An awareness programme on the Act is being launched in the State

Executive Director of South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) Mathews Philip said here on Friday that people in the State should come together to put pressure on the State government to notify rules for Right to Education Act, 2009, made by the Centre.

The Act ensured free and compulsory education to children aged between 6 and 14.

Mr. Philip was addressing a gathering at an awareness programme on the Act. He said the State government had finalised the draft of the rules. But it was delaying in notifying it.

He said the SICHREM, which was a wing of Manasa Centre for Development and Social Action, a non-governmental organisation, would submit a memorandum to the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri here on Saturday to notify the rules.

He said the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had appointed SICHREM to oversee the implementation of the Act in Karnataka. “When the State has not notified the rules for the Act, how can you supervise its implementation,” he said. Mr. Philip said he was launching the awareness programme on the Act in the State from Mangalore. The programme would be held in all districts.

He said that Section 17 of the Act banned corporal punishment and mental abuse of children. Now, the State government in its rules should specify the kind of punishment to be given in such cases.

According to the Act, the teacher-student ratio in primary and higher primary schools should be 1:30 and 1:40, and private schools should reserve 25 per cent seats to students from poor families. The government would reimburse the fee to them after fixing a ceiling.

Mr. Philip said according to the Act, children aged from 6 and 14 should get compulsory education as it was their right. But the United Nations convention on the right of the child defined a “child” as a “person” from zero to 18.

India was signatory to the convention. Hence the Act should have considered the age of a child from zero to 18.

What happened if the age was between six and 14?

For example, Mr. Philip said, if the State government closed down all anganawadis, people could not question it under the provisions of the Act for denying free education to them.

He alleged that private education institutes were opposing the provision of 25 per cent quota in the Act.

“Already, 50 petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court questioning the reservation,” he said.

Mr. Philip said that private educational institute's lobby was against the ratio of teachers in the Act as they would have to appoint more teachers and pay them. Renny D'Souza, a social activist, gave an introductory note.

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