Despite the Central government making it mandatory to provide free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 and 14 years (from class 1 to class 8), under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), an amount of Rs3,634 crore (or 70%) earmarked for the purpose has remained unutilised with Maharashtra government in the last six years.
The RTE was passed on 4 August 2009, describing the modalities of the importance of compulsory education. Under the Act, grant-in-aid is given by the Central government to all states. However, the Maharashtra government has been unable to utilise the total amount despite receiving the grant from the Centre and making its own contribution.
As per the documents of the education budget for 2018-2019 tabled in the state legislature, about 72% amount remained unutilised between 2011 and 2017. The break up is as follows:
Similarly no accurate statistics of “outside” students (children in the age group of 6 –14 years of migrant labourers) is available. As per the recent economic survey, till December 2017, there were 48379 outside students. Of these 15,529 children were enrolled. Thus nearly 33,859 students are still out of school. If they cross 14 years of age, they will cease to be covered under RTE and will eventually be deprived of the free education.
Under different schemes including the Ahilyabai Holkar Educational scheme devised to provide free education to girl students of 11th and 12th class, in 2016-2017, an amount of Rs93.47 crore was spent, which benefited 26 lakh girl students. But in 2017-2018 (till December 2017) that amount plunged to Rs73.42 crore, benefitting only 19.78 lakh girl students. This means, the spend came down by Rs17.05 crore while the number of beneficiary girl students declined by 6.22 lakh. Besides, despite the cleanliness drive being undertaken by the state government, 3,408 schools in the state have no toilets for girl students.
Samarthan, an NGO reports that there are nearly 3796 one- teacher schools with Raigad topping the list with 372 one-teacher schools, while Dhule has the minimum number at 12 one- teacher schools. But the surprising part is that Pune, considered as the educational sanctorum of the state, has nearly 265 one-teacher schools. Thane has 237 one-teacher schools and even Mumbai is not lagging behind with Mumbai city having 30 and Mumbai suburbs with 42 one-teacher schools.
The break-up of one-teacher schools in descending order is as follows:
Commenting on the one-teacher schools in Mumbai, BMC’s education officer Mahesh Palkar said that wherever the number of students in a class is less than 5, such students are accommodated in another class room looked after by a single teacher. These students could be of minority communities (students opting for mediums like Telugu and other languages).
Inquiries have revealed that besides minority schools, some of the BMC’s one-teacher schools are transit schools that are housed in the available space, in the absence of a proper school building. Such schools are located at BKC I, Bharat Nagar II and III at Bandra in the western suburbs and in places like Dongri in South Mumbai where one teacher handles students of different disciplines in one classroom.
In general, compared to the national literacy rate of 73%, the state of Maharashtra boasts of 82.3% literacy rate, within which literacy among the scheduled castes is 79.7%- and that among the scheduled tribes is 65.7. Out of the total 11.24 crore population of Maharashtra, 4.47 crore (39.8%) have studied up to secondary level, 6.77 crore (60.2%) have ended their studies studied below the secondary level and 1.63 crore people are illiterate.
In 2017-2018, the strength of the students was 1.59 crore. This figure was less by 77,000 students compared to the corresponding figure of the last academic year, because these 77,000 students had dropped out. Of 1.59 crore students, 75,513 students were studying in non-recognised madarssa schools.
As of now, there are 98,213 primary schools of which 3,796 are one-teacher schools and 3, 142 schools are held in one class room. In 2652 schools, the management committees have not been set up as per the RTE Act 2009. Besides, out of 5,16,231 class rooms, 29,301 class rooms are in a dangerous condition.
Out of 6,66,338 teachers working in the primary schools, 82,427 teachers are SSC passed and 1868 teachers are non-SSC passed. The break up is as follows:
No. of Teachers
In 1, 528 schools there is no provision of drinking water
15,126 schools are not connected by roads
In 14,594 schools there is no playground
18,429 schools have no compound wall
In 3,408 schools there are no separate toilets for girls
In 5432 schools there is no library
749 schools do not serve mid-day meals to students
11,589 schools have no kitchen sheds
, in 6,178 schools there is no electricity
In 33,236 schools there are no computers and
In 6874 schools no ramps have been provided for disabled students