Tuition centres in rights panel’s crosshairs


Asks govt. to frame law to ensure children’s rights are protected

These days, it is not unusual to see children, still sleepy, leave home before sunrise to sweat it out at tuition centres before racing off to school. School hours are, in many instances, sandwiched between expensive, back-breaking coaching sessions after which the children limp home — bleary-eyed and exhausted — by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., or even later.

Acting on a set of complaints, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Friday issued orders to the State government to frame a law for regulating tuition/coaching centres and to ensure that children’s rights are protected. The commission asked the Secretary, General Education, and the Director of Public Instruction (DPI), to ensure that such institutions are allowed to operate only in a child-friendly atmosphere.

Commission member Sreela Menon N., in her order, noted that while rules and regulations protected the rights of children in the school environment, no such framework protected them in tuition centres that have mushroomed in every nook and cranny of the State.

The commission’s order came on two petitions filed by Sebi Joseph of Ancheri, Thrissur, and a group of parents. The petitioners, urging the commission’s intervention, alleged that gross violation of children’s rights was occurring at such institutions. They also wanted the commission to slap a ban on summer coaching classes that also have become a common feature.

Although the commission issued notices on the matter to the Secretary, General Education, and the DPI, it received the reply that the Education Department was helpless.

The Kerala Education Rules did not contain any provision to regulate tuition/coaching centres. In fact, Friday’s order has come at a time when even veterans in the coaching classes sector have started to complain about excesses. P.C. Thomas of Thrissur, a pioneer in the field, welcomed the order, saying it was high time steps were taken to protect children. According to him, tuition/coaching centres have transformed into a ‘mafia’ in recent years.

Big business

“This has become a big business where the children are at the receiving end. There is no doubt that the rights of the children have to be protected. The government should introduce regulations and form inspection teams,” Mr. Thomas said.

The commission has ordered the Secretary, General Education, and the DPI to file action-taken reports within 30 days of receiving copies of the order.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 11:02:38 PM |

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