Six-year-old Khushi should have spent her days in a school and made new friends. Instead, the starry-eyed girl asks her father, ‘’When do I get to go to school?” Despite a seat under Right to Education (RTE) quota, official apathy has confined her to her house.
Khushi was admitted under RTE at Chitrakoota School in Vijayanagar’s RPC Layout on May 27.
Soon after her admission, Khushi’s father M Pramod Kumar was told that the school would be shifting to Kengeri.
The school issued a transfer certificate to Khushi on June 3 and has moved now. Bangalore South-2 Block Education Officer (BEO) Nagarathna D assured Pramod that Khushi would be transferred to the nearby Holy Angels School. And since then there has been no further communication.
“Khushi’s younger sister has already started kindergarten at a different school. Every morning, Kushi pesters us to get her ready for school. She watches other children in the neighbourhood go to school and feels very bad to stay home,” said Pramod, a resident of RPC Layout and a keyboard player for an orchestra group.
“For the last 20 days I have been visiting the BEO’s office every day and return with no response. Neither does the BEO turn up in office nor does she answer my calls. Even my neighbours ask me taunting questions on why we haven’t put Kushi in school,” Pramod rued. Despite repeated attempts by Express, Nagarathna was unavailable for a clarification.
Pramod has approached the RTE Task Force with a written complaint that has been forwarded to the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which is the monitoring agency specified in the RTE Act, 2009.
In Khushi’s case, even as Section 5 of the Act provides the right of transfer to another school, the concept of ‘neighbourhood schools’ devised by the state government does not allow her to continue in Chitrakoota school, RTE Task Force convener Nagasimha G Rao said.
“As per the ‘neighbourhood schools’ concept, children can apply for RTE seats in schools located in the same residential wards. In this case, the school is moving to another ward, and Khushi’s RTE seat will not be valid there,” said Rao.
She further said that there are another 15 RTE children of Chitrakoota School in the loop like Khushi.