RVM officials fail to popularise the toll free number among schoolchildren

The helpline number meant for schoolchildren isn't really helping them with the Rajiv Vidya Mission (RVM) officials failing to popularise the number (1800-425-3525) among the students.

A year after it was launched the helpline number has received just 270 calls from school children across the State while more than 2,600 calls have come from contractors and other officials who are generally interested in RVM's commercial activities. Out of the 270 calls from schoolchildren 116 are from Ranga Reddy district followed by Hyderabad and East Godavari districts. Some districts have just a single call for the record and some only a couple of calls.

The reason for such a poor response is lack of enthusiasm among the officials to send across the message. The idea of starting the toll free number was to enable students to highlight their problems/issues and pass it on to the concerned officials at the district and monitor the progress from the State capital. Some teachers suggest that the number should be printed on the first page of all the school books supplied to students.

Number of calls apart, the issues raised by the students ranged from lack of facilities like toilets and drinking water to abuse from teachers and non-availability of subject teachers. Some students complained on corporal punishment, non-supply of books, school dresses, sports kits and irregularities in the mid-day meal scheme. Though most complaints came from the government schoolchildren a few from private schools objected to the high fee structure and harsh treatment if they fail to pay the fee.

Aruna Jyothi, project coordinator of the Helpline agreed that lack of awareness was perhaps the reason for such poor response but at least it provided an opportunity for children to share their feelings and report their issues. She says some students also shared their personal problems and the two counsellors in the helpline centre counselled them to think positively. “We record the voice of students and send it to the concerned officials apart from our report so that concern is understood properly and context is not lost,” she says. The Action Taken Reports are analysed during the weekly reviews.

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