HYDERABAD: Right to education does not mean right to private education, explains M. Jagadeeshwar, commissioner and director of school education of Telangana state in an interview with Jeevan Kumar Durgam. Excerpts:
Q: Is the RTE Act being implemented in the state?
A: The state is providing most of the benefits that the Act suggests.
Q: But RTE activists say that without 25 pc reservation, the Act is ineffective. What is your comment?
A: We all need to understand that the right to education doesn’t mean right to private education. As far as the 25 per cent reservation is concerned, it is only one of the many provisions of the Act. Facilities like free education, books and uniform are already being given to students of government schools. So it is not fair to say that the Act is not being implemented in the state at all.
Q: Why did the government fail to implement the 25 p.c. in private schools?
A: It is not as simple as it looks. There is a long process to follow before this provision is implemented. The fee structure in private schools is not uniform. And there is a case relating to this provision pending in High Court. With all these problems, it’s very difficult to implement the Act. Once the High Court clarifies the issues, we can take further action. We have adequate infrastructure and have not denied admission to any student in government schools. If parents still want to send their children to private schools, what can we do?
Q: How are govt schools performing?
A: We have good facilities in government schools. In fact Telangana has far better infrastructure and education system than several other states. Yet, government schools fail to attract students. We need more trained teachers to teach in English medium. To overcome the problem, we are planning some training programmes for teachers.
Q: Are you setting any academic target for the schools?
A: We are not running corporate schools to set targets and force students to study for ranks. Our focus is on providing better education. We make sure that students will learn sports and arts also.
Q: What is the reason for the recent changes in the pattern of Class IX and X exams?
A: We need continuous assessment of the performance of students. The schools will conduct exams for 20 marks before students take the final exam so that they will be more engaged in studies. We are also planning to make changes to make education more interactive.