The debate on education reforms has been severely hampered by the lack of reliable data, particularly on learning outcomes. The government data focuses on what government does—outlays and inputs into the school system. It tells us how much money has been allocated, how many boundaries walls and toilets are built, how many teachers are hired. It does not tell us what ultimately matters—that how much real learning is happening.

In 2009, with the introduction of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the government declared that all children between ages 6 and 14 are entitled to education paid for by the state.

The RTE is supposed to be about education, and about universal access to that education. It seeks to accomplish this by looking at all the things that go into education - school buildings, curriculum, textbooks, teachers, other children in the classroom - and trying to ensure that what is offered to all children is the same.

30 August 2011 - The 9 August ruling of the Supreme Court that schools in Tamilnadu must implement Samacheer Kalvi immediately has received mixed reactions. Some think it is a great step forward for equality and social justice, while others fear that it will undermine the quality of education in some schools. I believe the judgment is flawed, and will prove harmful to the students, parents, and teachers of Tamilnadu.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act) came into effect on April 1, 2010. Most people know that the Act is important, but otherwise understand very litle of what it says. To understand it really requires some background knowledge which this article attempts by providing a historical narrative, an outline of its key features, and a description of its serious flaws. It then suggests recommendations to address these flaws. Our assessment is that the RTE is a mixed bag, with some good and some really bad ideas.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act) came into effect on April 1, 2010. Most people know it is important but understand little of what the Act really says. Overall the RTE is a mixed bag, with some good and some really bad ideas.

The `Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009' (RTE Act) came into effect today, with much fanfare and an address by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In understanding the debates about this Act, a little background knowledge is required. Hence, in this self-contained 1500-word blog post, I start with a historical narrative, outline key features of the Act, describe its serious flaws, and suggest ways to address them.

Historical narrative

Heard of model rules? No? When an Act is passed in Parliament, there may still be vague areas that need closer attention. Model rules are written to help implement the Act. But the rules can never be better cooked than the original law was when poured into the parliamentary pressure cooker. No creative legislative masala can help cover up half-baked khana and half-thought laws. So it is with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, and its model rules.

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