Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Over 1.70 lakh Shiksha Mitras to be regularised


Over 1.70 lakh Shiksha Mitras to be regularised



LUCKNOW: Their long-drawn protest finally bore fruit when the UP cabinet on Tuesday cleared the proposal to regualrise over 1.70 lakh 'shiksha mitras' (auxiliary teachers) in the basic education department. With Lok Sabha elections just round the corner, the UP government also okayed the 'Samajwadi Pension Scheme' which has the provision for a monthly pension of Rs 500 to Rs 700 to over 40 lakh families.

In other major decisions, the retirement age for Lal Bahadur Shastri Ganna Kisan Santhan (LBSGKS) employees was raised from 58 to 60 years. The cabinet also cleared the schedule for assembly session in March and authorized the chief minister to decide the dates for it.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said all the decisions taken by the cabinet pertained to public interests, some of which were pending for years. About finances to fund the new schemes and policies, Akhilesh said UP's financial condition was in doldrums when the SP came to power. "We have stabilized the situation and are aware of the challenges on this front and will tackle them one by one," he said.

Briefing the media about other decisions, chief secretary Jawed Usmani said the cabinet cleared the new excise policy for the next fiscal year with a target additional revenue realisation of 21.4% of the current fiscal year and upgrading the police and fire departments in the National Capital Region.

The regularization of shiksha mitras will be done under Section 19 of the UP Basic Education Act, 1972, which provides the state government to make rules by notification for purposes essential for achieving the target of this Act. The cabinet has authorised chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to clear separate set of rules for regularization of shiksha mitras which are likely to be tabled within a week. Trained shiksha mitras will be given preference over the untrained ones and will first undergo training before being absorbed as regular teachers.

Home secretary Amrit Abhijaat said the cabinet has cleared posting of sub-inspectors as in charge of police station in one-third of total (1,452) police stations in the state on the basis of a government order issued in 2008. As per the GO, while two-third of the total police stations in the state which are headed by Inspector post officers, will have inspectors as the in charge while the remaining will now have SIs.

Abhijaat said the police stations for posting of SIs as in charge will be shortlisted on the basis of the crime rate, area under the particular police station and likes. He said the cabinet has authorised principal secretary home to take decisions relating to minor adjustments in the process.

'Mumbai schools not ready for RTE online admissions'


'Mumbai schools not ready for RTE online admissions'



MUMBAI: The state education department may have announced that entry-level admissions to schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will go online in Mumbai and Pune from February 15, but institutes here seem to be completely unprepared for it. The online system is supposed to be held in Pune and Mumbai on a trial basis, but schools here have not even received a formal circular.

For the rest of the state, the RTE admission will also begin on February 15, but the procedure will be manual.

After it was declared that admission to entry-level classes in schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will go online from the next academic year, another announcement came from the Pune education director's office that the online procedure will be held for Mumbai and Pune schools from February 15 this year, on a trial basis. For the rest of the state, the admission process, which will be begin on the same date, will be manual.

Officials in the Mumbai division of the education department told TOI that it might be difficult to conduct online admissions this session. "Our officials have not been trained. At such a short notice, we will not manage to get people to conduct the process," said a senior education official, adding at present, the Mumbai division education department is short of the required manpower.

Principals, too, were taken aback by the new announcement. "Admission to reserved seats under the RTE Act is meant for students from socially and economically backward classes but the education department expects them to apply online. No one has any clue about the process, including school and education officials. This is not practical," said Ramakant Pandey, principal of Bansidhar Aggarwal School in Wadala. He added this would only confuse parents.

Even non-state board schools are worried about the admissions creating problems for seats that have already been slotted. "Our session starts by April. We started admissions for the other seats. We will try to follow the new process as long as it doesn't affect the admissions that have already been conducted," said the principal of an ICSE school in Bandra.

The education department is expected to send the circular to schools by February 1.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Building a new school system

Building a new school system

Clause 12 of the RTE presents an opportunity to improve both the equity and efficiency of schools

The growing share of private school enrolment in India has raised concerns about the socioeconomic stratification of schooling by ability to pay. Such stratification not only perpetuates inequality over generations, but also threatens the ideal of public schooling as a shared space for young citizens at a formative stage of their lives that can foster awareness of, and respect for, the socioeconomic diversity in the country.
A key objective of clause 12 of the Right to Education (RTE) Act is to reduce this stratification in schooling. It aims to do so by stipulating that all private schools in India reserve 25% of their seats for students from economically weaker sections (EWS), with the government reimbursing the fees for these students up to the per-child spending in public schools. However, while the inclusiveness goal has been broadly supported, there have also been concerns raised that the provision may lead to a dilution of education quality for students who were in private schools to begin with. Two new pieces of evidence may help to allay these concerns.
First, the Andhra Pradesh School Choice Project (described last week) not only featured a lottery at the student-level to allocate the vouchers (which enabled a statistically valid comparison of the relative impact of attending public and private schools), but also featured a village-level lottery to determine which 90 villages (out of 180 eligible villages) would receive the programme. We compare students who started out in private schools in the programme villages (who were exposed to EWS classmates for four years) with those in the control villages (who were not exposed to EWS classmates) and find no evidence of negative spill-overs on the test scores of students who were already in private schools.
Second, recent research by Gautam Rao studies the impact of exposure to EWS peers on the attitudes and behaviour of privileged children in private schools in Delhi. By comparing students in cohorts that were exposed to the EWS provision versus those in immediately older cohorts (who were not), he finds that having poor classmates makes wealthy students more likely to volunteer for charity, more likely to be generous, increases egalitarian preferences, and makes them less likely to discriminate against poor children. While he finds a small negative effect on test scores in English, there are none in Maths and Hindi.
Taken together, these results suggest that including EWS students in private schools is likely to improve equality in educational access, at limited or no academic cost to students in private schools, while improving pro-social preferences among wealthy students. Combined with evidence that private schools are slightly more effective at improving learning outcomes (at much lower costs per student), the evidence suggests that RTE clause 12 may be one of those rare policy opportunities that can increase equity as well as efficiency, and also do so at lower cost than the status quo (since the reimbursements to private schools are capped at the per-child spending in public schools).
However, realizing the full potential of RTE clause 12 will crucially depend on design and implementation details. Some key implementation considerations are listed below:
Regulation of private schools and criteria for recognition
Multiple research studies in India (including by Abhijeet Singh and Geeta Gandhi Kingdon) show that the criteria currently being used to determine recognition of private schools (physical infrastructure, teacher qualifications, and teacher salaries) are not significant predictors of school effectiveness. On average, private schools are able to more than make up for lower formal qualifications of teachers (relative to public schools) with greater time on task, lower teacher absence, greater teaching effort, and significantly smaller pupil-teacher ratios (enabled by lower teacher salaries). Overall, schools (that have to satisfy parents) are in a better position than bureaucrats to decide on the optimal combination of teacher quality and quantity. For instance, it may be optimal to have more qualified subject teachers in higher classes, while supplementing teachers in lower classes with less-qualified teaching assistants to provide more individual attention to younger children.
Evidence suggests that parents actively weigh and evaluate schooling options, and so the focus of regulation should be on empowering parents with the tools to make better informed choices and not on input mandates for schools that are uncorrelated with quality. In particular, it will be counterproductive to shut down schools for not meeting one-size-fits-all input mandates that are poor predictors of actual school effectiveness. Instead a better approach to regulation would be to require all private schools to meet physical safety norms and give them full freedom to make operational decisions on input use as they see fit, subject to making full and audited disclosure of all inputs (including teacher qualifications), and student outcomes. However, since public money will be provided to these schools, it may make sense to require a minimum period of successful operation (say three years) before implementing the EWS quota and reimbursement to discourage fly-by-night operators from being eligible for public funds.
Child-tracking system and payment flows
Efficient implementation of RTE clause 12 will need a simple child-tracking system that can assign a unique identifier (ID) to each child, document their eligibility for the EWS category as per the state’s rules, and verify that a child is only enrolled in one school.
With such a system in place, the government can also ensure prompt payment to schools for the children enrolled under the EWS quota. Field research suggests that in most cases (except perhaps in the most exclusive schools) private schools are more than happy to enroll EWS children if they can be assured prompt and reliable payment of fees. If anything, the schools in our fieldwork in Andhra Pradesh seem to go the extra mile to accommodate the needs of EWS children because they lose the payments associated with these children if they choose to leave the school. Thus, ensuring timely payments will be essential to making sure that the EWS children are valued and integrated into the private schools they attend.
Who should get EWS seats in private schools?
Both theoretical and empirical research suggests that private schools should not be allowed to cherry-pick the children whose fees will be paid by the government. It is essential that private schools should compete for these students on the basis of their ability to add value as opposed to their ability to screen out educationally weaker children. One way to do this is to implement a transparent system-level lottery for allocating children to EWS places (see details below).
A simple implementation protocol
Effective implementation of clause 12 can be done by following a simple three-step procedure.
First, require all private schools to provide audited enrolment and fee data to the concerned local government. This information will determine both the number of places under the EWS quota and the rate of reimbursement. To minimize additional expenditures by EWS parents, the school fees should be all-inclusive to the extent possible (including books, uniforms, and all fees) and schools should be responsible for providing books and uniforms to EWS students.
Second, EWS parents (based on eligibility determined and verified by the government) should rank schools (private and government) as per their preference ordering. A neighbourhood criterion is not needed because, in practice, parents strongly prefer schools that are nearby and are likely to prefer these schools in any case. Needing to verify the locations of households will create unnecessary administrative bottlenecks and rent-seeking with no gains on average to either students or schools. Also, given that better schools often set up in richer localities, a neighbourhood criterion might actually reduce opportunities for the poorest children.
Third, the concerned government should conduct a centralized, computerized lottery whereby each EWS applicant gets a lottery rank and EWS quota spots in schools are filled as per the precedence ordering established by the lottery rank. Students will be allotted schools in descending order of their lottery rank, and are assigned to their highest-ranked private school that still has open EWS places when their turn arrives (or the highest-ranked government school if the private schools they ranked above have filled up their EWS places).
Overall, implementation of clause 12 should be seen as a system-level concern as opposed to a school-level compliance issue, and the procedure outlined above provides a transparent way of doing so.
Transforming school education in India through clause 12
The fundamental challenge in the design of high-performing and inclusive school systems is the following: Public schools are by definition inclusive, and cannot turn away anybody. However, they are plagued by weak governance and accountability, and a poor track record of converting spending to outcomes. Private schools typically have better management and are accountable to parents, but are typically not inclusive because they only admit students with the ability to pay. RTE clause 12 is a wonderful opportunity to design an education system that can leverage the strengths of both public and private provision while mitigating the weaknesses of the other.
A well-implemented clause 12 has the potential to transform school education in India by: (a) reducing socioeconomic stratification in schools, (b) empowering EWS children with more schooling choices and options, (c) increasing pro-social preferences and behaviour among wealthy children, (d) encouraging entry and expansion of higher-quality private schools catering to EWS students (since the government will pay the fees), and (e) forcing government schools to improve their quality since their monopoly power over the captive demographic of EWS children who cannot afford to pay private school fees will be reduced. The first three features could contribute to improving equity and social integration, while the last two could contribute to an improvement in quality in both public and private schools.
While the history of education inequality in India is poignantly captured in the parable of Arjuna and Eklavya, there is also the optimistic narrative of Krishna and Sudama studying side by side and forming a lifelong bond of friendship despite their differing economic circumstances. A well-designed and implemented RTE clause 12 can make an important contribution towards changing the parable that best represents schooling in India.
Karthik Muralidharan is an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego.
This is the last of a two-part series.
For the first part, go to: A renewed model of education
Published with permission from Ideas for India (www.ideasforindia.in), a public policy portal.

For us, without us

For us, without us

Amba Salelkar | January 28, 2014 03:45
A clean and accountable government is not and cannot be an end in itself.

Summary

In the hurry to pass the disabilities bill, its flaws have been buried.

The anti-politics of the original movement haunts the party and government.
One of the most inexplicable things about the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is the incredible perceived public pressure to introduce the bill in the next, and for this Lok Sabha, last, session of Parliament. Many of us who refused to join the clamour did so on the grounds that we did not know what changes had been made to the bill since its 2012 avatar (not to say that the 2012 draft was perfect) and that we feared for the worst. Judging by the copy of the bill that has been released, our fears were not unfounded.
The bill, which sets out to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), gets most things wrong — including the definition of persons with disabilities — and is sloppily drafted. Almost every principle of the UNCRPD, which India ratified without reservations, has either been diluted or violated outright by this bill — be it the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to independent living, the right to inclusive education or the right to political participation.
One of the most important rights the UNCRPD guarantees is that of full legal capacity to all persons with disabilities. At present in India, the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act (NTA), 2009, creates a presumption that persons with cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation or multiple disabilities require a guardian to function. The Mental Health Act, 1987, also provides for the appointment of a guardian for a person found to be “mentally ill” and incapable of handling their own assets.
The UNCRPD mandates that persons with disabilities have the right to be recognised as persons before the law, and enjoy the same legal capacity as others in all aspects of life. Neither of these mandates is reflected in the bill. Though persons with disabilities are granted the right to own or inherit property, control their financial affairs and obtain access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, there is no effective manner of realising these rights and no provision for safeguards whatsoever.

In any case, these provisions only apply to persons who have legal capacity, and there are exclusions to this, perhaps unprecedented in Indian law. There is no shift from substituted decision-making to supported decision-making. The “mentally ill” who are unable to take care of themselves or make legally binding decisions will have all decisions taken on their behalf by guardians. The position of persons governed under the NTA does not change at all. And then, more categories of persons with disabilities may have their legal capacity threatened. The bill creates the category of persons with “high support needs”. Any person with more than 40 per cent of a disability and who needs “intensive support, physical, psychological and otherwise,… for activities of daily living; independent and informed decision-making; accessing facilities and participating in all areas of life including education; employment; family and community life; and treatment and therapy” is included in this category — effectively all persons with over 40 per cent disabilities. An assessment board gets to take decisions on the nature of “support” to be given to these persons, with no obligation to consult the person concerned. The scope of “support” is not defined under the bill, which means it could include guardianship or even institutionalisation, neither of which are barred.

Undoubtedly, the bill opens up various opportunities — there are incentives for the private sector to accommodate persons with disabilities, and with that will come requirements for training the persons who are employed, sensitising other staff members and making workplaces accessible. These measures are beneficial to many. However, is it worth shutting the door on discussions in order to — quoting the Centre for Advocacy in Mental Health — “secure maximum rights for maximum people with disabilities; and lay to rest the original inclusive concern about all rights for all persons with disabilities”? One could possibly argue that other concerns could be addressed in the form of amendments at a later stage — but these amendments would be fragmented discussions, running contrary to the cross-disability movement that the drafting of the bill and the UNCRPD have come to symbolise. Like charity, inclusion starts from home.

For a flailing government trying its best to play to the gallery, enacting a “social welfare” legislation like the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is a marvellous opportunity. Something as serious as an all-encompassing legislation for all persons with all disabilities deserves more than to be reduced to a bullet point on an election poster.

The writer is an advocate, and fellow, Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability Law and Policy, Chennai 
express@expressindia.com

Lawyer father takes on Jung's nursery rules 'on behalf of daughter, aged three'

Lawyer father takes on Jung's nursery rules 'on behalf of daughter, aged three'

Najeeb Jung's nursery admission guidelines will have to battle it out with a three-year-old girl whose father has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against the Lieutenant-Governor's directives.
Dheeraj Kumar Singh, a Delhi-based lawyer, stated in his petition that he is taking up the cudgels on behalf of his daughter, who is seeking admission to nursery class in this academic session.
According to Singh, the notifications issued by the LG in December last year, through an amendment to the rules of the Delhi School Education Act, provide undue powers to special private schools - like Sanskriti School - by granting them an unfettered and unrestricted right to reserve seats for the wards of specific government services, and more particularly All India Services.

Sanskriti's reservation policy leaves only 14 out of 140 seats for applicants in the general category
The High Court is likely to take the matter up for hearing on Tuesday.
The plea claims that the amendment was necessitated to provide legal sanctity to the admission procedure adopted by schools like Sanskriti School at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
The plea also makes Sanskriti School a party in the matter.
"The Sanskriti School has reserved 60 per cent of the sea ts for All India and Central Services belonging to Group A, selected through Civil Services Examination and Serving Officers of Defence Services. Its reservation policy leaves only 14 out of 140 seats for the general category which shall be further reduced, as five per cent seats to be allocated to girl child are to be culled out from the share of the general category and civil services combined. The 60 per cent of the seats are reserved for such children who are already among the most privileged class and admittedly need no reservation," the plea said.
"The mere fact that the school is being managed by the spouses of senior government officers, headed by the wife of the Cabinet secretary, government of India, does not grant it the unrestricted right to reserve a huge chunk of seats for their own wards," the plea contended.
Clause 14(d) (iv) of the Amendment order as per the new notification says that under the heading 'Schools set up for specific government services like Armed Forces/Paramilitary Forces/Central Services/All India Services' have an unbridled right to reserve seats, though in a transparent manner.

Lack of Awareness About RTE Act Keeping Disadvantaged Kids Out of Private Schools: Survey

Lack of Awareness About RTE Act Keeping Disadvantaged Kids Out of Private Schools: Survey

Published: 28th January 2014 09:51 PM
Last Updated: 28th January 2014 09:51 PM
Only 50 per cent of the 35,000 seats reserved in private schools for children belonging to disadvantaged groups and the economically weaker sections were filled last year in the national capital, a survey done by an NGO has found.           
The main reason for the above was a lack of awareness among parents about the Right to Education Act, which stipulates that private schools shall reserve 25 per cent of their seats at the entry level for children belonging to 'disadvantaged groups' and 'weaker sections', found the survey which was conducted last year in November by NGO Indus Action.           
According to the survey, only 3 per cent of the parents were aware of the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.        
The NGO today held a workshop for 70 AAP volunteers from across Delhi as part of the party's initiative to identify families from the economically weaker sections (EWS) and inform them about the RTE Act. The NGO also provided training on how to approach schools seeking entrance with nursery and school admissions currently underway in the city.        
"Lack of awareness about the law and difficulty in obtaining the necessary certificates from government authorities are the major roadblocks due to which around 1.5 lakh children struggle to get admission in private schools every year," said programme manager Aniket Doegar of Indus Action.      
Even if some families manage to overcome the above hurdles, the schools refuse to accept their forms, which is again against the law, Doegar added.         
According to the Delhi government's education coordinator, Amit Mishra, the initiative has been taken to help children belonging to EWS get admission in recognised private schools.        
"As per the initiative, these volunteers will go from door to door and educate EWS families on how to use the provisions of the RTE Act" to ensure that their children get admission in private schools, Mishra said.

Bharti, Adani and IL&FS among educationalists qualified to set up PPP schools

Last year, HRD ministry had invited applications from private sector for construction of 459 schools
 
, and IL&FS and Technology are among 127 educational institutions that have been qualified by the development (HRD) ministry to partner the government in constructing 459 model under the public-private partnership mode.

The government will make the final selection through bidding later.

Last year, the ministry had invited applications from the private sector for the construction of 459 schools. According to the model, the government will fund the students it sponsors while the private sector players will acquire land, construct infrastructure and appoint staff and select students. The schools will have to admit 40% of the students from under-privileged sections of the society and the Centre will pay their schooling costs.

The schools are meanwhile allowed to fix the fee for the remaining 60% students, but cannot admit more than 1,500 such students according to the plan. The Central government will reimburse close to Rs.22,000 annually for each sponsored student. This reimbursement would annually increase by 5%.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the initiative to set up 6,000 model schools, one in each block, in his Independence Day address in 2007. The schools will be named Rashtriya Adarsh Vidyalaya and are to be affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

“The whole idea is that the government would spend what it would have otherwise spent on them in a public school. The same school can charge different fee for other students. The whole idea is that if you have to attract students for private schools, you have to maintain standard. In that case, other students will also benefit”, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of Planning commission, had earlier told Business Standard.

“The government will be paying from the existing budget and has not made any special separate budget for the same. We are not paying for the capital payment”, Ahluwalia added.

Last week, The Annual status of Education report (ASER), published by Delhi based NGO, Pratham had said that the quality of school children in the country remains poor despite major push from the government to improve education in the country. According to another report last year, states such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand continue to have poor school infrastructure and enrolment in the primary school level.

“At the all India level, for standard III, the proportion of children able to read at least a Std I level text has risen slightly from 38.8% in 2012 to 40.2% in 2013 and is driven by improvements among private school children. The proportion of children in Std. V who can read a Std. II level text remains the same since 2012 at 47%”, the ASER survey said.

India’s education sector has been widely criticized for the lack of imparting quality education and the HRD ministry has been looking at means including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to improve quality of learning in schools.

Govt shortlists five for post of NCPCR members



The Women and Child Development Ministry has shortlisted five persons for nomination against vacant positions of members to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

A three-member selection panel headed by Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath shortlisted five persons-- Jarjum Ete, Deepika Shrivastava, Preet Verma, Bhuwan Ribhu and Yogesh Dube for the positions left vacant since November last year.

In compliance with the orders of High , the Ministry today put up the particulars of selection committee members as well as of the shortlisted candidates together with their qualifications, experience and expertise on its website.

The selection committee apart from having Tirath, as its chairperson, includes member , Secretary of WCD and expert Shyama Chona, an official statement said.

The panel has sought objections or suggestions from the general public with regard to the nominated candidates before February 26.

The panel has shortlisted Jarjum Ete, presently serving as the president of Indian Council of Child Welfare for Arunchal Pradesh unit.

Ete, who has spearheaded several campaigns, was also the first chairman of Arunachal Pradesh Commission for women which was established in 2005 and worked there till early 2008. She was also the first woman president of Galo Welfare Society.

Deepika Shrivastava, presently working as the officer on special duty (Women, child development and Nutrition) , has contributed to the formulation of strategy recommendations presented for the consideration of the PM's national council on country's nutrition challenges in 2010.

Preet Verma has been the advisor to chairperson of the NCPCR till now and has also worked as National Professional officer in education in child labour in international Labour organisation.

She has worked as Child labour and Women labour Director in the Ministry of Labour and Employment between 1997 & 2002.

Bhuwan Ribhu, an acitivist and advocate is responsible for filing various PILs for protection of child rights and laws relating to children, including Supreme Court of India - Bachpan Bachao Andolan vs Union of India and others.

Youth Congress to help in implementation of RTE Act

Youth Congress to help in implementation of RTE Act

Staff Correspondent
District president of the Youth Congress A. Vasant Kumar addressing a press conference in Raichur on Monday.— PHOTO: SANTOSH SAGAR
As part of a Statewide initiative by the Youth Congress, the Raichur unit of the organisation has decided to help parents and officials of the Education Department implement the Right To Education (RTE) Act.
District president of the Youth Congress A. Vasant Kumar announced this at a press conference here on Monday.
“We will collect data pertaining to available seats under RTE in each school across the district. We will give information to the parents about free and compulsory education and help them get seats for their children under the Act. If any school denies admission under the Act, we will lodge a complaint with the Block Education Officer (BEO) and Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) concerned,” he said.
State Youth Congress general secretary M.D. Ismail said the campaign would continue for the next month.
“On one hand, many parents who are unable to get their children educated in good private schools owing to their poor economic situation, are not aware of the Act and its provisions. On the other hand, managements of private schools are reluctant to implement the Act, which has been passed for the benefit of economically weaker sections. We will educate parents and force managements to admit poor students under the Act,” he said.
Members of the organisation Afsar Husein, Mariswamy, Imran, Hariprasad, Amboji and Praveen were present.
Nursery admissions: Anxious parents want AAP’s helpline to improve by Pallavi Polanki Jan 26, 2014 #Arvind Kejriwal #Delhi #Delhi government #Nursery admission helpline #Nursery Admissions #WhatNext inShare 5 CommentsEmailPrint New Delhi: Even though anxious parents have been flooding the much-needed helpline for nursery admissions launched by the Delhi government with queries and complaints, many feel that the staff at helpline is not sufficiently equipped with information to deal with their grievances effectively. The helpline, launched by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on January 13, has so far received 1361 calls and registered 864 complaints. While, on one hand, getting connected to the staff at the helpline was difficult because of the long queue of callers, on the other hand, in the event they did get through the staff did not always have all the information to handle to their complaints, say parents. Representational image. Reuters Representational image. Reuters “Even though the nursery admission guidelines don’t say that medical certificates are compulsory, a school in East Delhi was insisting on it. So I called the helpline to complain. But I was told that if the school was asking for it, I should submit it. But I tried to tell them that the guidelines made no mention of medical certificates and that there was rule making it compulsory, but they didn’t agree. I feel that the staff is not well-informed about the rules and this is creating problems,” said Jyoti Kukreja, a resident of Kalyani Nagar. Thomas Anthony, member of Joint Action for Social Help (JOSH), a voluntary group that runs an RTE project, also said that his experience of calling the helpline left him dissatisfied. “After trying to call them multiple times, I was able to get through to them. And two, the level of awareness and expertise of the staff at helpline is disappointing.” Anthony, however, did succeed in registering his complaint. And the following day, he received a call from education department. “I got a call from the education department from an official. He told me that he would talk to the administration of the concerned schools about my complaint and get back to me. That is the status as of now.” Posts by parents on online admissions portals also spoke of frustrating experiences with the helpline. One post (from January 16 on schooladmissions.in) read: “I did call to complain, but the executive said after 15 minutes of putting me on hold that there is a technical problem, please call later.” (post edited for clarity). Another parent wrote (on January 17) “Agree with you...it happened with me too....do you have any idea few schools in Delhi are selling the forms?” Responding to complaints of long waiting periods to speak to helpline staff, Amit Mishra, an education coordinator appointed by Education Minsiter Manish Sisodia, said, “That is bound to happen as with any call centre. I try the helpline a couple of times a day to check and there are times when I too don’t get connected. But most of times I get connected.” And on the more serious complaint about staff at the helpline not being equipped to handle grievances, Mishra said, “The nursery guidelines are available with everyone. But sometimes, parents ask questions that are not within the purview of the guidelines. For example, many parents complained that schools were refusing to give application forms because their child exceeded the upper age-limit. While the nursery guidelines specify a lower age-limit, there is no upper-age limit. In such cases, where information is not specified in the guidelines, the staff are sometimes are unable to answer the queries.” Asked how complaints once registered were resolved, he said, “The education officer of the concerned zone is immediately informed about the complaint. The education officer then calls up the principal of the school in question to resolve the problem.” Of the 864 complaints received, Mishra said 230 were to do with nursery admission guidelines. And of those, he said, 140 had been resolved. “The rest were complaints that were not related to the guidelines and were dealt with by the helpline staff itself. We can only take action against those who are flouting the guidelines,” he said. The maximum number complaints, the education coordinator said, were to do with schools not giving forms to parents applying in the EWS (economically weaker section) category. “The next biggest category of complaints was to do with schools arbitrarily fixing the upper age limit, followed by complaints against schools for not accepting forms of children from EWS category and finally schools charging more than permitted Rs 25 for registration.”

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/nursery-admissions-anxious-parents-want-aaps-helpline-to-improve-1359857.html?utm_source=ref_article

KVs set to go in for 5-day weeks for Stds I-V



Students of classes I to V at Kendriya Vidyalaya schools could have five-day weeks from the coming academic session.

A decision in this regard is expected to be taken at the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan Board meeting here tomorrow after a committee set up to look into the issue favoured such a move.

The move would be in keeping with the provisions of the RTE Act which has sought 200 working days for classes I to V and 220 days for classes VI to VIII, sources said.

"There is a strong feeling among teachers, parents and students about having five working days," they said.

Students can have enough time for self-based learning and get time in hand to pursue hobbies, the committee has said.

The move could also help schools reduce energy consumption, it added.

The RTE Act also mandates 800 instructional hours per academic year for Stds I to V and 1,000 instructional hours per academic year for sixth to eighth classes.

It also says that the minimum number of working hours per week for a teacher should be 45. This includes both teaching and preparation time.

With the introduction of a five-day week, the number of school days will come down from 234 to 207 for classes I to V, sources added.

RTE admissions to start from Feb 15

RTE admissions to start from Feb 15


MUMBAI: Confusion surrounding admissions as per the Right to Education (RTE) Act might get worse with the education department's latest announcement. After some flip-flops, the director of primary education has announced that the entry-level admissions will start across the state on February 15.

Mahavir Mane, director of primary education in the state, told TOI on Monday, "We are issuing a notification next month about the start of RTE admission. It will start from February 15. In Mumbai and Pune, we will conduct admissions online on a trial basis." He said schools will get a clear picture once they receive the circular.

In December, the education department had sent a circular to schools, making it clear that they should not conduct entry-level admission before April 2014. The department had also stated that schools will have to conduct RTE admissions online as per the schedule given by the education department. But this circular was cancelled immediately and it was announced that online admissions will take place for the 2015-16 session.

"This time, online admissions will be conducted on a trial basis only, so schools shouldn't worry," added Mane. But officials from the Mumbai division education department said conducting online admissions this year won't be possible because of lack of training and non-availability of officers.

HC seeks to know steps for implementation of RTE

HC seeks to know steps for implementation of RTE

Last Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013, 23:47
  
Mumbai: Expressing concern over the non-implementation of the 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act' (RTE), the Bombay High Court on Thursday directed Maharashtra government to explain what steps it has taken to ensure free education for children till class eighth.

The division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak directed the secretary, Education Department, to file an affidavit by January 20 giving details of the steps taken by the government for implementing RTE.

The bench was hearing a petition filed Brihanmumbai Mahapalika Shikshak Sabha, a union of teachers working in municipal schools, seeking direction to the government and BMC to implement RTE in all aided and unaided schools in the state.

According to the petition, students of BMC and other schools are entitled to free and compulsory education upto class eighth in pursuance of section 3 of RTE Act.

Petitioner's lawyer Rajiv Patil argued that as of now BMC issues School Leaving Certificate to students of Class 4 and 7. These children are likely to go out of the education system and not come back once they take the LC and thus deprived of further free education of class 8, Patil said.

The BMC runs 1,174 schools and the RTE would be applicable to more than 2.27 lakh students who are at present studying in class 4 and 7, the petition claimed.

Anil Sakhare, counsel for the BMC, submitted an affidavit filed by Ravindra Bhise (education officer), which stated that they have sent a proposal on October 8, 2012 to the government for opening new classes, sanctioning of new teachers posts and provision of financial aid which is still pending approval.

PTI

Just 17 pvt schools give info on EWS admissions

Just 17 pvt schools give info on EWS admissions

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | April 13, 2013 02:39

Summary

It seems that private unaided schools of the city are not at all interested in adhering to directions of the UT Education department as by Friday only 17 schools out of total 38 submitted information pertaining to admissions of students belonging to economic weaker section (EWS) category and number of seats lying vacant.
Moreover,the office of the District Education Officer (DEO) has sent a fresh notice to the heads of all private schools directing them not to convert the vacant seats reserved for the students of EWS and disadvantaged group under RTE Act,2009 to general category if no application is pending at least for three weeks and till further orders. “This became imperative in the light of the orders issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court hearing three petitions”,read the order.
The department had asked the schools to provide the information till Friday 2.00 pm,but many failed to submit. Sources informed that Ryan International School,Sector 49 informed the education department that it has 12 seats for EWS category and all are filled. Similarly,Modern Ways Model School,Sector 29 has six seats for the EWS students and managed to fill four seats while First Step School,Sector 26 managed to fill three seats out of total six seats for the EWS category.
One of the officers said that the department is waiting for the details from St Kabir Public School,Sector 26 as they have 22 seats for the EWS students.
Over 400 seats are lying vacant under the aforementioned quota and just 227 applications were submitted by the EWS families.
National Students Union of India (NSUI),one of the students outfits on the Panjab University (PU),is also working at its level to get the RTE Act implemented across all the private schools and its affiliates had also met the education department authorities as well.
Recently,the court ruled that admission shall first be offered to eligible students belonging to EWS and disadvantaged group residing within 1 km of specific schools. In case,the vacancies remain unfilled,students residing within 3 kms of the schools shall be admitted. If there are still vacancies,then admission shall be offered to other students residing within 6 kms and it cleared that students residing beyond 6 kms shall be admitted only in case vacancies remain unfilled.

99% special children like regular school

99% special children like regular school

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi | April 03, 2013 10:12

Summary

But 57% teachers don't understand their needs,says NCERT study

A nationwide study by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to examine the enrolment,access and retention of children with disabilities (CWD) has revealed that while 99 per cent of these children liked attending regular schools,57 per cent teachers were not trained to understand their special needs.
The study has found that special needs of children with mental illnesses were “neither being identified nor being addressed seriously”.
A vast majority of teachers (88.1%) could say nothing on how to meet the special educational needs of disabled children in their classrooms. Only 35.1% could identify the needs of students with disabilities.
More than half of all teachers interviewed gave no response to questions on how they included disabled children in their day-to-day teaching.
The study evaluated the implementation of the centrally sponsored Inclusive Education of the Disabled at the Secondary Stage (IEDSS) scheme in 27 states and union territories at the secondary and senior secondary levels.
At the root of the problem is state apathy and the resultant lack of funds and training. Only 12 states have trained general teachers in special needs,and only three of these states have offered this training for five days or longer. Fifty-seven per cent of teachers have received no training.
Ironically,children with disabilities expressed a strong desire for inclusive schooling with special attention. Nearly every student with disability (99%) liked going to school; nearly half (44.5%) said they needed teachers to give them special attention.
Students also expressed the need for better adapted toilets and playgrounds,indoor sports rooms and better seating facilities. They wanted the teacher to speak louder and interact more with them.
IEDSS aims to help disabled students — especially girl students — to complete secondary school in an inclusive environment. Over the past few years,enrolment levels of girls with disabilities has fallen everywhere except in Manipur. Average enrolment in the surveyed states and UTs fell from 43.57% in 2009-10 to 40.21% in 2012-13. In Gujarat,Haryana,Madhya Pradesh,Nagaland,Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu,the enrolment of disabled girls has been consistently under 40%.
Overall enrolment of children with disabilities has increased in 13 states and UTs; it has fallen in three. Five states tracking dropout rates have showed an increase in the rate.
The study has recommended that enrolment of girls with special needs be accorded top priority; dropout rates of these students at the elementary level be arrested; awareness and availability of assistive aids be improved; service and pre-service teacher training be restructured,and recruitment policies be geared towards appointing special educators.
The study has also suggested a more flexible curriculum with space for creative arts and multimedia,and hostel facilities for children with severe physical disabilities. The issuing of disability certificates should be facilitated,and attempts made to ensure that most CWDs are enrolled in regular schools rather than being schooled at home.

Define neighbourhood under RTE’

Define neighbourhood under RTE’

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | April 10, 2013 02:11

Summary

High court: Asks Chandigarh,Punjab and Haryana to take a look at Delhi govt rules.

To ensure that schools do not escape their responsibility of admitting 25 percent students belonging to weaker section of society,the Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday ordered that the concept of “neighbourhood” enshrined under the Right to Education (RTE) Act be “defined”.
The RTE Act,in Section 12,brings up the concept of ‘neighbourhoods’,but as per the court fails to define it.
Directions have been issued to Chandigarh,Punjab and Haryana to come up with a clear definition.
Laying down guidelines,the court ruled,“…admission shall first be offered to eligible students belonging to EWS and disadvantaged group residing within 1 km of specific schools. In case,the vacancies remain unfilled,students residing within 3 kms of the schools shall be admitted. If there are still vacancies,then admission shall be offered to other students residing within 6 kms.”
The order further reads,“…Students residing beyond 6 kms shall be admitted only in case vacancies remain unfilled”. The directions were passed by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on a bunch of petitions concerning hike in education fees and related issues.
Holding that it becomes “incumbent” upon the authorities to frame the rules to define neighbourhood,the court referred to such rules framed by Delhi government,such as Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education,Rules 2010.
The Court held: “…it is apparent that though there may be endeavour to fulfil mandatory requirements,the fact remains that RTE provisions have yet to be turned into reality. Even when some children belonging to EWS are given admission,many seats in these schools meant for EWS go unfilled”.
Delhi government rules prescribe the limit of neighbourhood in respect of children in classes-I to V as within walking distance of 1 km and in respect of children in classes VI to VIII as within 3 kms.
“If similar rules are made by Punjab,Haryana and Chandigarh,children in neighbourhood of a particular school can always have access to schools for admission and the schools can also be compelled to admit those students”,the order reads,adding: “…still it may not be necessary to confine admission only to those children living in the neighbourhood in as much as it is the bounden duty of all the concerned to ensure that the aforesaid provision of the Act is implemented”.

School mapping not complete,RTE for all still a dream

School mapping not complete,RTE for all still a dream

Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | November 06, 2013 02:56

Summary

Education department lists schools,yet to list children to be enrolled in the institutions.

It has been four years since the Right to Education Act came into force,but the basic infrastructure required for achieving necessary standards of education in the city’s government schools is still not in place.
In order to help children overcome social barriers and to ensure that every child goes to school,RTE had mandated that state governments or local authorities undertake school mapping. Authorities were told to ensure that there is a school within a 1-km radius of homes of children in classes I to V and a school in a 3-km radius of those in classes VI to VIII.
It had also directed local authorities to “identify all children,including those in remote areas,children with disabilities,children belonging to disadvantaged groups,children belonging to economically weaker sections” within a year of the rules coming into force.
Besides it was the responsibility of the local authority to maintain “a record of all children,in its jurisdiction through a household survey,from their birth till they attain the age of 14”.
But two years after the rules came into force,none of these have been accomplished. According to data accessed under the Right to Information Act,the Education department did enlist an agency to digitally map schools in Delhi in 2012,but failed to put any mechanism in place to link children who had dropped out,migrants,disabled children and children falling in the 0-6 years old age group to these schools.
“We received a contract to only locate schools,and not to identify children,so that’s exactly what we did. The entire procedure took a fortnight to complete,” Pallavi Singhvi,who coordinated the entire exercise for the department through a firm called Geo Spatial Delhi Limited,said.
Education officials blame technical glitches in digital mapping of schools for not being able to identify children to ensure that they attend school.
“We are still evaluating gaps in the current process. Identifying children is a parallel process,one we are undertaking side by side,” Director (Education) Amit Singla said.
But the Cluster Resource Centre Coordinators (CRCC),officials responsible for identifying children,say they are yet to start with the process.
However,they said they try to admit children who have dropped out into schools in their zone. They are yet to do anything to map children falling in the 0-6 years old group,or children who have never been to school.
Civic officials also admitted to the absence of a coherent plan. “We do not have a consolidated record in place,but we try and work with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan officials to enrol children,” South corporation PRO Mukesh Yadav said.
The civic agencies are yet to chart a plan on school mapping.

RTE has failed to enable the disabled: Study

RTE has failed to enable the disabled: Study

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi | January 27, 2014 01:58
 Summary
The 2012-13 study on children with disabilities had revealed that while 99 per cent of these children liked attending regular schools but 57 per cent of teachers were not trained to understand their special needs.


Three years after the RTE Act came into effect promising free and compulsory education to children aged six to 14 years and special focus on admission and retention of children with disabilities, an NCERT study has found that disabled children in schools across states still face serious infrastructure and pedagogy handicaps.
Apart from absence of ramps and friendly toilets in schools, the larger problem that almost all disabled children face in the classroom is the absence of special teaching material and sensitive trained teachers.
In Gujarat’s Kheda district, a child with locomotor disability said he never leaves his wheelchair due to non-availability of a friendly toilet in his school.
The NCERT report — ‘Status of Implementation of RTE Act in context of disadvantaged children at elementary stage’ — says that “poor infrastructure, non-availability of appropriate furniture for children with disabilities, non-availability of special aids and appliances, poor quality of aids and appliances for children with locomotor disabilities are major challenges in the fulfilment of RTE to these children”.
The study adds that “educational materials for children with disabilities were non-existent in most sample schools. States/ UTs have very limited vision of arranging different types of educational materials for children with various disabilities”.
The 2012-13 study on children with disabilities had revealed that while 99 per cent of these children liked attending regular schools but 57 per cent of teachers were not trained to understand their special needs.
The study was conducted by the NCERT’s department of elementary education in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Jharkhand, Orissa, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and the Union Territories of Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar islands through questionnaires and interviews with school teachers, parents of disabled children and disabled students.
Respondents in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts said there were no Braille books, no assistive devices, no educational materials and no full-time special teachers making it extremely difficult to ensure RTE to children with visual impairments. In Visakhapatnam district, ramps and friendly toilets for children with locomotors disabilities were not appropriate.
Almost all respondents in Almora district of Uttarakhand said their schools did not have facilities and the hilly terrain further complicated their movements. In Orissa, the NCERT study says, there is unhappiness over poor quality of wheelchairs and non-supply of Braille aids despite repeated reminders.
“Wheelchairs and tricycles are supplied to children with locomotors disabilities, though these cannot be used by them due to difficult terrain in Almora district”.
“Special shoes are supplied after one year of assessment, resulting in inappropriate sizes due to growth of feet. Complaint was sent but no satisfactory action was taken,” respondents are quoted in the NCERT study.
In Kerala, children have not been provided teaching-learning materials individually despite the fact that the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has a provision for Rs 3,000 per disabled child per year.
The report notes that functionaries and teachers at state-, district- and block-levels were aware of provisions of the RTE Act to a great extent but “orientation of teachers for RTE (except in Orissa) did not include information about disadvantaged and children with disabilities”.
In Jharkhand, respondents pointed out how “there were no special teachers at school level to help children with disabilities; teachers have not been trained to teach children with disabilities; and parents do not bring their children with disabilities to school regularly”.
Sixteen of 25 head teachers/teachers in four districts of Gujarat maintained that it was extremely difficult to teach children with severe mental challenges and multiple disabilities in the classroom.
In Andhra Pradesh, teachers said that “it is difficult to ensure RTE to children with mental disabilities due to behaviour problems and very limited ability to learn. They maintained that these children should be sent to special schools. Respondents in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts said there were no Braille books, no assistive devices, no educational materials and no full-time special teachers”.
The report notes that in Kerala “almost all respondents in both the districts said they encountered difficulties in teaching different categories of children with disabilities. They said that behaviour problem of children with mental disabilities (challenges) makes it difficult to manage classroom teaching. These teachers do not have any special training and they find themselves helpless in dealing with children with mental challenges. Two of the teachers said that in a class of 50 children, it is extremely difficult to pay attention to children with a mental challenge and they try to help these children by explaining to them personally”.

RTE training for DDPIs mooted

RTE training for DDPIs mooted

Bangalore, Dec 12, 2013, DHNS:
 The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has proposed a training programme for deputy directors of public instruction (DDPIs) and nodal officers for Right to Education Act to educate them about the landmark legislation.

Umesh Aradhya, chairperson, KSCPCR, said these officials would, in turn, train the taluk and gram panchayat level officials as well as the members of the school development and monitoring committees. The objective of the training is to spread awareness about RTE Act at the grassroots level. The Commission will appoint a team of experts in the field of law to conduct the training.

“It has come to our notice that there are hardly any complaints from rural areas regarding admissions under RTE quota. A majority of the complaints are from cities,” Aradhya said. He said a number of RTE quota seats were not being filled up due to lack of awareness on the facility.

According to the proposal, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will finance the training whereas the Commission will provide the resource persons. “The RTE Act is not only about 25 per cent quota. There are a number of aspects of the legislation that people do not know. This initiative will hopefully make people aware of such provisions,” Aradhya added.

Bombay High Court seeks to know steps for implementation of RTE

Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 23:33 IST | Agency: PTI
Expressing concern over the non-implementation of the 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act' (RTE), the Bombay High Court today directed Maharashtra government to explain what steps it has taken to ensure free education for children till class eighth.
The division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak directed the secretary, Education Department, to file an affidavit by January 20 giving details of the steps taken by the government for implementing RTE.
The bench was hearing a petition filed Brihanmumbai Mahapalika Shikshak Sabha, a union of teachers working in municipal schools, seeking direction to the government and BMC to implement RTE in all aided and unaided schools in the state.
According to the petition, students of BMC and other schools are entitled to free and compulsory education upto class eighth in pursuance of section 3 of RTE Act.
Petitioner's lawyer Rajiv Patil argued that as of now BMC issues School Leaving Certificate to students of Class 4 and 7. These children are likely to go out of the education system and not come back once they take the LC and thus deprived of further free education of class 8, Patil said.
The BMC runs 1,174 schools and the RTE would be applicable to more than 2.27 lakh students who are at present studying in class 4 and 7, the petition claimed.
Anil Sakhare, counsel for the BMC, submitted an affidavit filed by Ravindra Bhise (education officer), which stated that they have sent a proposal on October 8, 2012 to the government for opening new classes, sanctioning of new teachers posts and provision of financial aid which is still pending approval.

‘Rules framed under RTE Act detrimental to interests of students’

‘Rules framed under RTE Act detrimental to interests of students’

Staff Reporter

The Department of School Education has framed the rules for implementing the Right To Education Act in a manner that is detrimental to the interests of students from economically weaker and disadvantaged sections, who are the intended beneficiaries of this landmark legislation, charges Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s youth wing secretary V. Easwaran.
The Department had refused to upload on to its website the number of vacant seats in private schools under the RTE Act quota. Such seats must not be filled by other candidates for up to six months. Further, the Department has also stated that students admitted under this Act will not be entitled to receive Government incentives such as free uniforms, notebooks and laptops.
The Department of School Education gave these replies in its response to a Right To Information application filed by Mr. Easwaran.
If the information on vacant seats were not provided, how would the parents know which school to approach, he questioned.
Also, the students admitted in private schools under the quota would be from the weaker and disadvantaged students.
As such, denying them the government incentives was an unfair decision. “The Act says orphans must be given preference in admission. How will these students get books and uniforms if the government refuses to provide?”
Further, the RTE Act mandated private schools to set aside 25 per cent of their total seats for the RTE Act quota.
Tamil Nadu had not framed any rules on how the RTE Act quota must be filled up. While ten categories were eligible to apply, there was no measure to prevent any single group from monopolising the admissions. The neighbouring States of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have come out with a “quota within the quota” but the TN Department of School Education had said that a similar move was not under consideration.
Also, even though the Department had stated that private schools would be reimbursed the fees of students admitted under RTE Act quota by September and March every academic year, no funds have been released for the last two years in which the RTE Act was being implemented. Without the reimbursement, private schools would be reluctant to admit students in the coming years, he added.
“A majority of the rules framed under the RTE Act in Tamil Nadu are detrimental to the interests of the students from weaker sections. The Government must consider taking proactive steps to ensure the benefits of this legislation reached all sections of the society,” Mr. Easwaran said.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bombay High Court seeks to know steps for implementation of RTE

Bombay High Court seeks to know steps for implementation of RTE

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013, 23:33 IST | Agency: PTI
Expressing concern over the non-implementation of the 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act' (RTE), the Bombay High Court today directed Maharashtra government to explain what steps it has taken to ensure free education for children till class eighth.
The division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak directed the secretary, Education Department, to file an affidavit by January 20 giving details of the steps taken by the government for implementing RTE.
The bench was hearing a petition filed Brihanmumbai Mahapalika Shikshak Sabha, a union of teachers working in municipal schools, seeking direction to the government and BMC to implement RTE in all aided and unaided schools in the state.
According to the petition, students of BMC and other schools are entitled to free and compulsory education upto class eighth in pursuance of section 3 of RTE Act.
Petitioner's lawyer Rajiv Patil argued that as of now BMC issues School Leaving Certificate to students of Class 4 and 7. These children are likely to go out of the education system and not come back once they take the LC and thus deprived of further free education of class 8, Patil said.
The BMC runs 1,174 schools and the RTE would be applicable to more than 2.27 lakh students who are at present studying in class 4 and 7, the petition claimed.
Anil Sakhare, counsel for the BMC, submitted an affidavit filed by Ravindra Bhise (education officer), which stated that they have sent a proposal on October 8, 2012 to the government for opening new classes, sanctioning of new teachers posts and provision of financial aid which is still pending approval.

Advocacy group demands ouster of primary education director

Advocacy group demands ouster of primary education director


Advocacy forum, Shikshan Hakka Manch, on Tuesday staged a protest outside the office of state Directorate of Education, demanding the ouster of Director of Education (primary) Mahaveer Mane for allegedly failing to implement the RTE Act properly in the state.
"Mane is solely responsible for poor implementation of the RTE Act. His gross negligence and lack of will has resulted in denial of basic educational rights to underprivileged children. The state government should sack him at the earliest, failing which we will intensify our agitation," said Matin Mujawar, President, Shikshan Hakka Manch.
He said over 66 per cent of the seats reserved under the RTE Act for children from economically backward and weaker sections were still lying vacant in the state this year.
"The Directorate of Education has been shielding schools, which are accused of violating RTE Act. This is happening despite subordinate offices after conducting inquiries have recommended action against errant schools. Mane is sitting on such inquiry reports," said Mujawar. Mane was not available for his comment.

RTE implementation slow, only 321 schools seek reserved quota fund

RTE implementation slow, only 321 schools seek reserved quota fund


There are 1,191 private aided and 996 private unaided schools in the district. This reimbursement figure indicates that RTE is yet to be implemented in vast majority of the schools in the district despite claims of improvement by primary education department.
Pune Zilla Parishad had opened a page on their website this year wherein schools could log in as per their District Information System for Education(DISE) code and enter the number of students who were admitted under the reserved quota as per RTE.
"In total, 321 schools have applied for reimbursement. 4,524 students in total have taken admission in entry level classes in these schools as per RTE. Of this, 2,273 students belong to Schedule Caste (SC), 208 to Schedule Tribe (ST), six are physically challenged and 2,037 students belong to economically weaker sections (EWS) of society," said a ZP official.
"This includes schools that have pre-primary classes at the entry level. But as per the RTE Act, reimbursement is not given to students who have been admitted to pre-primary classes. Hence out of 4,524 students, only 1,164 have been admitted to Class 1 which is the entry level class as per RTE Act. And hence reimbursement will be given to 1664 students," said the official. Of the 1,664 students who have got admission, 768 students belong to SC category, 104 to ST category, five are physically challenged and 787 students belong to EWS category. A total of Rs 1,23,77,000 will be reimbursed by the state education department to the schools .
But activists say that this shows the lack of implementation of RTE Act in the district. "As per official figures, Pune had filled 50 per cent of the seats under RTE. But this new figure indicate that RTE has not been implemented as well as we were made to believe. If any school has even one student admitted under RTE, they will file for reimbursement. This is the true figure and this shows the abysmal performance of the education department in implementing RTE," said educational activist Nilesh Borate. "This shows the loopholes in the system. Even if students are admitted to pre-primary classes, there is no reimbursement for these kids. Hence there will be lack of will power in the schools to implement RTE," added Borate.
Mushtakh Shaikh, Education Officer, Pune ZP, said, "The government will most probably pay the schools in two instalments. All schools will get the money before March." He further said, "RTE implementation is good.But many schools have not applied for reimbursement even though they have admitted students under reserved quota norm of RTE."