In an effort to improve the country’s economy, the Indian government has cut funding to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which aims to provide every child between the ages of six and 14 with an elementary education. Cuts are expected to total 2-3% of the total RTE budget for 2012-2013, a substantive deduction that will affect the implementation of the RTE legislation. Civic bodies, such as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), have reported that they simply cannot afford to meet the requirements of RTE. The decrease in funding is expected to affect many, such as disabled children who rely on government supported transportation, and children in areas of conflict.
Meanwhile, cities such as Nagpur are holding seminars to inform and educate local principals about RTE implementation, in the hope of improving student achievement country-wide. Tripura is a rare example of a state that has been able to meet the requirements of RTE. Tripura admitted 44,000 students under the RTE quota this year, and plans to increase the age of students who qualify to receive a free education. Tapan Chakraborty, School Education Minister, pointed out that the Left Front government has been spending more than 20% of its annual budget on education, while the central government has spent less than 10%.
Students will begin applying to schools under RTE on January 10, 2012; however, member schools of the Karnataka State Private School Management’s Federation (KSPSMF) have warned that they will not admit disadvantaged students if the government does not reimburse them.