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


Students do menial tasks at govt schools

April 8, 2013

No takers for group ‘D’ posts with paltry salary of Rs 1,500, says study

Children studying in government schools in Bangalore perform menial tasks on a regular basis according to a study conducted by a city-based human rights organisation.

South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (Sichrem), which conducted a study for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, found that most schools ask their students to clean toilets, wash vessels and sweep floors. 

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Forced to do
The study covered as many as 47 schools in five wards of Shivajinagar, Pulikeshinagar, KR Puram, Chamarajpet and Vasanthnagar. 

The objective of the study was to know about the compliance of schools with the provisions of Right to Education Act.

Sichrem found that in almost all the government schools students were forced to perform usually done by Group ‘D’ employees (ayah). 

“The State government has issued a circular in 2011 to appoint a Group ‘D’ employee to do all these jobs and had even released the money. But no appointment is made so far, ” said N Gangadhar Reddy, the programme co-ordinator. 

According to him almost all the schools make the students unload the Akshaya Patra (mid-day meals) vessels from the vehicles and the heavy vessels are carried to the schools, served, cleaned and sent back by the students.  

Job of an attender
“It is the job of an attender to do this. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), which supplies food to the schools makes it mandatory to send back the vessels at least after one wash,” he said.

According to one more member, who worked on this project, at least 20 schools of the 47 treat the children badly by making them do almost all kinds of menials jobs .

“At a school in KR Puram and another in Anandapuram and some schools in Pulikeshinagar, we found that children were cleaning toilets and other areas which were very clean. We have adequate proof for it,” said Reddy. 

The poor payment of Rs 1,500 per month fixed by school authorities for a temporary group ‘D’ employee is another reason for the mess as there are few takers for the job (minimum wage for a worker under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is Rs 176 per day) in many government schools.

Inactive School Development Monitoring Committees (SDMC) further worsen the situation, the report says. “The members of SDMC (most of them are parents of the students of the respective schools) are all daily wage labourers who do not attend meetings called by schools as they tend to lose a day’s wages. They do not complain or protest against anything fearing that their wards studying in the schools might be affected,” said Reddy. 

Commissioner, Department of Public Instruction S R Umashankar was not available for comment.

Source: Deccan Herald; Dated: March 30, 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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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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RTE Programme Paper cutting Uday Vani-page-0

RTE Programme Paper cutting V.K. & Praja Vani-page-0