RTE to focus on improving quality: Sibal

New Delhi: With two years into the RTE and 32 states having notified the rules, government today said they should now also focus on strict implementation of provisions against corporal punishment and detention and initiate curricular reforms.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal asserted that improving quality is critical if the objective of the Right to Education (RTE) is to be fulfilled even as he noted a decline in dropout rates in states like Bihar where it has come down to about seven per cent following RTE.

"We have issued advisory to the state education ministers to initiate curriculum reforms as it is a matter of concern that not much attention is being paid to improve quality," the Minister told reporters here. He said more than 31 states have notified academic authority as per RTE provisions which would look into the curriculum reforms process.

While RTE has seen an increased allocation of Rs 25,000 crore for the 2012-13 fiscal, up from Rs 13,000 crore, Sibal said the states should take steps to hasten the process of teachers appointment as the Centre has already sanctioned six lakh posts.

He said as against mandated teacher student ratio of 30:1, 43 per cent primary schools have over 40 children per one teacher.

With 4.96 lakh classrooms having been sanctioned under Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan – which is being aligned with RTE, Sibal asked the state to put "all RTE provisions into practice in schools including prohibition of corporal punishment, detention and expulsion".

Asked about controversy surrounding the location of the proposed central university in Bihar, Sibal reiterated that it should be set up at a place where there is proper infrastructure and connectivity.

While the Ministry has proposed Gaya for setting up of the university because of its close proximity to airport and good connectivity to the city, Bihar government has proposed to set up the university in Motihari.

The Ministry has objected to this proposal on the ground that the place does not support infrastructural requirement for the varsity.

Stating that he was for early establishment of the university, Sibal said he was keen to go to Bihar hopefully after the budget session to lay the foundation stone of a branch of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Kishanganj.

To another question, he expressed confidence that the appointment of the vice chancellor of AMU would be completed by April.