Saturday, April 20, 2013

Survey to identify children for RTE admissions delayed

Eileen Singh, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, April 18, 2013

UT cadre teachers are unhappy over the way the education department has gone about a survey carried out to identify children from the economically weak section (EWS).

Teachers have said that they had carried out most of the UT education department's child-mapping survey, and also
stored information regarding it in compact discs. 

But the department was yet to start compiling the data and identify children who fall in the EWS category and are eligible for free education under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Instead, teachers said, they are being constantly pressured to complete the survey.
“We have been made to work even during the final exams. We submit every piece of information that we gather, immediately. It is the responsibility of the department of the DEO to look into the data. But, even in this case, computer teachers are being asked to do this,” said Rashmi Sharma, a government school teacher. The teachers said that the survey would not be authentic if they were pressured to complete it quickly as it would then be conducted in a haphazard way.
The child-mapping survey had to be completed in the fourth week of March. However, the list of children belonging to the EWS category is yet to be compiled.
This, however, is not the first time that the child-mapping survey has been delayed. In 2012, too, the survey was carried out in a hurried manner, resulting in grave errors - the department had not been able to identify even a single child belonging to the EWS category last year.
“It would have been easier for private schools to admit children belonging to poor families if the education department had carried out the survey in time,” said HS Mamik, president of independent schools association, had said last year. “Then, at least we would have had a list of the deserving candidates in front of us.”
Previously, UT teachers have opposed the orders of the UT education department asking them to take part in the child-mapping survey. Swarn Singh Kamboj, president of UT Cadre Employee Union, said: “We had come to know that the teachers of various schools were being forced to conduct the survey as per the strict directions and orders issued by the education department.
It was mentioned in a circular issued by the department that the survey must be conducted on priority basis within 3 days, starting March 21. But, conducting the survey in such this manner will only result in errors, like last year.” District education officer Ram Kumar was not available for comment in spite of repeated attempts.

What is child mapping and how is it related to admission of EWS students under RTE? Child mapping is a survey in which information regarding the financial condition of a child's family is compiled. Children are also assessed for their academic performance at school. This information is then used to identify children who can be enrolled in schools under the Right to Education Act.

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