Friday, March 15, 2013

Govt schools fleecing parents

Mallica Joshi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 15, 2013

Nearly 34% parents of children studying in schools run by the MCD and Delhi government have been asked to pay money on one pretext or another. This despite the fact that as per the Right to Education Act, all students have a right to get free education till class 8. 

The excuses given by the school authorities ranged from student identity cards, parent-teacher funds and even examination fee, a survey by students of Delhi University and IIT, Delhi have found. The survey, conducted in association with NGO Josh, found that at least 46% of students in such schools said corporal punishment was common in their school.
Nearly 60 volunteers from DU and IIT worked with the NGO in a five-month-long exercise to assess the conditions at MCD and Delhi government schools.
The students reported that out of the 1,425 households they surveyed, 34% were asked to pay a certain amount to the teachers for things like students identity cards, parent-teacher Funds and examination fee.
According to the survey, which covers 29 schools from seven districts of Delhi, asking students to get money under one pretext or another is still prevalent in a number of schools. In around 11% of the schools, the survey says, admission fee is also charged.
The survey report looks at a number of issues such as the formation of school management committees, which are supposed to increase the participation of parents in school management, parent-teacher meetings, grievance-redressal systems, school infrastructure, status of special education and scholarships as well as corporal punishment.
"The point that emerges very strongly from this study is the need for effective time-bound grievence redressal mechanism to deal with the overwhelming violations that are happening on the ground," said Aheli Chowdhuri, member, Josh. For students who participated in the study, the experience was an eye-opener.
"It is a call for action for people like us who are privileged and can change things at the grassroots," said Kinshu Dang, a second-year student at Ramjas College.

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