Aims to enrol one million underprivileged students under RTE in high-quality private schools by 2020: Indus Action

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New Delhi: Indus Action, a non-profit organisation solving barriers in policy implementation to bridge the gap and enable sustainable access to legislated rights for disadvantaged families, aims to enrol one million underprivileged students in high-quality private schools by 2020. This is part of their annual Bright Spots Report 2019 which was released during the three-day Sustain Develop Grow event held in New Delhi.

In its effort to create inclusive education, Indus Action is working towards providing disadvantaged communities get access to legislated rights especially the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009.

Some of the key highlights of the report are as below:

§ In the tenth year of its existence, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009, sees a very different landscape of education in the country. There is growing awareness and demand within Indian society, to have not just access to education, but to have access to high quality education. The provision of the RTE Act which this report focuses on, is the Section 12(1)(c). The rationale behind the inclusion of this Section in the Act, was that inequitable and disparate schooling reinforces existing economic and social hierarchies, and promotes an indifference towards the plight of others in society.

§ The Bright Spots Report, 2019, is an attempt by Indus Action to highlight successes in implementation and offer renewed solutions for states facing challenges that may have already been mitigated by other states. This includes different lottery algorithms which can maximize seat allotment efficiency and increase applicant satisfaction. The legal sections present the justiciability side of the policy-making cycle, and present the relevant legal discourse around the issue.

§ The draft of National Education Policy (NEP), 2019, mentions various challenges and recommendations which are discussed and included in this report, as they would change the nature of implementation.

§ This report targets some of the germane issues relevant to any rights-based policy implementation and provides recommendations, such as:

§ A system of grievance redressal which is simple, has a ticket-based system, with responsibilities mapped to specific individuals, linking to the SCPCR (State Commission for Protection of Child Rights) as the appellate authority

§ The tracking of retention, by tracking student attendance, learning outcomes*, and conducting social audits

§ Creating a transparent reimbursement structure, to ensure that the monies being spent are actually reaching an eligible family, and clarity in the pipeline from state to centre to beneficiary

§ It also presents insights on the school choice patterns by parents, especially from a systems User-Experience (UX) perspective, which can be helpful to States in improving access to choice.

§ When talking of sustainability of the policy, the report puts forth a few parameters that are essential for sustained and effective implementation, namely, having a/n:

§ Seat fill rate of over 50%

§ Online system (MIS) to handle the entire process from applications to reimbursement

§ School participation rate for eligible private schools participating in the process being above 75%

§ Transparent and robust reimbursement model from centre to state, and from state to schools/parents