Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal demand more funds for RTE

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal Friday demanded extra grants from the central government for implementing Right to Education (RTE).

Education ministers from these three state met Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and forwarded their concerns about financial crunch that may obstruct the way for RTE in the states.

These three states are currently getting nearly 45 percent of the allocation for Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan, which is supposed to be the launching vehicle for the RTE, and are expected to be allocated almost 50 percent of the funds for RTE.

Sibal separately met Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Minister Dharam Singh Saini, Bihar Humar Resource Development Minister Hari Narayan Singh and West Bengal School Education Minister Partho Dey to take stock of preparedness for implementation of the RTE.

An amount of over Rs. .71 lakh crore will be needed for the implementation of the RTE over next five years.

A major chunk (24 percent) of this amount is likely to go to Uttar Pradesh, while 17 percent might be for Bihar and 8 percent for West Bengal. These states have raised the issue of fund shortage earlier as well.

Sources say Sibal emphasised the need for recruiting qualified teachers to maintain the teacher-pupil ratio as mentioned in the RTE. Uttar Pradesh’s Saini raised concern over quality of teachers training courses available in the state and it was decided that two-year teacher training course at IGNOU will be revised to meet the demands to train teachers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Giving details of the progress made towards the RTE, the Bihar minister told Sibal that text books and curriculum for 1st, 3rd and 5th standards have already been revised. He added that the act will be overseen by the State Council for Education Research and Training as per the guidelines of the act.

West Bengal’s Dey informed Sibal about the problem with shifting school structure to a three-tier structure having 1st to 5th in primary, 6th to 8th in upper primary and 9th and 10th in the high school for implementing the act.

He said that a plan is being prepared by the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, to prepare a road map for implementing the act in the state. He added that more upper primary schools were being added in the state to correct the ratio between primary and upper primary schools.

Official sources said Sibal has informed the state ministers that the state rules for implementing the RTE will be notified soon.