Right to Education – RTE no guarantee of Educational Outcomes

The Right to Education Act makes it fundamental right of every child between the age of 6 and 14 years to obtain education in any government or private school. The Act makes it mandatory for schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for students belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society.

A research paper by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), published in the Journal of Comparative Economics, aims to establish that there is no relation between the inclusion of right to education in the Constitution of a country and higher learning outcomes.

“In this paper we find no evidence supporting the view that countries that enshrine the right to education in the constitution have higher quality educational systems than countries that do not.”

Citing a study conducted through standardized tests known as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) in around 65 countries involving 15-year-old students, OECD measured their applied skills and knowledge in math, science and reading.

The results from 61 nations suggested that those with stronger constitutional provisions on education have lower scores when projected against those countries with fewer provisions.

“Moreover, our results suggest that there is no relation between the strength of constitutional protection and the dispersion of test scores.”

The research also states that United States doesn’t include any “positive” social rights like right to education, as an example to perhaps prove their point/validate their research. Even without making it a fundamental right, when it comes to quality education, United States is one of the leading nations, with many of its universities figuring in the top list in diverse domains like engineering, business administration, scientific research, medicine, law etc. The education infrastructure is the best, with abundant scholarships, grants and internships to enable students to enroll themselves without much hassle.

Despite having education as a fundamental right, basic education infrastructure in India is in bad shape. Lack of qualified teachers, funds, poor learning outcomes are some of the grave issues of concern.

Education was made the fundamental right by the Government and the responsibility to educate India was passed on to the private schools, many of which are low budget schools which can’t afford the 25 per cent reserved seats for EWS. The Government promised to reimburse the private schools but it turned out to be another fake promise. This is the surface of the mess Sonia’s RTE has created.

Horrible tales of failure of Sonia Gandhi’s flawed RTE Act across the country are a matter of daily news now, said a detailed report on the failures in formation and implementation of the Act.

When enshrining educational rights in Constitution adversely affected learning outcomes in 61 countries, there seems to be limited possibility of RTE working in India. Already, signs of its imminent epic failures are vivid.

Source: NITI Central

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