Monday, January 27, 2014

RTE depriving students of right to food: Panel

RTE depriving students of right to food: Panel

TNN Dec 6, 2013, 11.12AM IST

BHOPAL: Two years after Right to Education Act came into force, 45 per cent seats in private schools in the state reserved for children below poverty line (BPL) are still vacant.
Members of Madhya Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child rights attributed the unavailability of mid-day meal scheme at private schools as a big reason for the vacancies.
MPSCPCR members Vibhanshu Joshi and R H Lata have written to the Union ministry requesting amendments to the Act to ensure right to food for students studying in private schools under RTE Act.
"The flaw is defeating the purpose of both RTE and the Food Security Act. The situation is like, either children get proper education or proper nutrition," Joshi told TOI.
"The condition is same all over the country. If just Madhya Pradesh is taken into consideration, 1.75 lakh seats were reserved for children belonging to BPL families under RTE, but only 95000 seats have been filled," he said.
"Non-availability of mid-day meal is one of the major reasons behind nearly 80,000 seats remaining vacant. For rest of 95,000 children they are being deprived of their right to food as Section 5 (1) (B) of Food Security Act ensures free meals for children studying in government schools, but forgets to mention BPL children studying in private schools under RTE," Joshi said.
This is the situation when RTE is just 2 years old, the numbers are likely to rise in coming years, he said.

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