Taking note of the violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in schools across the state, the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has constituted a special committee to conduct a complete survey on erring schools in the city.
This comes almost two years after the Karnataka State RTE Rules were implemented in government, aided and private schools. However, many underprivileged children are still not benefiting from it as schools refuse to take children under the RTE quota.
Umesh Aradhya, chairperson, KSCPCR, said that based on the findings of the survey, the Commission will recommend necessary action to the Department of Primary Education. “We will collect information, especially on private schools, on the actual number of RTE quota seats and how many haven’t been utilised,” he explained. The process is expected to be over by the end of October, he said and added that the survey is being carried out in view of the impending admission season.
“We had many lapses last year with parents denied admissions because they came in too late as they did not know that RTE seats were available in schools in their areas,” he said. “The committee will survey five to six schools a day.”
The committee will start working in Bangalore after which talks will be initiated on having similar teams in other taluks and districts. “Schools will be answerable for violations such as inadequate water and sanitation facilities, infrastructure and low student-pupil ratio,” he said.
The KSCPCR is forming this three-member committee as it will ensure that complaints lodged by parents of children studying or aspiring to study under RTE are addressed in a more authoritative manner, said Nagasimha G Rao, Convener, RTE Task Force. He said that the committee will include experts and members from NGOs who have been active in enforcing the Act. “We will continue with the same kind of advocacy and implementation with complete support from the KSCPCR,” Rao said.
The main activities of the committee include visiting schools based on complaints lodged with the Commission. “The committee will visit errant schools and we will maintain files on each such school. Special focus will be on schools against which we receive repeated complaints,” Rao added.
He said that the committee will also submit a report to the Commission within 10 days of a visit based on which the Commission will submit recommendations to the government for necessary action.
At the outset, the committee will dispose of pending cases before taking up new ones. Other checks include to find out if schools are maintaining proper documents on students admitted under the RTE and otherwise, whether students are being charged extra fees or being given corporal punishment.
“It will also involve regular interaction and interviews with the students in the school so that we can get a complete picture,” Rao noted. Once the survey is complete, each school will have to display a board outside stating the number of RTE seats available and the person to be contacted in case parents have complaints, Aradhya said.