,243 UPs respectively as of March 2016.
Chhattisgarh: The report observed both adverse and surplus PTR. In 2015-16, out of 30,919 PSs and 13,408 UPSs, in 4,362 PSs and 2,112 UPSs there was adverse PTR and in 13,947 PSs and 8,227 UPSs, there was surplus PTR. The report says the department failed to correct the deployment of teachers even after being pointed out.
Madhya Pradesh: Upto 48,132 PSs and 15,107 UPSs had adverse PTR during 2010-16. However, in some test checked districts, 2,925 teachers and 729 head teachers were working surplus in 2,444 PSs against the necessity as per the RTE Act and 751 teachers and 621 full-time head teachers were working in excess in 886 UPSs. 17,938 (15%) to 20,245 (18%) schools were working with single teachers during 2010-2016. In eight districts, there were no teachers whatsoever in 1,329 PSs and UPSs. Against the requirement of three teachers, two teachers were available in 7,269 (24%) (2013-14) to 7,937 (26%) (2015-16) UPSs.
Andhra Pradesh: 5,282 PSs (15%) and 35 UPSs (0.67 %) had single teachers as of 31 March 2016 and further, there were 1,928 PSs (5.5 %) and 829 UPSs (16%) with adverse PTR.
Haryana: The report says that there are 788 PSs (8.86%) and 269 UPSs (4.79 %) running with single teachers in 2015-16.
Odisha: As a whole, 2,023 (3.4%) schools were functioning in the state with single teacher during 2015-16. In sampled districts, 85 schools with 2,379 students (2015- 16), were operative with a single teacher against the norm of two to three.
Punjab: There were 1,406 PSs (10.78 %) and 228 UPSs (3.61 %) running with a single teacher.
Rajasthan: Generally, 11,071 PSs (29%) and 365 UPSs (2%) were running with single teacher in 2015-16.
Tamil Nadu: There were 197 (2.39 %) single teacher schools in 154 government schools during 2015-16.
Meghalaya: Scrutiny of records of the State Project Director, State Education Mission Authority Meghalaya (SEMAM) during 2010-16 revealed a favorable PTR ratio. However, 224 single teacher schools reflect irrational deployment of teachers as of 31 March 2016.
After the enactment of the RTE in 2010, there were two deadlines set to implement the Act; for the fulfillment of the requirement of teachers’ recruitment by March 2013 and 2015 for the regularisation and training of all teachers. However, neither of these requirements was fulfilled. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is responsible for the implementation of the RTE Act, had asked for the deadline to be extended. On 20 July, the Parliament agreed to extend the deadline till 2019.