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Saturday, September 1, 2012

RTE kids suffer discrimination in State schools

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Children from poor families who were admitted to private schools under the Right to Education Act, 2009 are facing problems due to non-availability of uniforms and books. Coming from poor families, they cannot afford uniforms or books necessary for their studies and nobody seems to be in a position to take responsibility for this.
Under the RTE, the fee is provided by both Central and State governments and the private schools do not have to pay anything. However, the private school and the School Education department do not have any provision for providing free of cost uniforms and books to the poor students.
In the State capital, it is mostly the children from slums who go to private schools under the RTE. When contacted, the parents of such children expressed their inability to provide costly uniforms or books to their children.
Jyoti, a resident of Ganganagar colony, said she lacked the money to pay school fee, which is why her son was admitted to a school under the RTE. She wondered how a slum dweller could buy the costly uniforms or books and stationery items for his children.
Mona, whose daughter is in class I in a nearby school, complained that her children were made to sit separately in the school because they did not come in proper uniforms. She alleged that the school authorities often scolded the poor children for not coming in uniforms.
When informed about the situation, District Education Officer CM Upadhyay said the needs of poor children could be taken care of by voluntary organizations or individuals as the department could not act in the absence of any policy in this regard. He further said that some cases of discrimination against children admitted under the RTE Act had come up in the past. However, the administration acted swiftly to address those cases.
The MP State Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson, Usha Chaturvedi said in case of the children who were admitted to private schools under the RTE Act, it was the responsibility of the parents and not the government to provide uniforms, books and stationey items. When told about the discrimination that the children of the poor families suffered, she said the matter would be discussed with the Government.
Eminent educationist Anil Sadgopal said the problem was inherent in the RTE Act itself. He said it had left the private schools at liberty to compel the parents of these children to spend their meagre resources on paying for such necessities like uniforms or books.

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