Friday, April 19, 2013

Bangalore School Accused of 'Branding' RTE Students

Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Department today sought reports from its zonal officers on charges by parents of students of an unaided school here that the institution was "branding" students admitted under 25 per cent quota under Right to Education Act.

The parents of four students at the unaided school in Bangalore have alleged that their children were branded by cutting of tufts of their hair, just because they had been admitted under the Right To Education quota. This was allegedly done to distinguish the 1st standard students from other students. The parents also allege the kids were made to stand separately during the morning assembly and were made to sit at the back in class.
Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Secretary G Kumar Naik said "the incident has just come to the notice of the government. I have asked for a report on this from the zonal officers. We'll take action after we go through the report. Complaints of this kind haven't come in from anywhere else," Naik said.

"The school did not take any action after I brought to its notice the incident of my daughter's classmate cutting tufts of her hair. This has happened to children admitted under the RTE Act," Reshma Bano, mother of the girl said.

The parents also alleged their children were excluded from internal tests and caused injuries by poking pen and pencil on their foreheads. "Our children are not allowed to write tests and once my daughter's forehead was poked by her classmate. The school did not take any action against the errant student," Geeta, another parent, said.

Geeta also complained she was surprised at a reply from the teachers saying parents cannot interact with them on such issues.

A Dalit activist Narayanaswamy alleged the tiffins of the children admitted under the RTE Act were checked, no home work was given to them and were made to stand in a separate line in morning assemblies.

"They are sent to their classes last after the assembly and forced to the last benches. These kinds of harassment are being done to pressurise the parents to withdraw their children from the private schools. If this is the attitude, we don't need RTE at all," he said.

The school is a part of the Karnataka Unaided School Managements' Association (KUSMA) which has announced a shut down to protest the implementation of RTE.

1,800 schools under KUSMA have been shut down for a week as part of the Association's protest against implementation of RTE.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed yesterday in Karnataka High Court seeking a direction to the government to implement the Right to Education Act.

The PIL against the state government, the Chief Secretary, Education Secretary, President and Secretary of KUSMA accused them of failure to implement RTE Act despite the Supreme Court in its April 12 order upholding its validity.

The petitioner, Bangalore-based advocate S Vasudeva, also sought a direction from the court to declare as "illegal, unwarranted and impermissible in law" the bandh call given by KUSMA to 1,800 privately-managed schools over RTE Act.

He contended the bandh call was a violation of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21(A) of the Constitution.

The petitioner pleaded for an inquiry into complaints into "non-admission" of SC, ST and other backward class students in KUSMA member schools and take appropriate action in accordance with law.

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