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Can't let education become business: Sibal

IANS
Feb 20, 2010 at 02:24pm IST

New Delhi: The Centre will check commercialisation of education and seek consensus among states to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act from April 1, said Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday.

"Our aim is to ensure that all children in India get quality education, but we are against commercialisation of education. Incessant hike of fee and overcharging from parents is something we do not support," Sibal told reporters in New Delhi.

In order to implement the RTE Act in its true spirit, the minister said, he will hold meetings with various state governments.

THE REFORMIST: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal wants states to cooperate in implementing reforms.

"I will talk to every state government on issues regarding implementation of the RTE Act from April 1. I will be meeting Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Diskhit Monday regarding the same," he said.

Sibal said implementation of certain provisions of the act might be difficult and, hence, it was important to meet various state heads and discuss the same.

"For example, the RTE Act says that schools should have playgrounds. In schools in urban areas, there may not be enough space for a playground. The RTE also says that there should be a 25 percent reservation in private schools for poor kids, but do the states have the data and information about who these kids will be," Sibal said.

The minister said the aim of the RTE Act was not to further sideline poor and marginalised children. Therefore, shutting down of unrecognised, neighbourhood schools was not an option.

"We don't want to close down marginalised, unrecognised schools for poor kids because our aim is not to marginalise these kids any more. In fact these schools should be protected. We will, therefore, encourage them to implement the guidelines of the RTE Act and will give them three years' time to do so," Sibal said.

He also said wherever the state law and the RTE law were in conflict, the RTE Act will prevail.

"Each state has its own laws and we will be requesting them to bring their laws in conformity with the RTE. In cases where the state law and the RTE law are in conflict, the RTE will prevail and where there is no conflict, the state law will," he said.

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