ABIDe-led panel starts RTE review

Five days after an ABIDe-led committee was constituted to discuss Karnataka’s draft rules for implementing the national Right to Education (RTE) Act, it has already received several suggestions from senior educationists and NGOs.

To propose a way through the confusion regarding the implementation of the RTE Act the chief minister’s task force for Bengaluru, ABIDe (Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development Task Force), formed a working group on September 23. The group plans to collect suggestions from the public and hold discussions with parents, teachers, NGOs, school associations and other stakeholders to discuss the draft rules proposed by the state government.

abidebengaluru.in’s RTE comment submission page.

Formed by Ananth Kumar, Vice Chairman of ABIDe and MP, the group now comprises Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP and Convener ABIDe Task Force, Tejaswini Ananth Kumar,

Managing Trustee of Adamya Chetana Trust, Dr Ashwin Mahesh, Member of ABIDe Task Force and ES Ramamurthy, Chief Mentor at Sikshana Foundation. Discussions are on to include more members in the committee by next week.

The group has invited comments and suggestions from the public at ABIDe’s website www.abidebengaluru.in. It has received around 50 suggestions in the five says the launch, says V Anand, Public Relations Head at Rajeev Chandrashekhar’s office.

"We have got suggestions from some senior and well-respected educationists and NGOs. The responses will be reviewed by the working committee and the commentators will be invited for discussions if necessary," he says. The comments are not being made public now. Decision regarding publishing the comments on the site will be made after the committee reviews them.

The committee was formed after many school administrations and parents approached ABIDe with their concerns about RTE Act implementation. Once the public consultation process is over, the group will present their recommendations to the Chief Minister and Education Minister. The report will be made public as well. The dates for holding consultations and submitting the report will be finalized soon, Anand said.

The RTE Act had run into trouble after many school associations in the state actively opposed it. The main contentions against the Act are that it will interfere with the autonomy and place more stress on private schools as they may have to give extra training and financial support to students admitted under RTE. There is also lack of clarity regarding concepts such as neighbourhood schools mentioned in RTE.

Organizations such as KUSMA (Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements Association) and Management Association of ICSE Schools have said that they will approach courts against RTE implementation in private schools if unsatisfied with the government’s decisions.

Vasudeva Sharma, Executive Director of the NGO Child Rights Trust (CRT), said that such initiatives are welcome, but worried about the depth of the engagement. "Any initiative to get suggestions from the public is welcome. But many people’s reactions on RTE are based on very superficial knowledge of the Act. Many do not understand the differences between the central government Act and the draft rules proposed by the state," he said.

Suggestions to ABIDe can also be mailed to suresh.nr@rajeev.in or sent by post to the Office of ABIDe, 11th Floor, Major Tower, Sir M.Vishweshvariah Center, Dr. B.R.Ambedkar Veedhi, Bangalore – 560001. No deadline has been set for submitting suggestions.

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About Navya P K 241 Articles
Navya P K is a former senior staff journalist at Citizen Matters, and a freelance journalist based in Kerala.

6 Comments

  1. continuing the response to ms.shetty – Lastly , your point about me ‘poking my nose’ into road-widening – Madam, road-widening is a public exercise, its not someones private affairs, and all residents of this city including you and I have every right to ‘poke our nose’ into that issue. In a democracy, does a resident not have a right to raise questions on any public issue?

    And in case if you are assuming that i am raising questions on matters i know nothing about (RTE etc), i’d like to assure you that i am not talking through my hat. I have been working on the public education sector for some years. I do know a wee bit about the issue at hand. But in any case even if i dont, i’m not sure why as a concerned resident i cannot raise questions of the appropriateness of certain public decisions.

  2. Dear Ms.Shetty,

    Thanks for engaging in a conversation on this issue.

    Firstly, I am asking for a more broad-based public engagement process on the issue of RTE implementation, and not saying nobody should do any work. I have argued that restricting it to the ABIDe panel instead of doing it under the ministry of primary and secondary education will not enable all affected parties to participate equally, especially when the comments have to be sent through email and there is no scope for public discussion.

    Secondly, I am not attacking Rajeev C. I am saying its inappropriate for what is supposed to be a governmental exercise to use infrastructure and staff which belongs at an individual, in this case Rajeev C. All those who want to comment will now submit it to rajeev.in . Who knows who will go through those responses and if it will be altered /deleted etc? If it was through a government agency, there would have been some checks and balances to ensure that inputs of the public are treated appropriately.

    Next, you say that ABIDe will only give recommendations and the government may or may not act on it. It would have been fine if this was the case, but previous history has proven otherwise. check the budget speech of BBMP for 2009-10 at this url – http://www.bbmp.gov.in/budget/ENGLISHBUDGETSPEECH09-10.pdf . go to page 14 and you will see a line which says – “ABIDE has directed BBMP to develop these roads as signal free corridors over the next 24 months.
    With this in the background, in the current year the following four roads would be made signal free ”

    Note the word ‘directed’. ABIDe did’nt just recommend but instructed BBMP to undertake a project worth more than 3000 crores (signal -free corridors) when the total bbmp budget for that year itself was approximately 4200 crores. Who is to say that in this case too ABIDe will not force its decision on the government and not just stick to advising?

  3. Vinay Sreenivas – as the article says ABIde will present recommendations to govt…nowhere it says its binding. so, it a welcome move on an subject of interest to many. Why dont you also do one such exercise. Why find fault with a good initiative or anyone and why use this platform to attack any one individual ? Also, Vinay is supposed to be an envionmentalist but i recently read media articles about his opposition to road widening- which is welcome – but someone can ask why is this environmentalist poking his nose on road widening issue ? will that be correct ? So, the focus has be on RTE implementation that will affect us all in next few months

  4. and what about RTE and govt.schools?
    this whole effort here seems to be only to sort out anxieties parents have about what ‘type’ of kids will come in with the 25% rule. but should’nt a review of RTE also cover its impact on govt.schools? this RTE act says nothing about how quality of education will improve for govt.schools. maybe some parents of kids going to govt.school will want to address that too – and they could have had a process of reviewing this act been more public and accessible, instead of having ppl submit comments over the internet. how accessible is that really??

  5. whats ABIDe got to do with RTE? If it was set-up as an advisory body to advise the CM on bangalore issues, why are they poking their nose into issues related to RTE? What is the ministry of primary and secondary education doing? the worst thing is rajeev chandrashekhar’s private staff and his private website are being used to collect inputs on what is supposed to be a governmental exercise!

  6. thanks for sharing this news.

    This is a welcome and excellent move by ABIDe. Keen to know what their recommendations will be.

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