A Class I student of a public school in East Delhi, was prevented from attending school because he had been unable to pay the fee for several months. Reason: Both his parents are in prison.

The matter was brought to the notice of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) that served a notice to the school authorities. After necessary follow-up the school agreed not to charge any fee from the child till either of his parents are in prison.

In another case, a fatherless child was being compelled by her school in West Delhi to leave since she had not been paying the fee for several months. The girl’s mother took the matter with the Delhi child rights panel that took up the matter with the institution. The school finally granted the benefit free education under the economically backward section quote as provided under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 to the girl who is a Class VII student.

A student of a reputed public school in Karol Bagh was reportedly beaten up by his Mathematics teacher for not taking private tuition with him. The services of the teacher – who was engaged on contract basis – were dispensed with immediately following intervention of the DCPCR.

These are some of the many cases where intervention by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights enabled children, particular those who from the weaker sections of society, get access to educational institutions within the National Capital.

Set up in 2008, the DCPCR is empowered to undertake enquiry into complaints and take suo-motu notice of matters relating to deprivation and violation of child rights, non-implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children, non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships to ensuring welfare of the children by taking up the matter with appropriate authorities.

The Commission is also empowered to monitor the implementation of the RTE Act. It can examine and review the safeguards for rights provided by or under the Act and recommend measures for their effective implementation. ``The Commission has played, perhaps, the pioneering role in the country to make the dream of free and compulsory education a reality and make Delhi a model at the national level,’’ says Amod K.Kanth, chairperson of the DCPCR.

More than 10,626 cases pertaining to violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 were reported to the Commission by different non-governmental organisations and individuals. These included denial of admission in school (9,084), drop-outs, education of children with special needs, denial of the benefit of free education under the economically weaker section category (91), corporal punishment (41) and screening process (172) among other things.

Upon intervention by the panel, nearly 1,354 children have been enrolled in schools. The commission has also issued suo-motu notices on the basis of media reports regarding lack of infrastructure and basic amenities in a number of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi Administration-run schools.

In addition to working towards ensuring that corporal punishment is totally eliminated from schools, the child rights panel has also come up with elaborate mechanisms that need to be in place to manage any medical crisis that includes constitution of emergency response team and school health committees.

Delhi has about 2.5 lakh children in a population of 25 lakh people from the marginalised background who are out of school.

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