CUTTACK: Expressing displeasure over the slow progress in implementing the provisions of Right to Free Education Act (RTE) and providing adequate facilities in Government schools, the Orissa High Court on Monday directed personal appearance of State Chief Secretary on the matter.
The division bench comprising Chief Justice DH Waghela and Justice SC Parija has instructed Chief Secretary AP Padhi to remain present in the court on February 15 and give explanations for the lapses.
Earlier, the court had directed Secretary of School and Mass Education Department Ranjana Chopra to file an affidavit providing details on number of children in Odisha, students in schools, availability of drinking water and separate toilets, number of teachers, playgrounds in educational institutions and incentives provided to the students. The bench had also directed Chopra, who was present in court on the last date, to indicate the proposal for fulfilling the deficiencies with definite time line.
The Secretary had filed the affidavit providing a detailed breakup of number of children within the age group of 6 to 14 years. She stated before the court that out of the total 65.38 lakh children in the State, 63.86 lakh were admitted in different schools. So far, no household survey has been carried out to know the data on children within one to five years. She appealed to the court to grant one year time to collect the data.
Regarding availability of drinking water facility in the schools, she had stated that tubewells are available in more than 41,000 schools while over 5,000 have wells, 2,740 have piped water supply and in 3,420 schools, potable water is being supplied. On availability of teachers, the Secretary had stated that out of the total 2,34,875 posts of teachers, 1,91,736 teachers are in position. However, the court was not satisfied with the report as the data provided was not conclusive.
The PIL writ petition was instituted by High Court Legal Services Committee, on the basis of news item published in this paper. The court has announced to monitor the issue till the purpose of right to education and right to life is achieved. Further hearing of the case is posted to February 15.