Saturday, March 23, 2013

HC prod on right to education act

HC prod on right to education act

TNN Jan 8, 2013, 02.11AM IST

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Monday directed the state government to enforce guidelines under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act, 2009 in all schools except minority-run ones with immediate effect.
The division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi also directed that the registrations of schools that refuse to abide by the guidelines should be immediately scrapped.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Jatiyatabadi Paribartankami Shikshamonoshko Abhibhabak Mancha - an organization of parents from Jalpaiguri in North Bengal. The petitioners had claimed that several schools in Jalpaiguri do not abide by the guidelines though the RCFCE Rules, 2012, has already come into effect in the state.
They alleged that the schools in question continue to charge capitation fees or donations and not admit students from the economically weaker sections of society.
After hearing the petition on Friday, the court directed the state government to file an affidavit on what steps it has taken to enforce the act. This report was submitted on Monday. After going through the affidavit, the court noted that steps need to be taken so that schools in the state - not only in Jalpaiguri - but also in other parts of the state
abide by the provisions under the act.
The act states that all children between the age of 6 and 14 have the right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school. In order to abide by this, schools can't bar a student from being promoted till Class VIII.
Private schools (except minority-run ones) will also have to reserve 25% of the class strength for students from economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups through a random selection process. The government is to remunerate the school for the education of such children.
No seats in this quota can be left vacant, the Act stipulates and those admitted through this process have to be treated at par with other students. The Act also states that no donation or capitation fee can be charged and no admission test or interview for children or parents can be held. Schools have to maintain a fixed student to teacher ratio. Local bodies like Panchayats and municipalities are to keep tabs on the numbers of children actually receiving primary education under the Act. State governments have also been directed to set up Commissions for Protection of Child Rights by the Act which also stipulates that all schools (except private unaided ones) have to set up management committees with 75% of parents and guardians being members.

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