Three years since it came into being and promised free and compulsory education to all children in the 6-14 age group in India, redressing violations of the Right to Education (RTE) Act across the country has been apparently poor, a fact ascribed by the chief monitoring body to teacher shortage and lack of educational infrastructure.
An RTI reply reveals that till date only 32 percent cases of violation have been dealt with. According to the RTI reply, of the 3,632 complaints received over the last three years, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the chief monitoring body for the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, has been able to act on just 1,191 cases. In other words, 68 percent of the cases remain unacted.
RTI activist Rashmi Gupta, who had sought the information, said that the figures are disheartening, to say the least.
A different RTI querry filed by Gupta further revealed that the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has received 557 complaints of RTE violations in the last three years, of which 116 have been disposed of - a disposal rate of 21 percent.
Elaborating on the nature of complaints received, the RTI reply states: “Infrastructure, corporal punishment, denial of admission, denial of entitlements, pupil-teacher ratio, and detention are the major issues regarding which complaints were made.” Surprisingly, NCPCR chairperson Shantha Sinha has a different take on the figures revealed by the RTI reply. “Every complaint that has come to us has been disposed of. We don’t have any case pending,” Sinha told IANS.
When questioned about the discrepancy in her statement and what her department revealed in the RTI reply, Sinha said: “There has been a misunderstanding. What the RTI reply meant by disposal was closing down of a case.We don’t close a case until we are satisfied with the action taken.”
Sinha said that the biggest challenge has been addressing the shortage of qualified teachers. “Shortage of trained teachers remains a problem. Recruitment of teachers is still in process...there are still para-teachers and Shiksha Mitras. Infrastructure is also a challenge, . Things are not becoming worse, but progress is very slow,” she admitted.IANS
April 1 is the 3rd anniversary of RTE Act’s implementation