NCPCR asks states to prescribe only NCERT books; says 'there should be uniformity in curriculum in all schools'

The NCPCR chief asked the states to submit compliance report within 30 days of the issue of the letter.
Representative Image.
Representative Image.(File photo)

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has directed all states to reduce the cost of education in private schools and to ensure that they are prescribing books by NCERT at the elementary level.

In a letter to all principal secretaries/secretaries of school education, NCPCR Chairperson, Priyank Kanoongo said the repeated recurrence of schools prescribing books published by private publishers suggests a “clear disregard for children’s right to quality education and the RTE Act, 2009.”

It also said that no child should be discriminated against, harassed or neglected by schools for carrying books published/prescribed by the NCERT, causing “mental or physical suffering."

The NCPCR chief also asked the states to submit the compliance report within 30 days of the issue of the letter.

The NCPCR, which had earlier written to the states in 2019 and also last year in March, said the implementation of section 29 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which gives children the right to equal quality education, there should be uniformity in the curriculum in all schools under RTE Act, 2009 and quality education for all children.

It also said the states should reduce the cost of education in private schools so that only prescribed books by the National Council of Educational Research Training (NCERT)/ State Council of Educational Research and Training (CERT) are followed at the elementary level.

Kanoongo also stressed reducing the weight of school bags.

“Hence, if any school follows and forces the children to study textbooks for elementary classes other than prescribed by NCERT or respective SCERT, it shall amount to a violation of the RTE Act, 2009,” he said.

“For this, it is once again recommended to issue necessary directions to the concerned schools in your state to ensure that no child shall be discriminated against, harassed and neglected by the school for carrying books published/prescribed by the academic authority (NCERT/SCERT) causing mental or physical suffering. Any action taken against the child may attract the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.”

The letter further said that such directions issued by the state shall displayed on their department website.

“Also, the schools be directed to display the directions on schools’ website and notice board,” it said, adding that a copy of directions is circulated and disseminated by the schools among parents for information.

NCPCR Chairperson Kanoongo said that schools are “extorting money” to sell books by private publishers.

“We have issued recommendations earlier also. We have received complaints pan-India from parents that private schools are harassing and forcing them to buy books from private publications, which are very costly. Private schools are extorting money from parents. All schools should prescribe NCERT books from Class 1 to 12,” Kanoongo told The New Indian Express.

Kanoongo said if the state authorities flag such cases, they can step in and issue notices to such schools. “We can issue notice; an FIR can be registered against such schools under Juvenile Justice Act 75.”

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