Press Release on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour, June 12, 2020

June 11, 2020

CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHILD LABOUR – CACL

Central Secretariat, C/o SICHREM, No.35, Anjanappa Complex, Lingarajapuram, Bangalore – 560084; Phone : 9845001338

The Campaign Against Child Labour calls upon the Central and State Governments not to adopt any measures due to Covid -19 crisis, that will backtrack the country from its commitment in the ‘sustainable development goals’ to eradicate Child Labour totally by the year 2025.

The statistics of the volume of child labour in India is still a matter of dispute as different agencies report different figures, varying between 44 million and 115 million. However there has been a claim that there was a reduction in the volume between the Census in 2001 and 2011. If this is true, certainly that provides a relief and gives further hope that there will be further reduction during 2011 to 2021. But the fear is that the Covid – 19 induced lock down is causing increase in the number of children getting into labour. There are already reports from the field that confirms this fear. It should be noted that mechanisms like Child Line, Child Rights Committees and Child Rights Commissions report that there is an increase in the calls for help.

In this context the Campaign urges the Governments to retract from the efforts to dilute the Labour laws because that can put the families of workers into greater insecurities and further impoverishment. This will push more children into the labour market. CACL upholds the need for providing incentives to Employers and Investors to rebuild the economy. But allowing cheap labour and child labour is a counter productive measure.

CACL is anguished by the proposal from certain quarters to grant amnesty to Employers of child labour as it is giving a wrong message and will encourage the Employers to take things for granted.

The tragic incident of a poor tribal girl studying in the 10th std committing suicide when the Kerala Govt. Introduced online education, should be an eye opener. The poor family did not have access to a smart phone and the old TV set in the house was under repair. It is a reality that a large number of children in India have no access to any digital media and those children will stop education. Any child out of school is a ‘potential laborer’. Therefore online education cannot be a substitution for a long time for schooling.

It should not be forgotten that a large number of children are also migrant laborers. Most often, the whole family with children migrate in search of work. The tragic death of Jameela Magdum, the 12 year old girl child migrant laborer during her long walk to her native place is a reminder for giving special focus on preventing children from migration. Providing employment for the migrant laborers with the guarantee of minimum wage in their own native place is an urgent necessity.

It maybe a fact that extraordinary situations demand extraordinary actions, but extraordinary actions shall not be at the cost of human rights especially of children.

 

Mathews Philip                                                          Ashok Jha

National Convener – CACL                              Convener – Advocacy Unit

 

Campaign Against Child Labour is a nationwide coalition of NGOs, Civil Society Organisations and individuals for eradication of child labour. This Press note is issued in the context of World Day Against Child labour on 12th June 2020.


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


Public Hearing on RTE @ Dharawad

March 1, 2013

SICHREM in collaboration with CACL-K and KIDS Dharawad  organized a Public Hearing on Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 on February 23, 2013, at Karnataka Vidhyavardhaka Sanga, Dharawad. This public hearing was organised with an aim to pressurize the state to implement all provisions of the Act by creating wide spread awareness among common public on the all provisions of RTE Act and to provide a platform to depose cases of various violation of RTE.

About 90 participants comprising children, teachers and common public from different walks of life across Dharawad region took part in the public hearing. A total of 10 cases of gross RTE violations were deposed before the jury panel.

The Jury members for the day were Ms. Kathyayini Chamaraj (Child Rights Activist and Freelance Writer, Bangalore) Dr. Shivannad Shettar (Reader and Chairperson, Department of Gandhian Studies, Karnataka University, Dharwad) Shri. J N Nandan (RTE officer, Office of BEO, Department of Public Instructions, Dharwad) and Shri. Amruth R Malapura (Block Resource Person (Rtd.,) Department of Public Instructions, Dharwad)

Following are the kinds of cases deposed at the public hearing,    

  • Teachers extracting manual work from children during class hours.
  • Corporal Punishment in schools.
  • No proper infrastructure like lack of drinking water, separate toilets and gates not fixed to compound of the school.
  • Elders using school premises after school hours for social evil activities due to lack of compound and gate
  • Teachers preventing children from participating in various activities like Specil Child Grama Sabha and etc..,
  • Aided schools collecting fees.

The hearing was concluded with the following recommendation by the Jury members

  • Redressal mechanism for reporting violations of RTE must be made clear under the Act.
  • There must be a separate cell to resolve, monitor and implement the issues related to RTE at KSCPCR.
  • There should be a special committee to address the issues relating to infrastructure. Further, the head-masters of schools should be held responsible for addressing the issues and to register FIRs against the violators of child rights, for example, engineers, contractors, and School Development & Monitoring Committee, if they are responsible for the violations.
  • FIR should be filed against villagers, who uses school premises for the illegal activities and the Head Master along with SDMC should take initiative to register FIR. People who entered in to the school premises and disturb class by playing, screaming in the ground during school hours should be warned strictly by the SDMC and Gram Panchayath.
  • There is a need for wide publicity with respect to RTE, by using various means and appropriate IEC materials and capacity building exercises. Rigorous training is required to create awareness on all provisions of the Act, rather concentration on one or two particular issues of the Act.
  • Actions to be taken if RTE is violated with the existing redressal mechanisms mentioned in the Act. The grievances or the complaints lodged must reach the grievance cell as and when it is filed; if delayed, there are chances of justice being denied to children.
  • RTE watch groups to be established at various levels such as, village, gram panchayat, clusters, wards, etc.
  • There is a need for continuous discussions with respect to RTE among people at various levels; this is in order to encourage and to spread the essence of RTE to the larger public.
  • Authorities such as CWCs and KSCPCR should not hesitate to take up suo motu cases to address various violations of RTE.  Similarly, police also should take cognizance of the cases of child rights violations.
  • Ensuring the appointment of Group D worker or ayah to clean the school and toilets, for secretarial help and a watchman in every school to prevent children from being burdened with all other works.
  • Funds for improving the infrastructure of schools, especially the state of the classrooms, toilets, drinking water, compound wall, etc., should be earmarked as a first priority on the state’s budget.
  • There should be no financial barriers to parents to educate their children.  In addition to absence of tuition fees, provision of free textbooks and one set of uniforms per year, there is a need to provide all stationery, note-books and also free transportation to all children.
  • The School Development & Monitoring Committees should be trained effectively to fulfil the roles and responsibilities foreseen for them, especially to monitor the infrastructure of schools, instances of child labour, corporal punishment and other violations of RTE. Their capacity building should include training to prepare annual school development plans.
  • Rigorous training on the Act and role of SDMC should be conducted by the Government by using the available funds and trainers from CSOs.
  • Aided schools should not collect any capitation fee / donation from any student studying in the school. Serious action should be initiated by the Government if it is violated.

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Regional level workshop on RTE @ Karimnagar

February 26, 2013

Regional level workshop on RTE for Telungana region held at Karimnagar on 9th & 10th February, 2013. There were about 38 participants  from 10 districts of Telungana region, Andhra Pradesh.

 

Mr. V. Bhaskara Rao, Secretary, District Legal Service Authority inaugurated the Workshop

Mr. V. Bhaskara Rao, Secretary, District Legal Service Authority inaugurated the Workshop

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News about the Workshop in print media

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