Maheish Girri, the BJP MP from East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, yesterday revealed that he had introduced a Private Bill in the Lok Sabha, which asks for amendments in the Right to education or RTE act:
Have introduced today a private bill in Loksabha for Constitutional Amendment that requires for amending the Right to Education Act.
— Maheish Girri (@MaheishGirri) July 22, 2017
The MP also pointed out that he wanted one of the biggest flaws of the act amended, and also provided logic for the same.
The act in question stipulates that all the private run unaided schools need to reserve 25% of their seats for students from the weaker sections of the society. But the main issue is that the minority run institutions are exempted from following this directive as per the 93rd amendment in the constitution passed in 2005.
The Supreme Court in 2014 had also reiterated the point that the RTE act would not be applicable to aided and unaided minority schools and that they can’t be obligated to reserve 25% of the seats.
Maheish Girri claimed that this amendment contradicted the right to equality which has been enshrined in our constitution. He also stated that no waiver should be given to any particular faith by a society which promotes the idea of secularism.
Also as reported in the past, this discrimination against majority run schools has meant that the number of minority schools are steadily rising at the cost of Hindu run schools. According to the report which sampled data from Urban Bangalore, the number of private unaided schools just grew from 2,753 to 2,868 from 2012-13 to 2015-16 which was measly growth rate of 1.35%. While minority institutions on the other hand grew from 160 to 340 which was a growth rate of 28%.
Further, it has been reported that Hindu run schools are even struggling to stay operational due to difficulty in RTE compliance. The report also stated that more than 3000 of such schools have been forced to close throughout the country.
The RTE Act has another problem, which demands a 30:1 student to teacher ratio, puttin a further strain on the school’s finances. Also if in any case the government is unable to fill all the reserved 25% seats it doesn’t mean that the school can use them admit students of its own choice. The act stipulates that the seats need to be kept vacant year on year which means they cannot be filled till the 8th standard.
While the bill is a welcome step, only 14 private member bills have passed in India since Independence, which perhaps foretells the possible outcome of this effort. But at least this bill may shine the light on the flaws of RTE, paving the way for amendments by the Government.