Chennai

RTI query fails to get reply from education deparment

Request for info on RTE admission goes around in circles

A request filed under the Right to Information Act by an activist to the School Education department has been going back and forth between different wings of the department since May.

Mohammed Ghouse, an RTI activist associated with the political outfit Welfare Party, said he filed the request following a number of complaints he came across from parents wanting to admit their children to schools under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act.

“Many parents encountered issues with the online application process. Some schools also had problems as they were not listed on the website,” he said.

No help

“I myself tried to use the ‘14417’ helpline and the email address given by the department to report the issues, but there was no help,” he added.

Disappointed with this, he filed the RTI request in May to the State Planning Directorate (SPD) of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), seeking details on the number of complaints received and redressed.

“I was given details of the complaints received through email. Later, using provisions of the RTI Act, I visited the directorate and inspected those emails as well,” he said.

However, details on complaints received through helpline was not given. Instead, SPD of SSA forwarded it to Directorate of School Education (DSE) on June 11, 2019, stating that the helpline was maintained by the latter.

Passing the buck

The DSE then forwarded it to Directorate of Matriculation Schools (DMS). The DMS, on July 31, 2019, forwarded it back to SPD of SSA.

After sitting on the request for another month, SPD of SSA has transferred it again to DSE four days back.

“The cycle has begun again, which is ridiculous. This shows that there is no mechanism to track RTI requests. Every time it is forwarded to a wing, it is being treated afresh and passed around. I have, in fact, decided to wait and watch how many more times this loop goes on,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 10:11:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/rti-query-fails-to-get-reply-from-education-deparment/article29312904.ece

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