Ernst & Young Right to Education : role of private sector
The Right to Education Act (RTE), enacted in 2009, has ushered in hope for school education in the country. It is the primary responsibility of the Government to ensure implementation of the Act. Being part of the concurrent list, the Central and state governments are both responsible for ensuring effective implementation of the Act. There has been significant improvement in terms of the number of primary schools, largely due to additional resources made available through the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan to bridge existing gaps. In addition to the Government’s initiative, the private sector has also played a role in improving the state of education in the country and continues to do so. This study explores the role of the private sector in implementation of the RTE.
- This was done through interactions with 32 respondents from varied fields – government officials, NGOs, academics, researchers, NGOs, school teachers and principals, corporate foundations. These are representatives of the non state players. The study defines these non state players as part of the private sector. There are varied opinions on some sections of the Act from different perspectives. The study includes some views and counters those on some aspects of the Act.
- The Act has by and large been welcomed but there is also a strong feeling that it does not adequately address the issue of quality. It is necessary to define learning outcomes also in the absence of which the Act remains only input oriented. Even in its present form there is a need for making monitoring of its implementation more robust.
- The study is based on the premise that universalization of quality education cannot be achieved without strengthening the public education system. This study focused only on the aspect of strengthening of government schools through the efforts of the non state players or the private sector.
- While each organization carries out programmes related to education as per their mandate, there is a lot of commonality in the work being done. Each stakeholder brings a different set of skills, which can collectively help in effective implementation of the RTE. If child rights are central to all planning efforts, there is a lot that different stakeholders can do collectively to support the Government in achieving its national agenda.
- There are a number of very good pilot programmes across the country but few that operate at a scale. If public education at school level has to be strengthened, then small projects, however useful, would not make a difference. It is important to learn from each others’ experience and identify what are the key elements of success which can be replicated.
- A two pronged strategy has been suggested in the study :
- Make district a unit for school improvement. This is also in consonance with the district level planning process.
- Non state players collaborate to strengthen public education system. Some areas where they can support are - teacher training; mainstreaming out of school children; capacity development of school management bodies; setting up schools where required; improving planning, monitoring and evaluation; supporting innovations and carrying out evidence based advocacy
The colloquium builds on this study. It will be attended by a number of non state playersand discussions will revolve around two areas – Impact of CSR activities related to education and taking education related initiatives to scale through collaborative efforts.
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