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Feasibility of Implementation of Right to Education Act _ Pankaj Jain, Ravindra Dholakia

Feasibility of Implementation of Right to Education Act _ Pankaj Jain, Ravindra Dholakia

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perspective
june 20, 2009 vol xliv no 25
EPW
 
Economic & Political
Weekly
38
Fably of imlmnaonof rgh o eduaon A
Pankaj S Jain, Ravindra H Dholakia
This article argues that even anallocation o 6% o the grossdomestic product to the educationbudget would not be sucient tound universal school educationuntil the very distant uture i thegovernment school system is usedas the only instrument. The only  way to meet the Right toEducation obligation is to rely onlow cost private schools as asignicant instrument o thegovernment education policy. Onthe contrary, the proposed
rte
 bill introduces provisions that would oppose low cost privateschools. Thereore, the legislationor
rte
 
needs to be modied andramed with specic provisionsor private-public partnerships.
T
he Directive Principles o IndianConstitution obligates the Indiangovernment to ensure universalschool education. In the wake o variousocial committees and policy pro-nouncements in this regard, the Indiangovernment has decided to submit a Rightto Education (
RTE
) bill or parliamentary approval, which shall make it a right o each child to receive school educationduring 6-14-year age. The drat o this billthat implicitly mandates reliance on gov-ernment type o school s ystem as themajor vehicle or
RTE
implementation hasbeen approved by the cabinet. The presentarticle analyses budgetary implications o implementing this right that provides orits court mandated enorcement.
1 Bakgound
In our analysis, the demands on the use o education budget have been pegged at alevel that has been endorsed by the TapasMajumdar Committee (1999), which cor-responds to typical worldwide practices where the universal school educationgoal has been realised. The norm o theeducation budget o 6% o the grossdomestic product (
GDP
) has been taken which has been articulated by variouscommittees as the ideal norm in duecourse o time. Currently, we do not spendeven 4% o 
GDP
on education when weconsider combined budgets o the centreand the states. Many countries like Chinaand Singapore have provided or universalgovernment-unded schooling even aterspending less than 4% o the
GDP
on theireducation budget. However, no majorcountry in the world (except Cuba) hasallocated more than 6% o its
GDP
to edu-cation on a sustained basis even whileensuring government-unded universalschool education and substantial undingo higher education or all (Statistical Year Book 
UNESCO
).In India, the Kothari Commission(1966), National Policy on Education(1986), Saikia Committee (1996), andTapas Majumdar Committee (1999) haveassessed the requirements o public provi-sion o universal school education underdierent assumptions aecting the cost o such a provision. However, none has im-plied or even indicated that exclusive reli-ance on the government school system with permanent regular schoolteacherscould make an education budget o 6% o 
GDP
inadequate and insucient to ensureuniversal school education in the country in the short or medium term. We examinethis aspect thoroughly in this paper be-cause it has implications on the contentand instrumentality o implementation o the
RTE
legislation.In Section 2, we present the estimationramework and crucial assumptions aboutthe parameter values in uture years. Thethird section then presents our estimatesand discusses implications under alterna-tive scenarios. The ourth and nal sectiondiscusses policy implications and possiblesolutions or the implementation o the
RTE
Act in India.
2 emaon Famwok 
Our estimation ramework has two dis-tinct components. First, we estimate thetotal money available or each child eligi-ble to go to school, as per national priority and commitment. This is done by estimat-ing the proportion o 
GDP
(100*b%) avail-able as overall education budget and itsshare (100*a%) that would be spent onschool education, with (1-a) going to high-er secondary, college, higher, proessionaland adult education. The total amount o money available or school education is,then, divided by the number o studentpopulation (
SP
) in school-going age to esti-mate the budget available per child inschools. Next, we determine how muchmoney can be paid as teacher salary, orthe given educational spending per child.This is done by estimating the share o money (100*c%) that had to be spent on various activities o the education depart-ment other than the salary o teachers.The share o money available to spend onteachers, (1-c), is then used to determine
Pankaj S Jain (
 pjain2002@yahoo.com
) is atGyan Shala, Ahmedabad and RavindraH Dholakia (
rdholkia@iimahd.ernet.in
) is withthe Indian Institute o Management, Ahmedabad.
 
perspective
Economic & Political
Weekly
 
EPW
june 20, 2009 vol xliv no 25
39
the monthly salary that teachers can begiven at the start o their career. For this, we estimate the number o children that ateacher would cover, i e, student-teacherratio (
STR 
), the share o total spending onteachers in the orm o salaries (100*d%) with the rest spent on benets, a parame-ter linking the career start salary with theaverage over the career salary (e), and an-nual-monthly salary converter (12).The above analytical ramework is rep-resented by the ollowing our equations.Total money available or school educa-tion/year = (b*a*
GDP
) (1)Total education spending per child = A =(b*a*
GDP
)/
SP
. (2) Annual spending per teacher = B1 = A*(1-c)*
STR 
(3) Average monthly career start salary o teachers = B = (B1/12)*d*e (4) where:
GDP
is gross domestic product; b isthe proportion o 
GDP
that is allocated aseducation budget; a is the share o the to-tal education budget that is spent onschool education;
SP
is the student popula-tion in school-going age; c is the share o school education spending on all educa-tional programme expenses other thanspending on teachers;
STR 
is the student-teacher ratio; d is the share o total spend-ing on teachers that they receive as salary  while 1-d is spent as benets to teachers; eis the ratio o salary at the start o the ca-reer to the average salary over teachers’career o around 30 years.Since policy decisions can be takenonly with a medium- to long-term per-spective, we estimate all these parame-ters with ve-year intervals over 2006-21,using the data rom the most reliableavailable sources.Indiastat.com
 
tables on Indian popula-tion readily provide population projectionby broad age groups. We have adoptedtheir projections or the age-group o 5-14 years as our estimates o the children inthe school-going age group o 6-15 years tobe on a conservative side. These estimatesare provided in Table 1. It is clear rom thetable that as per the projections o Indiastat.com, the absolute population o children in the school-going age-group o 6-15 years is sharply alling rom 244 mil-lion in the year 2006 to 234 million in the year 2011 to 226 million in the year 2021.While we have our reservation to orecastsuch a sharp decline in the population o children, we accept these projections to beon the conservative side. I the number o children in this age group turns out to bemore, then the money available per child would be less and hence the salary thatcould be paid to each teacher would beless than our estimates given in Section 3.Secondly, we can conduct the wholeexercise at constant 2006 prices so thatall infation-related components o thepay-package o the schoolteachers likedearness and other allowances canbe ignored.
3 Alna snao
We have altogether seven parameters toestimate in our ramework including thegrowth rate o real
GDP
in India over thenext 13 years and the
STR 
. Taking the tar-gets o the national-ve-year plans, wehave considered the growth rate o 9% asthe compounded annual growth rate o real
GDP
over the period 2006-21. We be-lieve that this rate is unlikely to be sur-passed on a sustained basis. Moreover, asargued in Section 1, we do not believe thatmore than 6% o 
GDP
can be spent on theeducation sector by the central and allstate governments together in India. We,thereore, take b = 0.06 or estimation.Thus, we are eectively assuming themaximal possible availability o schoolbudget over years. It is also important tonote that budget availability per child isconsistently growing over years since thegrowth rate o the economy (
GDP
) is sub-stantially higher than the growth rate o the children population.In order to estimate our parameter ‘a’,i e, the raction o the total educationbudget spent on school education, wecan consider the average value observedover the last three to our years in thecombined budgets o the states and theunion government in the country. However, we need to recognise that currently Indiais ar rom achieving universal school edu-cation and that the higher education atpresent remains substantially subsidisedand not privatised. Currently, this propor-tion in India is around 60%. Over years, we can expect these conditions to changein such a way that about two-thirds o thetotal budget on education sector wouldbe spent on school education, i e, a = 0.67,refecting national priority and emphasison school education.For estimating our parameter ‘(1-c)’, i e,the proportion o school budget spent onteachers, we do not have any readily avail-able secondary source o data. However, we have some primary data on the survey conducted in more than 200 schools romseven districts o six states such as AndhraPradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Ra- jasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Naduover the last our years (see, Bajpai et al2005, 2008a, 2008b). The proportion o the salaries o teachers in the total schoolbudget is substantially lower in thegovernment schools than in the privateschools. In the government schools, it works out to an average o about 70%.Considering the cost o teachers’ training,inspection and other departmental ad-ministrative sta this proportion may be60% to 65%. We can, thereore, takethis proportion to be 65%, s to be on theconservative side, i e, (1-c) = 0.65. Thisshare o spending on teachers’ emolumentrepresents a very liberal assumption inavour o the teacher, since the remainingshare o 35% is to cover all capital expendi-ture on school inrastructure building andmaintenance, all school administrativeand supervisory ocers, including Block and Cluster R esource Coordinators andschool inspectors, teacher training andcurriculum planning set up including the
Table 1: Budget Availability (at 2006 Prices) Per Child with Education Budget at 6% of GDP
Year Total Estimated Popultion in Population Total Number of GDP School Education FundPopulation 5 to 9 -Year in 10 to 14 -Year Children in 5-14 (Rs in Crore) Education Budget Available/in India Age Group Age Group Year-Age Group with 9% pa Available/Child/ Child/ Year in Rs(in ‘000) (%) (%) (in ‘000) Real Growth #1 Year .in Rs #2 (80% Coverage) #31 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
2006 11,21,914 10.72 11.01 2,43,792 35,80,000 5,874 7,3422011 12,01,810 9.52 9.94 2,33,872 55,58,920 9,508 11,8852016 12,77,770 8.9 8.9 2,27,443 85,53,087 15,042 18,8032021 13,47,742 8.4 8.4 2,26,421 1,31,59,984 23,249 29,061
# 1: GDP growth is considered on actual basis till 2006-07 and then @9% pa.#2: Total School Education budget is taken as = 2/3rd of 6% of GDP (while 1/3rd is left for higher school and university education),which is divided by total number of children in 5-14 year age group and assuming 100% coverage of children.#3: This column gives budget per child by assuming that only 80% children would be covered with full budgetary support of 6% of GDP.
 
perspective
june 20, 2009 vol xliv no 25
EPW
 
Economic & Political
Weekly
40
District Institutes o Education and Train-ing (
DIET
s) and State Councils o Educa-tional Research and Training
(
SCERT
s),pro visions o ree textbooks, and annualexamination, etc.The estimate o the parameter ‘d’ in ourramework, i e, ratio o teachers’ salariesand the total cost to government o em-ploying teachers, is obtained rom the spe-cial study sponsored by the Sixth CentralPay Commission (
CPC
). The study con-ducted by the Xavier Labour ResearchInstitute (see, Premrajan et al 2007) esti-mated the cost to government to be around40% more than the salary in the scales o the schoolteachers, i e, d = 1/1.4 = 0.7143.The estimate or the parameter ‘e’ in ourramework, i e, the ratio o the startingsalary at the beginning o the career andthe average salary o a schoolteacher overthe whole working lie taken as 40 years,is obtained rom the recommended incre-ments o 3% per annum in the runningpay-bands o the schoolteachers as per theannouncement through extraordinary resolution o the Ministry o Finance dated29 August 2008. At 20 years o a verage work experience, the increments wouldadd up to about 80% o the initial salary,i e, e = 1/1.8 = 0.5556.Finally, we consider the
STR 
or the rel-evant period o time. The Tapas MajumdarCommittee (1999) recommended it to be30:1, which is higher than the norm o 18to 25 in most low and middle income coun-tries like Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt,Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thai-land (Jha et al 2008). Only in India andPhilippines, this ratio exceeds 30. Cur-rently the ratio in government schools inIndia is around 36 (in 2006-07) decliningrom 41 in the year 2003-04 (Mehta 2008).The ratio may urther decline to the de-sired level o 30 by the year 2011. Thus, wetake two alternative values o 
STR 
or ourarguments here,
STR 
= 30 and
STR 
= 40 tobuild alternative scenarios.With all the seven parameters in ourramework assuming values that are con-servatively selected or our ultimate argu-ment, we need to take the absolute esti-mate o 
GDP
at current market prices orthe year 2005-06 to complete all calcula-tions o what is aordable. The
GDP
 estimate is taken rom the Governmento India (2008) to be Rs 35.80 trillion.Table 1 gives the total budgetary resourceavailable to teach one child over one yearin schools as per our estimates or aperiod extending up to 2021.It is clear rom Table 1 that per childavailability o the school education budgetis rapidly increasing over years in realterms in the country i 6% o 
GDP
is ear-marked or the budget o the educationsector every year. Column 8 o Table 1 alsoindicates the per child budget availability i only 80% children are covered with theull budgetary support. Columns 7 and 8in Table 1, thereore, provide the estimateo the maximum budget available perchild or school education depending onthe coverage. Applying our ramework urther, we now compute the salary thatcan be paid to schoolteachers. The esti-mates are presented in Table 2A (p 41).Since the salary o schoolteachers isspecied separately or the primary andmiddle school, we compute these by assuming that teachers in the middle andsecondary school classes would receive20% higher salary compared to lowerprimary teachers.Table 2A indicates that 6% o 
GDP
aseducation budget cannot give a startingsalary to primary schoolteachers, at thebeginning o their career, higher thanRs 3,443 per month while a secondary schoolteacher cannot expect to earn morethan Rs 4,132 per month, as gross salary,in the year 2006. Against these budgetconstrained levels o easible salary, theSixth
CPC
has awarded salary scales toteachers, which is almost 285% higherin 2006, and 200% higher in 2011. Dueto high growth in
GDP
, these budgetconstrained aordable salary levels couldrise over years to reach Rs 12,390 in 2021(in 2006 prices) or primary teachers,and Rs 14,868 or secondary schoolteachers, but then new pay commissions would announce newer and highersalary levels, ultimately maintaining the viability gap.
1
 To explore alternatives available topolicy makers, we have adjusted the esti-mates o Table 2A under three alternativescenarios. In the rst case, (Table 2B, p 41),the
STR 
has been raised to 40 rom 30.This raises the budget permissible salary levels o teachers, but at the cost o qualito education due to higher students perteacher. In spite o this, the easible salarlevel remains equal to one-third o salary awarded by the Sixth Pay Commission.In the second case (Table 2C, p 41), it isassumed that the budget would be usedto cover only 80% o eligible children, while the parents will cover the cost o 20% going to private schools. The salary that could be paid to teachers even underthis assumption remains around one-thirdo the Sixth Pay Commission award. Inthe third scenario (Table 2D, p 41), we

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