Book Release

July 31, 2013

South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) in collaboration with the Right to Education to Task Force released a Kannada handbook on “SHIKASHANA MAKKALA HAKKU”- RTE 2009 State Rules and FAQ’s.

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The Chief Guest, Sri.Umesh Aradhya, Chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights(KSCPCR) released the book and Mr. Mathews Philip, Executive Director, SICHREM presided with felicitations from Mr.Vasudeva Sharma, Executive Director, CRT and Ms. Aruna, Student of Social Work, Bangalore University.

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Training Programme on Human Rights Education for Government teachers in Chitradurga District.

July 29, 2013

Don Bosco in Chitradurga organised a Training Program in Human Rights Education for the Government School teachers. Margaret Sampath was the resource person from SICHREM. The training program was for three days.

Below are some clippings for the local dailies on the Training Program held in Chitradurga.

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‘Most city schools turn away RTE kids’

July 29, 2013

Over 90 per cent of schools in Bangalore are not responding immediately to queries from parents seeking admissions through the RTE quota and most of them get turned away. We have been only 10 per cent successful in implementing RTE in Karnataka, said Umesh Aradhya, chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR).

He was speaking at the launch of ‘Shikshana Makkala Hakku’, a book on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act-2009 written by Gangadhar Reddy N, convenor of the RTE Task Force, at the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM).

“Many schools are refusing to be questioned by authorities regarding aberrations in RTE admissions. It is not working out very well and children are suffering because of that,” Aradhya said.

Many parents and social workers who struggled to obtain admissions in schools through the RTE quota shared their experiences at the RTE Task Force meeting.

Ningegowda, a parent, said that when applications were submitted to the Block Education Officer (BEO) of his area and admissions were obtained, schools did not bother to inform parents that their children had procured admission. “My daughter’s name was on the list but the school authorities did not inform us. When we went back to the school to equestion them about why we weren’t told earlier, they said they had more important things to do,” he said.

 

Source :  The New Indian Express, 28th July 2013.


Experts ask parents to keep tabs on dilution of RTE

April 8, 2013

Schools come up with strange reasons to deny admission

Child rights activists and non-governmental organisations in the City, who came together to observe the third year of Right to Education Act on Sunday, called for keeping a close watch on any dilution of the legislation.

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The NGOs including South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), Child Rights Trust (CRT), Radio Active and Sparsha that have jointly constituted an RTE Task Force to monitor the implementation of the Act, held a panel discussion involving beneficiaries of the RTE Act.

Speaking on the occasion, Child Rights Trust director Vasudeva Sharma said the government is still not interested in implementing the provisions of the Act in its full spirit.

“Now that the 25 per cent reservation for children with poor financial background has taken off, we have to closely monitor the implementation for the next eight years till the first batch of students under the provision complete elementary education,” he said.

He pointed out that even though playground is a mandatory specification under the RTE Act for any school seeking recognition, the Union government recently gave a concession to schools in this regard. During October last year, a few private schools approached the Ministry of Human Resources asking them to bail out of this specification as, in urban areas like Bangalore, it is difficult to obtain land for construction of schools.

“The government has obliged and sent out circulars saying that in cases where playgrounds are not available, schools can make use of the municipal grounds in the locality.”

This concession on basic specification for a school indicates a dangerous trend. Schools could also ask for lenience in provision of specific number of teachers, ayahs or toilets. The public must  monitor these issues closely and condemn initiatives detrimental to students’ development, Sharma added.

What is quality?

The government should define in precise terms what “quality of school” is. In a manner similar to how students are tested for progress, teachers too must be evaluated, he opined. 

He stressed that minority institutions too fall under the framework of the Right to Education Act, in spite of being omitted from providing 25 per cent reservation to students from weaker sections.

“Many minority institutions have been misusing this clause to interpret that they need not follow the minimum standards prescribed by the Act,” he explained.

Parents’ woes

On the occasion, parents shared their experiences of enrolling their children in schools under the RTE reservation provision. One of the parents, Indira, who took part in the panel discussion, narrated how the private school in which she had sought admission for her son for LKG in the City denied admission.

The institution said it fell under the minority category and hence was not obliged to provide seats under reservation. “When this was pointed out to the Block Education Officer, it was found that the school was not a minority institution and the management eventually ended up providing as many as 55 seats.”

Another parent, Kumar, said he was shocked to see the poor awareness about RTE in schools. Kumar approached a few schools in the city for admission to his son.

“I came to know about this through newspapers. I did not have a clue about RTE Act before that. To my shock, when I approached one school, the principal did not know what RTE was.”

Further, the school could not provide him application for admission under RTE and the parent was directed to the BEO concerned. At the BEO’s office, Kumar was asked to download it from the department website. “If I was financially sound, tech savvy and had internet connection at home, why would I try to get admission under the reservation quota,” asked Kumar.

Parents also felt that they could ensure that no discrimination was done to their kids at school, if they formed a network.

Source: Deccan Herald; Dated: April 1, 2013


Public Hearing on RTE – Mangalore

March 26, 2013

The Public Hearing on RTE was organised on March 12, 2013 at SDM Law college, Mangalore. Dr. Umesh Aradhya, Chairperson KSCPCR Inaugurated the Program, Mr. Vasudeva Sharma, Mrs. Ramila Shekar, Ms. Asha Naik, Mr. Krishna Shastri Balila were the Jury members.

Click for the Report in Kannada

Dr. Umesh Aradhya, Chairperson, KSCPCR Inaugurating the Public Hearing

Dr. Umesh Aradhya, Chairperson, KSCPCR Inaugurating the Public Hearing

A parent deposing the violation his son undergone

A parent deposing the violation his son undergone

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Workshop on RTE – Vishakapatnam

March 26, 2013

The regional level workshop on RTE was organised in Youth Hostel, Vishakapatnam from March 15 – 16, 2013. A total of 50 participants from Nellore, Guntur, Srikakulam, Vishakapatnam, Viziyanagaram, Krishna, Ongole, West Godhavari and East Godhavari districts of Coastal Andhra region participated in the training.

Mr. M. Venkateshwara Rao, Project Officer - RVM, Visahakapatnam addressing the participants

Mr. M. Venkateshwara Rao, Project Officer – RVM, Visahakapatnam addressing the participants

Mr. K Ramakrishna Rao, Member, CWC -Vishakapattanam, handling session on Child Rights Protection and JJ Act

Mr. K Ramakrishna Rao, Member, CWC -Vishakapattanam, handling session on Child Rights Protection and JJ Act

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When their dreams of studying in a ‘big’ school came crashing

March 16, 2013

Scarce RTE quota seats in private schools disappoint parents

Arun Kumar (name changed), an electrician who earns just a little over Rs. 3,000 a month , is thinking of raising a loan to put his six-year-old son in a private school. This is thanks to the big hopes he pinned on one provision of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009, which has now been belied.

Mr. Kumar thought that the 25 per cent RTE quota in private schools meant for “children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood” would ensure his son admission in a “big” school. He had applied to five private unaided schools.

After months of running around to various government offices for necessary certificates, apart from the office of the Block Education Office (BEO) and various private schools, he is now a crushed man. His son has not secured a seat in any of the schools. “Now I will take a loan and send him to a private school as I had promised him that he would be studying in a big school,” he told The Hindu.

Mr. Kumar is one among the several disappointed parents who have failed to get seats in private unaided schools under the RTE quota, with demand higher than availability of seats. As per the Education Department data, 42,802 applications were received in Bangalore South, North and Rural education districts for the 30,949 available seats. Interestingly the demand for seats under the RTE quota seems to be more in Bangalore Rural than the urban pockets.

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Inflated figures?

Officials from the Education Department, however, point out that the demand seems more inflated than it is because parents have given multiple applications to several schools. The case of Mr. Kumar also points to this trend.

A senior official from the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (North) office said that 64 schools in the North 3 range had not received even a single application. Nagasimha G. Rao, convener of the RTE task force, said: “While there is a huge demand for some private schools, there is none for others. We will write a letter to the government asking that applicants who have not got seats in certain schools should be accommodated wherever there is vacancy.”

Parents left stranded

When The Hindu spoke to some of the parents whose children did not secure seats under the RTE quota, most said they did not have any alternative plan as they were completely depending on the RTE quota to get admissions into private schools for the academic year 2013-2014.

A parent who applied to two schools in HSR Layout said: “We ran from pillar to post to get our income and caste certificate. Now, that we have not got admission, we do not know what to do.”

Niranjanaradhya V.P., fellow at the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, said that these trends were “against the spirit of the Act”.

He added that the 25 per cent quota was “state-sponsored privatisation” which would go against public education. Commissioner for Public Instruction S.R. Umashankar said: “Parents are free to make their decision. However, children who did not obtain admissions under the RTE can definitely be given seats in government schools.”

Source: The Hindu; Dated: March 16, 2013