Lack of awareness is the reason, says D’Souza
In Dakshina Kannada district, two complaints have been received about implementation of the Right to Education (RTE), said N. Sivaprakash, Deputy Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Dakshina Kannada. He said that both the complaints were from parents whose children studied in a school in Kavoor. The parents had claimed that the school had said the students had failed in their studies. Both the complaints were received over phone and resolved, and no written complaint was made, he said.
Mr .Sivaprakash said that no complaint about discrimination or punishment has been received.
He said no school in the district has refused or rejected any student that has sought admission in the RTE quota. From next year, competition, and complaints, will increase, he predicted.
Renni D’Souza, convenor in Dakshina Kannada for the Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), said the low number of complaints received in the district is due to lack of awareness among parents about whom to approach for address complaints.
He said the CACL would soon undertake a stock-taking exercise of the RTE implementation in the district. This will include attention to the 120 single-teacher schools in Belthangady and 20 single-teacher schools in Bantwal, he said.
Depending on the nature of the problem, parents may approach the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) and the Block Education Officers (BEOs) or the Karnataka representative of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) with copies of the complaint to the SDMC and Block Education Officer. Nagasimha Rao, convenor for Karnataka of the Bangalore-based Child Rights Trust, an NGO, which provides consulting services to the government, said that the organisation receives complaints on RTE implementation and takes them up for resolution with the Child Rights Commission. He said the parents (or their associations) may approach the organisation (mobile number 9880477198) if they have any problem.
Mr. Rao said parents could complain to SDMCs but in case of private schools, there is no SDMC. For parents, complaining to the schools is difficult because schools are part of the complaint. Complaining to the Child Rights Commission is a process that takes time. Besides, parents are scared of complaining because they feel their children could be harassed. Children may also call 109 (Makkala Sahaya Vani). Parents could inform CACL to get their complaints of RTE implementation addressed in Dakshina Kannada, he said.
The organisation has received 16 complaints on RTE implementation from Bangalore, seven from Bhadravathi, three from Gulbarga, two from Shimoga, and one each from Hassan and Chikmagalur.
It is planning to extend the service to Dharwad where the association has a good network and to Chamarajnagar, where awareness of the RTE is very low.
Mr. Nagasimha said they had suggested to the parents that they keep a ‘parents’ diary’.
The idea is for parents to document their experiences with their children’s schools, compare, discuss and analyse findings with other parents. That way, they can monitor schools and see if a pattern of complaints can emerge that could be addressed.