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No extension to Right to Education deadline: Centre

April 01, 2013 23:43 IST

With the deadline for meeting Right to Education obligations ending on Sunday, the government ruled out any extension, maintaining that 90 per cent of the schools have met required norms.

Human Resource Development Minister M M Pallam also appeared to dismiss fears of schools risking the threat of being closed down for lagging behind when he said that there were government schools also which were lagging behind in meeting infrastructure norms such as classrooms, libraries, toilets and disable-friendly campuses.

"The enrolment figure is 96 per cent consistently for the last few years. In terms of infrastructure, it is 90 per cent and even in terms of toilets, it is 90 per cent, except for a few states," he told reporters.

Pallam said that the main challenge was bridging the shortfall of teachers.

"What I would like to appreciate is the collective will demonstrated by the states and Centre to meet the RTE deadline. Everybody has worked very hard on it. But of course, there is unfinished work which we are working on," he said.

He said the aim of the government is to ensure a holistic learning environment for the children in keeping with the provision of the RTE Act and there would be no dilution in this fundamental right.

The RTE Act, which provides free and compulsory education to children in the age group of 6 to 14 years, came into effect from April 1, 2010. A three-year timeline was stipulated to ensure that all schools meet the norms as mandated by the Act.

Schools which have failed to meet the norms face the threat of being closed down.

The government had last week ruled out extending the deadline beyond March 31 for schools to meet RTE requirements, even as it conceded that many states were lagging behind. 

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