Implement RTE Act in its entirety: Shantha Sinha of NCPCR

Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Shantha Sinha on Saturday called upon teachers to become custodians of children and their rights both inside and outside school.

She was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day national women teachers’ convention jointly organised by the School Teachers’ Federation of India (STFI) and the Karnataka State Primary Teachers’ Association (KSPTA).

“If teachers notice any change in a child’s behaviour, they should sense that something is wrong and should immediately inform the management for further probe. There have been cases where teachers have prevented child marriages and child abuse. You should become their custodians,” she said.

Pointing out that the commission has been getting several complaints about corporal punishment, child abuse and caste discrimination in schools, Ms. Sinha called upon the teachers to take a pledge not to use the stick to discipline their students. “I want you to have discussions on these issues in this convention and vow not to impose punishment on children in any form,” she said.

Calling upon the teachers to actively involve themselves in the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, she said implementing the Act in its entirety will ensure that children’s rights are not violated. She said there is a direct link between the rights of children and teachers. Ms. Sinha, who expressed concern over the increasing dropout rate of girls from schools, called upon teachers to find ways to reduce rate of dropout of girl students. “Although there is a phenomenal increase in the enrolment of girls in schools, the dropout rate is alarming. It is our duty to protect girl students and give them an opportunity to complete their schooling,” she said.

Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka State Women’s University Meena R. Chandawarkar called upon the teaching fraternity to become knowledgeable and inspiring. She urged them to take pride in their profession and added that they should also learn to learn.

STFI president Abhijith Mukherjee, general secretary K. Rajendran and KSPTA president Baswaraj Gurikar spoke.