‘Need for effective time-bound grievance redressal mechanism to deal with violations that are happening on the ground’

A study on implementation of the Right to Education Act in Delhi in three years of its existence has revealed “overwhelming violations’’ of the norms on the ground.

The study by NGO Josh, with support of VSO India, has noted that while “73 per cent of the schools had contract teachers’’, in 99 per cent of schools, the School Management Committees (SMC) have still not been formed.

It has also expressed concern at the treatment meted out to students in many schools. It said “46 per cent of children reported corporal punishment; and 55 per cent of parents reported that they have never been called for any parents meeting in the school.’’

Still, 71 per cent of parents responded that they don’t complain even if they have any grievance. The reason cited by them being that either there was no grievance redressal mechanism or they had been insulted and humiliated by school authorities in the past.

The survey also revealed that “teachers are engaged in non teaching duties such as election , polio campaign, census as well as clerical work within the school’’ and for the parents the quality of learning remained a huge concern across all areas. This despite their spending Rs.300 to Rs. 400 on private tuition.

In Delhi schools, the provision of basic infrastructure facilities was “still a challenge’’.

The survey has also noted with concern the approach towards the differently-abled students in Delhi schools. “Only 23 per cent of children reported that they have differently-abled children in their schools; main reason being denial of admission, ‘pushed out’ due to lack of care and adequate infrastructure facilities.’’

Further, it said, 80 per cent of the schools did not have provision made for special teachers or special training for present teachers.

Even in the case of scholarship, the survey said “several case studies recorded that parents were made to sign on receipts and later no money was given’’. Only 78 per cent parents reported receiving scholarship meant for their children.

The study was conducted in seven areas of six districts with the help of student volunteers drawn from premier colleges like Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), St. Stephens’ College, Hindu College, Ramjas College, Ram Lal Anand College, IIT Delhi, Delhi College of Engineering, Teri University and Delhi School of Economics.

A total of 1,425 households and 29 schools were covered by the volunteers in Daryaganj, Timarpur, Rithala, Munirka, Malviya Nagar, Nizamudding and Trilokpuri areas of Delhi and the students then wrote separate papers describing the status of the implementation of the fundamental right to education in the areas visited by them.

In its report, NGO Josh said: “The findings of the students clearly show the status of the RTE Act in the National Capital. The point that emerges very strongly from this study is the need for effective time bound grievance redressal mechanism to deal with the overwhelming violations that are happening on the ground.’’

Elaborating on the issue, it said: “The RTE Act makes education a fundamental right, therefore, while efforts are made to improve provisioning, there needs to be a mechanisms which will provide children, parents and community a space to raise their concerns when violations happen. At present, no such mechanism is there and children and parents are completely clueless where to go when they are denied access to quality education.’’

The report was released on Thursday in the presence of Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Shantha Sinha, Professor Anita Rampal of Delhi University, Nalini Juneja of NUEPA, Dr. Reetika Khera of IIT Delhi, Ratna Viswanathan of VSO, Malini Ghosh of Nirantar and Ambarish Rai of RTE Forum among others.

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