New Delhi: The government on Tuesday rejected the demand of some states of extending RTE deadline on meeting infrastructure norms but asked them to act tough on schools which are lagging far behind in implementing them. Amid concerns over schools which have failed to meet the RTE obligations by the March 31, 2013 deadline, HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju said the states have the rights to decide on such schools as well as take action against those who have not "budged an inch" but due procedure has to be followed before initiating action.
His comments at the end of a crucial Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting here appeared to suggest that schools still have time in their hand to meet their remaining requirements before any tangible action is initiated against them. "We stick by the deadline," he said in reply to a question, adding fears of schools being locked down were incorrect because of the lengthy procedures involved before taking any call. He maintained that 90 per cent norms have been met like construction of classrooms, libraries, toilets and disable friendly environment in campuses even as voluntary organisations working in this space had a different figures suggesting little progress.
Raju said states were also aware of those schools which have demonstrated the will to fulfill their obligations. "Each state is aware of which school is acting on it. It is left to the discretion of the states as to whether they want to give little bit of time and put pressure on schools or take action," he told reporters at the end of the CABE meet attended by about 12 state education ministers.
"Although 100 per cent target has not been achieved, we are confident it is not an elusive target," he noted. Big states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh along with Haryana and Uttarakhand demanded extension of the deadline at the meeting, where concern was also raised over cut in funds under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan programme in the last fiscal. CABE is the highest decision making body on education comprising the education ministers, vice chancellors, heads of education bodies and academicians among others.