Annual Reports

Report of the Stocktaking of RTE Act for Children with Disabilities

Executive Summary

On April 1, 2011, our country completed one year of the implementation of the Right to Education Act 2009. This is an Act that details the Right to Education for all children in our country and has therefore great significance for the education of children with disabilities. Given the importance of this Act many agencies and education networks (Plan, Save The Children, Oxfam, NAFRE, CRY and others) across the country came together to do a stocktaking exercise on the implementation of the provisions of the Act in the last one year.

A large meeting was organized on the 31st of March 2011 by all these agencies in Delhi. Keeping this in mind, AARTH-ASTHA in collaboration with PLAN India organized a daylong stocktaking meeting focusing on the progress (or the lack of it) in relation to children with disabilities. This meeting was organized on the 30th March 2011 so that it can feed into the larger meeting and stocktaking exercise on the 31st.

One of the suggestions at this meeting was that AARTH ASTHA organizes another meeting to understand the inclusion of disability concerns in various state rules of RTE Act. Since many states are still in the process of framing their state rules it would be an important exercise and could be used for advocacy by disability and education groups in various states.

AARTH ASTHA organized another two day meeting to analyse some state rules. In this meeting the State rules of Kerala (draft), Rajasthan, Haryana (draft) Karnataka were analysed and discussed. This report contains an analysis of the RTE Act, Model rules, state rules on RTE, SSA framework and the draft reports that were prepared for the meetings.

Observations on Rules of Different States shows that Some states seem to have thought through the rules, adapted to their own contexts and thought further for children with disabilities. Others have just picked up the model rules.

States like Kerala have expanded on the model rules and sometimes expanded on the ACT. For example, the draft Kerala rules have expanded on the definition of quality education. They have used the definition of the Act but expanded on it. Sometimes States fixed responsibility and accountability on specific officers and we see that as a good practice.

Rules, such as that of Kerala, reflect an attempt at convergence of different Ministries which again is the need of the day. For example, Kerala talks about health cards for all children in schools and health checkups. It specifically mentions convergence with the national Institutes for different disabilities for making curriculums etc. in our understanding; the school has to become a hub of convergence for different needs of the child if we want education for all and all children to be able to participate meaningfully in education.

What need to be monitored in the coming years are how these clauses

• Get interpreted by different states

• What kind of budget allocation is given to fulfill these clauses

• How are the different authorities connected with the RTE able to include disability concerns.

With regard to children with disabilities the big question is the ‘how’. Guidelines and notifications would be extremely important for the effective implementation of the provisions of RTE Act.

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