The event aimed at creating awareness through songs, dance, skits street-plays and songs about RTE. It was part of the activities conducted by Prajna’s Empowerment and Participation of Women and Children Projects.

Children from 15 schools in and around Mangalore formed a forum to raise awareness about the Right to Education (RTE). A total of 750 schoolchildren participated in an event on Tuesday in the city to elect a committee of 45 students.

The committee will meet every three months to decide what activities should be organised to increase awareness on RTE, said William Samuel, one of the coordinators of Prajna Counselling Centre, where the children met.

The event aimed at creating awareness through songs, dance, skits street-plays and songs about RTE. It was part of the activities conducted by Prajna’s Empowerment and Participation of Women and Children Projects.

The children elected members of the Child Rights Forum’s Committee through consensus. Mr. Samuel told The Hindu that all schools had Child Rights Clubs. At the event, three representatives of 15 Child Rights Clubs from 15 schools were present. They elected an executive committee of the Child Rights Clubs Forum.

The forum would meet every three months and plan how to raise awareness on RTE and which schools to visit.

Hilda Rayappan of Prajna Counselling Centre, said awareness had increased among children about RTE. They now know that they must not be out of school, and they would get free books, uniforms and fee exemption. Students brought five children who had dropped out of school. They were now in Transit Home at Bejai-Kapikad, she said.

Hindu Higher Primary School, Gurupur; Government Higher Primary School, Addur; Dakshina Kannada Government Higher Primary School, Kannur; Government School, Adyapady; St. Ligoris, Merlapadavu; Government School, Badria Nagar; Government School, Kannuri (near Yadapadavu); Government School, Valachil; St. Joachim Higher Primary School, Kelarai; Government Higher Primary School, Ajjinadka (near Kotekar); Governmentt Higher Primary School, Madooru (near Kolya; and government schools from Kavoor , Kunjathbail, Panjemogaru; and Model Higher Primary School, Madhyapadavu.

Dayananda Pattali, Block Education Officer, told The Hindu that the activity was helping children know about their rights such as they must not be punished in school. Mr. Pattali said more awareness should be raised about allowing children to speak and express their opinion. “Let the child speak more and let teachers speak less,” he added.

The Government had stated that 25 per cent of seats must be reserved for weaker sections. But how many people knew it? The seats were meant for people for whom getting to know that information was difficult. They did not know about the facility so awareness was important, he said.

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