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Steps on Right to Education Act

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 3 � Authorities here have braced themselves up for the challenging task of implementing the Right to Education Act that came into force from April 1. The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) is preparing an action plan for creating awareness amongst the State education functionaries as well as the general people.

The director of SCERT Dr U Deka said that the big challenge for the implementing agencies would be to enhance the skill of the teachers to extend quality education as per the provisions of the Act.

�SCERT would have to regularly train around 3000 teachers to meet the provisions of the Act,� said Dr Deka adding that the evaluation system too would have to be changed and SCERT would work with responsibility in this regard.

Project officer of SCERT, JK Sarmah informed that heads of all government teachers training institutes participated in a training programme organised by the SCERT to create awareness about the Act.

�Awareness is a must for successful implementation of the Act,� said Sarmah divulging that SCERT was planning a series of programmes related to the Act.

One initiative would be producing a documentary highlighting the rights of the child. SCERT is also deliberating on bringing out leaflets about the Act in the regional languages. �We are also compiling the research studies on elementary education that will go a long way in understanding and implementing the Act,� said Sarmah. A State level consultation is also being planned by SCERT.

On the other hand, the Asom Sarbha Siksha Abhijan (ASSA) is also gearing up for its part in the implementation of the Act. An official informed that all education officers of the State, the block education officers, the district education officers and the sub-divisional officers would be oriented at a workshop scheduled from June 22 in the capital city. The State as of date has 145 education blocks.

ASSA is also going to hold a mass level teachers training for elementary school teachers within August this year.

Doubts expressed: Meanwhile, ademicians and other conscious sections of the society have voiced concern regarding implementation of Act in the true spirit in the State. And this concern is not unfounded going by the past record of performance of the State Government.

It needs to be mentioned here that Assam and 13 other States and four union territories already have their own Acts related to compulsory education, but have not been able to fully implement the Acts.

In the case of Assam, an important Act that was passed way back in 1974 is the Assam Elementary Education (provincialisation) Act that clearly states that no guardian or any other person shall utilise the time or the services of a child whether on remuneration or otherwise in such a manner or at such time of the day as to interfere with regular attendance of the child in a school as required under this Act.

�But this Act was never enforced due to various socio-economic and cultural factors as well as administrative and financial constraints,� said a noted educationist.

A big challenge that the Right to Education Act has brought in for the State Government is provision of quality education to the children in schools.

With a view to ensuring quality education, the National Council of Teacher Education has laid the norms of recruitment clearly making pre-service training a pre-requisite for teacher recruitment, but the norms are diluted at the State level.

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