NEW DELHI: The National commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is planning to submit a special report to Parliament against the Congress-led Rajasthan government, ruling that its newly issued norms for admission into pre-primary classes violate the provisions of the Right to Education Act.
The recent guidelines released by the Ashok Gehlot government’s department of elementary education had exempted private schools from 25 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students in their pre-primary classes for the academic session 2020-21.
“This is a blatant violation of a central legislation and we are going to pursue it as the state government is not responding to our repeated reminders,” NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo told this newspaper.
In July, Kanoongo had pointed out that the RTI Act mandates that schools will admit, at least 25 per cent of the strength of a class, children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood and provide free and compulsory education till its completion.
The NCPCR had highlighted that the Act also clearly says that where such a school imparts pre-school education, the provisions also apply for admission to such pre-school education as well.
The state had however said that the Centre has not been reimbursing the funds incurred towards the EWS category students, which is to be shared between states and the Centre.
To this, the Commission replied saying that it will take up the issue with the Education Ministry. In a fresh directive, the child rights’ body had also asked the state to withdraw its guidelines after re-examining the issue and demanded an action taken report within 10 days.
The state government had said that it gives recognition to private schools for classes from 1-5 and 1-8 only and no recognition is given to pre-primary classes.
“As per, UDISE Data 2016-17, 19.2 per cent schools in Rajasthan have pre- primary classes. Since government schools in Rajasthan do not offer pre-primary classes, this means 19.2 per cent or 6,700 private schools in the state are still running pre-primary classes,” the latest letter by the NCPCR.
“Please inform the Commission about the procedure of seeking permission for running pre-primary classes along with other classes in schools.” It said that in case there is no such authority or procedure, the safety of the pre-primary children is a cause of major concern especially in absence of any recognition from the state government.
The Commission had also pointed out that as the state government under Integrated Child Development Scheme, is already providing early childhood care and education for children in the age of 0-6 years that includes education of children in the age of 3-6 years—it is it is incorrect to say that as similar facility is not available in the government scheme so it should not be made available in private setting.