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.