Thursday, February 27, 2014

SC stays appointment of NCPCR members

SC stays appointment of NCPCR members

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | February 27, 2014 12:49 am
Coming down heavily on the Centre for making appointments to various rights panels a matter of political largesse, the Supreme Court has stayed the appointment of members for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). 
Out of the available six vacancies, the government had shortlisted five members for the child rights panel, currently chaired by Kushal Singh.
A three-member selection panel, headed by Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath, had shortlisted Jarjum Ete, Deepika Shrivastava, Preet Verma, Bhuwan Ribhu and Yogesh Dube for the positions left vacant since last November.
A Bench led by Justice T S Thakur prohibited the government from issuing notification for appointment of members for the NCPCR, after noting there were no norms and guidelines in place for selecting such members, who were being paid out of the public money. The court underlined neither any advertisement had been issued for inviting applications from people at large nor any criteria with respect to a candidates’ eligibility and suitability was laid down.
“Receiving applications only from candidates recommended by Ministers, MPs and other functionaries may not be right… the appointments sought to be made have statutory flavour, and those appointed are remunerated out of the public exchequer. That being so there is no reason why all such persons as are eligible for appointment should not have an opportunity to apply and compete for the same,” said the Bench.
It said that receiving applications from candidates, recommended by people who had no role to play in the process of selection may render the selection process “suspect”.
“Any such recommendations are most likely to influence the selection process in a subtle manner to the prejudice of other candidates who are not resourceful enough to secure such recommendations no matter they are otherwise equally if not more meritorious,” held the Bench.
During a hearing Tuesday, the court asserted that norms and guidelines for selection of candidates should be framed and published so that the entire process of selection was fair, reasonable, objective and transparent. The government sought six weeks’ time for issuing a proper advertisement inviting applications from all eligible candidates, and notifying the guidelines for assessment of the inter se merit of the candidates. The court asked the government to do so within six weeks and then come back to it for lifting the restraint order on appointment.
The controversy travelled to the SC after the Delhi HC quashed the appointment of Yogesh Dube as a NCPCR member, on petitions by NGOs The Association for Development and HAQ: Centre for Child Rights.
PMO to ministers, the recommendations
In 2010, out of 130 applications received by the NCPCR, 3 applications were forwarded from the Prime Minister’s Office and 35 others from Union ministers. 18 recommendations were from political party functionaries (17 of which were from Congress leaders) and 33 from MPs and MLAs. Similarly, 7 recommendations were made by chief ministers and state cabinet ministers and 10 others from the NCPCR itself.
  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lok Sabha polls: Child rights forums urge parties to include children's welfare in manifestos


Lok Sabha polls: Child rights forums urge parties to include children's welfare in manifestos


PUDUCHERRY: Child rights forums in Puducherry have released a children's poll manifesto urging the political parties to evolve their manifestos by taking a cue from their document ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Holistic Approach for People's Empowerment ( Hope), Tamil Nadu Forum for Creche and Child Care Services ( TN Forces), in association with other child rights organizations such as Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Services Society ( PMSSS), Childline and Sathya Special School, have recommended redefining the age of the children in line with the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child and National Child Policy.

The forums want to arrest the declining sex ratio by effectively enforcing the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PCPN & DT) and special policies and schemes.

They have recommended allocation of 3% of the GDP to the Early Childhood Care and Development ( ECCD) to ensure the well-being of the children below six years and 7% for children between seven and 18 years.

The forums insist on bringing children less than six years and children between 14 and 18 years under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education ( RTE) Act, 2009, that ensures enrolment of all children aged between six and 14 years get enrolled in schools and avail quality education. They demand strengthening of the Integrated Child Development Scheme ( ICDS).

The forums want child mortality and morbidity to be reduced. They insisted on declaring the right to primary healthcare for mothers and children as a fundamental right in the Constitution of India and strengthening primary healthcare systems among the urban poor.

They recommended amending the National Food Security Act, 2013 to enhance the protein/fat intake for pregnant mothers and children from 18 to 20 grams to 20 to 25 grams, include services like immunization and health check up as a part of the act and include provisions for supplementary nutrition for children aged between 14 and 18 years.

They also recommended amending the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2012 to abolish all forms of child labour by removing the distinction between hazardous and non-hazardous categories of work for all children less than 18 years.

Schools in a fix over additional work days


Schools in a fix over additional work days


PANAJI: With Goa's academic calendar revised last year and school working days upped to 237, schools and teachers have been left in a quandary over how best to utilize the additional 17 days added for state schools, over the usual 220 working days as prescribed by national education norms like the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

To keep teachers busy on the additional days now available, once the final results for the year are declared, schools are organizing extra classes for students preparing to enter Class X and training in spelling and maths for other pupils, not knowing what better to do with the extra working days.

"The revised academic calendar has meant that Goa teachers are working 17 days more than those in the rest of the country. But we are trying to utilize it in the best possible manner. With Class X and XII exams advanced to March, students entering these classes get fewer instructional days. So teachers will utilize the additional days in April to teach students going to Class X some portion before the academic year begins. We have also decided to call students of Class III and IV to improve their skills in spelling and maths," a teacher from a Panaji school said.

Directives issued by the directorate of education (DoE) state that schools can only conduct the final examinations after April 8 during an academic year and final results cannot be declared before April 29.

"Most schools will hold their final exams from April 10 to 17 with one public holiday and a Sunday in between. It means that teachers get much lesser time to correct papers and compile results ie from April 18 to 28. In Class IX, for instance, one subject paper is for 100 marks. How can the teachers do justice to the students when they have to correct the papers and compile results within just 10 days," another Panaji teacher said.

Teachers said that many among them will also be caught up between school paper corrections and that for the Class X exams of the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.

A circular issued for the academic year 2014-15 by the DoE indicates that there will be no respite for teachers from the revamped academic calendar for the upcoming year as well and this has now upset teachers.

"As per the RTE Act, secondary schools are required to complete 1,000 instructional hours. But if Goa schools function for five-and-half-hours a day for 220 days, they are completing 100 additional instructional hours which is not fair to the teachers or students," a South Goa teacher said.

Action against 1,404 schools for flouting RTE norms

Action against 1,404 schools for flouting RTE norms


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AURANGABAD: The state directorate of education (primary) plans to take action against 1,404 schools across the state for non-compliance with the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The Pune-headquartered directorate, in an affidavit filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court, said these schools were prima facie guilty of enrolling bogus students or making bogus admissions. The directorate said it would publish a public notice on its website informing parents, teachers and all concerned against taking admissions in such schools.

The affidavit was submitted in response to a public interest litigation in the matter that came up for hearing before the HC bench on February 14. Following the arguments, the bench comprising Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Ravindra Ghuge placed the next hearing on the petition for March 18.

The affidavit states that the District Information System of Education (DISE) data for the academic year 2013-14, prepared by a statutory body, indicates that there are 1,02,539 schools in the state imparting education from Class I to XII. The RTE Act is applicable to primary education — from Class I to VIII.

The affidavit further states that proceedings would be initiated against the managements, teachers and staff of the erring schools. The directorate also plans to publish a notice in leading newspapers warning parents and all concerned that since action has been proposed against these schools, students may not be admitted there in the ensuing academic session.

The directorate has assured the court that the requisite notice would be issued on the website within one week and that the public notices would be prepared and published within three weeks. Part of the process includes the government taking over the management of these schools and transferring students to other schools.

The court directed that these schools should not continue to enroll more students and appoint teachers and non-teaching staff. They would also not continue to get aid or grant from the state.

‘Penalise school for violating RTE Act’

‘Penalise school for violating RTE Act’

Tanu Kulkarni
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NPS-Banashankari conducts test for admitting students

A school in Bangalore South could be in the dock for violating the Right to Education Act (RTE) by conducting a test for admitting students.
The National Public School, Banashankari, is accused of violating a section of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, by conducting entrance test for admitting students. Section 13 of the RTE Act states that no school can subject a child or his guardians to any screening procedure while admitting the child to school.
Following complaints, the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has written to the Department of Public Instruction to impose penalty of Rs. 25,000 on the school for conducting screening procedure for children.
Chairperson of KSCPCR H.R. Umesh Aradhya, said: “We received a complaint from a parent who said that they were conducting an entrance test. Though the school claimed protection for being a minority school, investigation revealed that they are not a minority school.”
Even minority schools have to implement the RTE Act and the only exemption is that they do not have to admit children under the 25 per cent quota, he added.
Vani Kantli, the mother of a five-year-old boy, whose complaint triggered action against NPS, Banashankari, said: “I received an e-mail from the school that my child had been shortlisted for the admission test. I refused to send my child for the test and decided to file a complaint.” The DPI should penalise the school for the welfare of students and parents who are left with no option but to concede to the demands of schools, she said.
The school stated on the website that they were conducting entrance test for students who wish to obtain admission to the school. .
Meanwhile, Jaya Prakash, coordinator for the Srinivas Educational Charitable Trust that runs the school, justified the school conducting a general test. “We have not rejected any candidate,” he said.
Block Education Officer of South Range 1 Kempaiah said he would take appropriate action against the school management once he receives the KSCPCR proceedings.

'Probe Fund Misuse in SSA, RMSA Projects'

'Probe Fund Misuse in SSA, RMSA Projects'

Published: 21st February 2014 08:11 AM
Last Updated: 21st February 2014 08:11 AM
Activist T J Abraham has urged the government to order a CID enquiry into the alleged misappropriation and misuse of funds earmarked for various civil works under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamika Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Abraham pointed fingers at an engineer working in the two agencies and said the government has lost nearly `717.5 crore because of the the misappropriation.
Civil works such as additional classrooms, computer rooms, toilets, labs, libraries, drinking water facilities, were to be provided to high schools in the state under these schemes, and the four-year delay in implementation by four years has deprived poor students of their right to these basic facilities, Abraham alleged. 
“The delay has also stopped further grants from the Ministry of Human Resource Development,” he said.  Abraham said that former state project director of SSA, Subodh Yadav was transferred while he was trying to unearth these issues.  “Yadav had gone ahead to terminate the centralised PMC and tendering. But before he could work it out, he was shunted out of the department,” he said.
Abraham called on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to absorb the existing 234 engineers into the Education Department for proper implementation and monitoring of the projects.
He also urged the CM to absorb the 1,671 teachers already with the department on contract basis and to regularise the services of data entry operators.

Parents asked to pay Rs 60,000 for 'development needs' of school

MUMBAI: Parents of children selected for admission by a school in Borivli were asked to shell out Rs 60,000 towards the "development needs" of the institute on Saturday.

Parents said when they arrived at the St Francis School (ICSE) in Borivli (W) to submit documents they were asked to make the payment by demand draft. The school management did not make itself available to comment on the issue.

Parents decided to write to the education department to intervene in the matter.

"We want our daughter to study in this school, but it's unfair that we have to pay this donation," an aggrieved parent said. "I can only afford to pay the fees, not beyond that."

A bunch of parents wrote to the organization Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE). Close to 130 parents were expected to submit documents and pay the Rs 60,000, which the school form said would be utilized for "development needs of St Francis School (ICSE) of the Society of the Congregation of Franciscan Brothers and it will form part of the corpus".

FFE president Jayant Jain said the payment of the Rs 60,000 was a pre-condition to securing admission in the school.

"The school conducted interviews of parents and those who agreed to pay Rs 60,000 were given an offer letter asking for the free and unconditional funds for the development of the school," Jain said.

He said the practice was illegal and prohibited under the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act of 1987, which made it a punishable offence.

"There is a provision of imprisonment of up to two years and penalty," Jain said.

On contacting the school education department, deputy director of education (school) made it clear that schools are not allowed to ask for money, other than fees. "We have given clear instructions to schools to not impose any form of capitation fee on parents during admissions. RTE rules have to be followed by all schools, regardless of their religious status. Parents should file a complaint with the education department, and we will take appropriate action on the school authorities," said N B Chavan, deputy director of school education, Mumbai division.

"We hope the education department solves this problem for us. We don't want our kids to lose their seat in this school," said another parent.

What RTE says?

According to Section 13 (2) of Right to Education (RTE) Act-no school or person, while admitting a child, can collect any capitation fee.

What Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act, 1987, says?

"Any person from whom a capitation fee or donation has been demanded or collected by the management of any educational institution or on behalf of any educational institution by any person who is charge of, or is responsible for, the management of such institution, in relation to any student in consideration of his admission to, and prosecution of, any course of study, of his promotion to a higher standard or class in such institution, may file a complaint against such management or such person, as the case may be, with the concerned police station within thirty days from the date on which such capitation fee or donation or both has been demanded or collected by such management or such person."

"We have given clear instructions to schools not to impose any form of capitation fee on parents during admission. RTE rules have to be followed by all schools, regardless of religious status. Parents should file a complaint with the education department,"said NB Chavan, deputy director of education.

Decision on MSC objected

Decision on MSC objected
Source: The Sangai Express
 
Imphal, October 11, 2013: All Manipur School Management and Development Committee Association (AMSMADCA) has objected to the decision of the Education Minister and the State Cabinet on formation of monitoring and supervision committee (MSC) in every constituency.

In a lengthy statement issued by its Joint Secretary Md Islamuddin, the Association asserted that the decision is clearly an infringement on the norms of SSA/RTE Act to meet their petty political ends.

Reacting to the news reports which say that MLAs of all the 60 Assembly Constituencies in the State will be the chairmen of such MSCs and the ZEOs concerned are to be the Member Secretaries, the Association alleged that the Education Minister has mislead the Chief Minister and all the Members by saying that SMDCs are not properly functioning.

The truth is that so far SMDCs have not been entrusted any works under SSA right from the inception of SSA/RTE Act except some incomplete works started by the then Village Education Committees/Ward Education Committees.

SMDCs wre floated only when the RTE Act became effected in the State, i.e.in the latter part of 2010 and early part of 2011 and formation of SMDCs was completed not long ago.

So, blaming SMDCs by the Education Minister is nothing but a direct and intentional ploy to ridicule their presence in order to meet only his vested interest, the Association further alleged.

Private schools threaten to defy RTE rules

Private schools threaten to defy RTE rules

Published: 13th October 2013 08:09 AM
Last Updated: 13th October 2013 08:09 AM
From the next academic year, private schools in the state may not admit children under the RTE (Right to Education) quota. The schools have taken a decision to this effect following delay in the government releasing reimbursement towards 25 per cent of seats they have provided under the quota.
“We cannot continue to cooperate with the  state government in implementing the RTE Act from next academic year, unless the government addresses our issues,’’  L R Shivarame Gowda, president of Karnataka Private Schools - Joint Action Committee (KAP-JAC) told Express.
“We have extended complete cooperation and support in implementing RTE in the state effectively. But the authorities are least bothered about our problems and are not addressing our issues which we cannot tolerate,” Shivarame Gowda said.
As per the data available from KAP-JAC, the state government has to release around `65 crore to private schools as the first installment towards the seats they have given under RTE. The deadline for releasing the reimbursement was September 30, 2013 and for second installment it is January 2014.
‘’We have not received any communication from the government side. The government does not have the courtesy to call the managements and find out the ground reality. It is not that easy to run an education institution. When we have accepted RTE Act and joined hands with government in implementing it, the government should know its responsibilities,’’ said D Shashi Kumar, convener of KAP-JAC.
Last year, members of KAP-JAC met the Education Minister four times, principal secretary to Primary and Secondary Education twice and the Commissioner for Public Instructions three times and made their representations.
There are over 16,000 private schools in the state (except minority schools) including CBSE, ICSE. A major number of them are in the cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga and Hubli-Dharwad.
The government had fixed a reimbursement of `11,800 per child. In 2012-13, government released half of the reimbursement and in 2013-14 (current year), it has not released anything. According KAP-JAC, this year (2013-14) around 70,000 seats in private schools were given under RTE and the reimbursement for 40,000 seats of 2012-13 is pending.
What if private schools refuse to provide seats under rte quota?
If the private schools refuse to provide RTE seats, then every year around 1.10 lakh children will lose the benefit of getting seats in private schools. It would also amount to a violation of the Act. According to school managements, though it is Central government policy and children have right to free and compulsory education, the state government should be supportive to private schools. “The Government has transferred its responsibility to private schools and is not providing financial assistance to schools. If the government continues to delay the release of funds, we are even ready to fight it legally,” said another member of KAP-JAC.

Vacant seats under RTE haunt Navi Mumbai schools

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 06:00 IST | Place: Panvel | Agency: DNA
The admission procedures have already started in many city schools, with some schools already closing the selling of admission forms.
But, schools which come under the RTE Act and have to reserve 25% seats for economically weaker students, are in a quandary as last year there was very poor response from parents approaching for admission under this category. More than 80% reserved seats for the economically weaker students went vacant last year in schools across Navi Mumbai, including Panvel.
According to the education department of Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, of the total 3,340 seats available under the category, only 424 seats were filled for the academic year 2013-14. In fact, there were some schools which did not receive a single application.
"Last year, we did not receive a single application under the RTE and had to keep 25% seats vacant even as the session started," said a school principal. There are 145 schools in NMMC jurisdiction where 25% seats were available last year for economically weaker students.
As per the RTE Act 2009, every child in the age group of 6-14 has the right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school, till the completion of elementary education. Private schools will have to take 25% of their class strength from the weaker section and the disadvantaged group of the society through a random selection process.
The government will fund education of these children. No seats in this quota can be left vacant. These children will be treated on par with all other students and subsidised by the state at the rate of average per learner costs in the government schools (unless the per learner costs in the private school are lower).
In Panvel taluka, the situation is almost similar — around 60% seats went vacant. There were 51 schools where 1,143 seats were available. In the primary section, there are 29 schools and the total number of seats available are 630. But only 268 seats were filled, while remaining 344 seats went vacant. In the senior section, 366 seats were filled of the available 513.
Anuj Kumar Pandey, secretary of the All India Federation of of PTA, says that lack of awareness resulted in poor response. "All the schools were supposed to advertise in daily newspapers about the availability of seats under the RTE quota, but none of the schools follow this," said Pandey, adding how a common person may get to know about the seats availability in a particular schools and what are the procedures.
A majority of schools refused to comment, however, a few of them assured that they would keep the seat reserved under the act.
AWAITING STUDENTS NMMC jurisdiction
Total no of schools:
145
Seats available under RTE Act: 3,340
Seats filled: 424 seats (academic year 2013-14)
Panvel taluka
Total no of schools: 51
Seats available under RTE Act: 1,143
Seats filled: 634

‘5,538 out-of-school children enrolled in govt schools’

‘5,538 out-of-school children enrolled in govt schools’


Dilbag Singh, SSA mission co-ordinator said, "There are around 52 voluntary teachers who conduct the door-to-door survey monthly. Otherwise, SSA conducts this survey every year in December. The survey reports are sent to Management Information System (MIS) which compiles the data of drop outs students or who went to school."
Although the survey was completed in December last, the department managed to compile the data around 10 days ago.
As per the context of RTE Act, the out-of-school children are first enrolled in the formal school and they are provided with Special Training. At present, there are 191 Special Training Centres (STC) in the city that are functioning in the school campus itself. The special training for drop out/ never enrolled is conducted till the students are eligible to be adjusted in the main stream class. The special teachers appointed conduct four hour classes on a daily basis.
According to the reports collected by the education department, SSA enrolled around 6,000 students last year and mainstreamed around 3,000 students to regular schools. Most of the students who are enrolled are recorded to be the drop outs. SSA has also mainstreamed 89 students to regular school last month.
SSA special training centres are working to enroll children of labourers, street children, the urban deprived and also the migrant ones. To spread awareness, SSA has also made a page on facebook by the name of STCSSA, through which any one who knows a child between 6 and 14 years and who needs to be sent to school can drop a message. The voluntary teacher will help them enroll the child.
An official at the education department told Newsline, "Apart from providing special training for these children, the education department also emphasises on the teaching methods used by the special training teachers. Educational trips are also arranged for them every month so that they could involve themselves in studies in a much better way."
"SSA maintains the record of the mainstreamed children indicating their position, like continuing/drop out/migrated/completed etc. Till the student completes his/her Class VIII, the teachers keep a record," the official added.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Panel to conduct month-long survey of errant schools

Panel to conduct month-long survey of errant schools

Bangalore, Oct 15, 2013,DH News Service
A committee under the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSPCR) will conduct a month-long survey of City schools against which there have been complaints of violation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act.  
      
The four-member committee, likely to begin its work from October 25, will look to evaluate the schools against a set of parameters such as compliance with the RTE Act and guidelines against corporal punishment, the infrastructure such as toilets, classrooms.

While priority will be given to the complaints that have been lodged with the Commission, grievances of a serious nature lodged with other child rights groups will also be considered. The plan is to complete the survey of at least 30 schools by the end of November. Nagasimha G Rao, Director, Child Rights Trust and coordinator of the committee, said they were awaiting an official nod from KSCPCR to begin work.

From NGOs

The other members of the committee are from non-governmental organisations such as Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Sparsha.

“We will conduct a meeting on October 22 to get a clear picture of the plan. The recomendations from the survey will be forwarded by the commission to the Education department,” said Umesh Aradhya, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said.

Centre yet to foot Karnataka's Rs 22cr RTE bill

Centre yet to foot Karnataka's Rs 22cr RTE bill

Sruthy Susan Ullas, TNN Oct 16, 2013, 06.54AM IST

BANGALORE: When the Right to Education Act was to be implemented in the country, the biggest concern for the states was getting funds from the Centre. Over a year on, that worry remains. For the Centre owes Karnataka Rs 22 crore for the first year alone. Last year, the state government footed the bill from of its own pocket; this year, if the Centre doesn't loosen its purse strings, chances are it may not be able to reimburse schools. This, in turn, may compel schools to shut their doors to underprivileged children, defeating the purpose of the Act.
Under RTE, private schools have to set aside 25% seats for the underprivileged. The law says the government will reimburse the expenses. The amount was fixed at a maximum of Rs 11,800 per child depending on the expenditure incurred by the school. Some 44,375 children were admitted under the RTE quota in 10,910 schools across the state last year.

RTE Act takes a hit, poor are cold-shouldered in state schools

RTE Act takes a hit, poor are cold-shouldered in state schools

While replying to an RTI application, the Directorate of Primary Education said this year, only 58,727 seats were filled under the RTE quota in 9,071 schools across the state. Of the admitted students, 26,648 seats were filled by students of economically weaker section, while 21,127 students of Schedule Caste were admitted. As many as 6,283 students of Scheduled Tribes and 4,666 physically handicapped students were given admission under the Act. A total of 74, 226 earmarked seats have remained vacant.
Analysis of the data showed that urban centres have failed to implement the Act properly, while rural and backward parts of the state have fared well in filling up seats under the RTE Act. Jalgaon with 236 schools had 2,507 seats, of which only two remained vacant for the current academic year. Similarly, in Dhule of the 1,327 seats, only 50 remained vacant.
Districts of Akola, Washim, Yavatmal, Parbhani, Jalna, and Solapur saw more than 70 per cent of the reserved seats being filled. More than 60 per cent admission under the quota was observed in districts of Buldhana, Amravati, Beed, Nanded and Sangli. Rest of the districts witnessed 50 or lesser percentage of seats being filled under RTE.
The data revealed that within the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) area not a single admission was given under RTE. Pune had filled 50.9 per cent of the seats under RTE, while in Nashik 42 per cent of the seats were filled under RTE.
RPI corporator with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Dr Siddharth Dhende blamed the education department for its failure to implement RTE properly. "Many of the minority institutions shy away from giving admission under RTE as they say their primary sector is unaided. However, they continue to enjoy privileges given by the government. The government should make special efforts to ensure that the RTE is implemented properly as it would be doing justice to many socially backward people," he said.
Mahavir Mane, director of primary education, said the department has taken ample steps to ensure that RTE is implemented properly in the state. "We even extended the dates and said that EWS students seeking admission under the 25 per cent reserved quota should never be denied admission irrespective of the time of the academic year. But still the admissions are less," he said.
Putting the onus on the schools for the non implementation of the Act, he said: "Many schools did not follow the right procedure for admission of students under RTE, hence there number is unaccounted for. Then there was confusion among schools whether they come under the purview of RTE or not and hence many didn't follow it. Many schools have also approached court, saying they do not come under the RTE Act."
Mane said the ratio of compliance in admissions of EWS students under quota was better than in urban schools because there are less unaided schools in rural areas and they mostly comply with the government norms. In urban areas, although there is more awareness, all parents want their kids to be sent to renowned schools, he added.
'Online procedure from next year'<\b>
In a first of its kind move, the admission procedure for seats reserved under 25 per cent quota under RTE Act will be done through an online centralised procedure from next year. "We think this will be a major move in enforcing the law in all schools. There are loopholes in implementation owing to various reasons. With a centralised procedure, everything will be transparent and efficient," said Mahavir Mane, director, primary education.
"There will be admission centres in all districts across the state where parents can go and fill up the forms. The computer software will first try to give admission to these students in neighbourhood schools. If the seats there are full, the computer will increase the scope and give admission in other school as per the vacancy. The website is in the testing stage," added Mane.

School scheme turns saviour

School scheme turns saviour

New Delhi, Oct. 15: As the monster storm neared, the people went to school.
Children, parents and grandparents trooped to the concrete safety of schools built under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the universal education scheme that has emerged as the unsung saviour of more than half of the seven lakh people evacuated hours before cyclone Phailin hit the Odisha coast.
By the time the storm made landfall, they had all been guided to the safety of some 2,000 of these schools constructed under the central-sponsored SSA scheme over the past 13 years.
Under the SSA, aimed at universalising elementary education, all school buildings are concrete structures with toilets, drinking water facilities and kitchen sheds.
Rajesh Mohanty, a teacher in a rural primary school in Ganjam district and president of the Zilla Parishad Teachers’ Association, said the SSA schools had turned out to be the real saviour after the state government directed all teachers to make sure that the affected people could use the buildings as shelter from the storm.
“In our school, more than a hundred people from Polrajpur village took shelter. We have five big rooms, a kitchen and sanitation facilities. Had the school building not been pucca, the poor people could not have got shelter.”
Mohanty said most villagers in Polrajpur don’t live in pucca houses. So the school was their last hope.
After the supercyclone in 1999, the Odisha government had built cyclone shelters. State government sources said there were about 250 such shelters in the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Balasore, Bhadrak, Puri, Khurda and Ganjam. But they can, at the most, accommodate 2.5 lakh people.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in 2000 with the focus on setting up schools with pucca buildings with toilets and access to drinking water.
Some 3.7 lakh schools have come up since across the states. Today, nearly 98 per cent of habitations in the country have a school within a radius of one kilometre, a senior official in the human resource development ministry said.
Dasarathi Satapathy, additional secretary in the school and mass education department of the Odisha government, said around 70 per cent of those evacuated on Saturday were given shelter in primary and upper primary schools.
“The schools constructed under the SSA were used in all the coastal districts for sheltering people. These schools have all the facilities as cyclone shelters,” Satapathy said.
Community health expert T. Sundararaman, who is also executive director, National Health Systems Resource Centre, New Delhi, said schools with kitchen and other amenities were assets at times of natural calamities.
“Odisha has set an example of how schools can be used to help people. You cannot afford to create cyclone shelters which would be used only during cyclones and remain unused till the next cyclone,” he said.

‘OOSC to be more elaborate this year’

‘OOSC to be more elaborate this year’

Staff Reporter
The Out of School Children (OOSC) survey, which will be carried out by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), will for the first time, include a team comprising officials from various government departments, such as Labour, Women and Child Development, Health, Revenue, and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, as well as members of NGOs.
This year’s survey will be a more elaborate exercise compared to previous years, in light of the case taken up by the High Court suo motu with regard to OOSC and the court’s direction to the State, that dropouts should be reduced to zero. It may be noted that the definition of a school dropout was changed to “a child who does not attend school for seven consecutive days without prior permission,” from the earlier 60-day period.
“While the Education Department’s data states that there are 51,994 OOSC, activists claim the figure is as high as 6.28 lakh. The survey aims to capture a comprehensive picture on the status of OOSC and address the discrepancies in the two figures,” Subodh Yadav, State Project Director, SSA, told The Hindu. For the survey, 4,062 education clusters (each cluster comprising between 15 and 25 schools) will be divided into three categories — vulnerable, non-vulnerable and general clusters.
Vulnerable clusters will consist of all urban and rural clusters where the dropout rate is more than 50 children as per the District Information System for Education (DISE) report. The non-vulnerable clusters would consist of rural areas where the dropout as per DISE is between one and 49 children.
The general clusters would consist of rural areas where the dropout rate is zero as per DISE.
The Education Department has identified 2,822 vulnerable clusters, while the remaining 1,240 clusters are general and non-vulnerable clusters. The survey, for vulnerable clusters, would involve both a house-to-house survey and identification of missing children through school records. For non-vulnerable and general clusters, the survey will identify missing children from school records.

Teams

Mr. Yadav said vulnerable clusters will have four officers for the survey, including two officers from the Education Department, one survey officer from any other department and one NGO member. The general and non-vulnerable clusters would have two officers — one each from Education Department and any other department or NGO.
The survey would begin in the first week of November. The school survey would be followed by a meeting of all headmasters at the cluster and block levels. The house-to-house survey will be conducted on November 13.

32,222 school buildings constructed under SSA in J-K: Min

32,222 school buildings constructed under SSA in J-K: Min


Over 32 thousand school buildings have been constructed in under Sarva Shiksha Abhyaan, the was informed today.

"Against the target of constructing 58704 school buildings in the state under Sarva Shiksha Abhyaan (SSA), 32,222 school buildings have been completed and work on 25,914 are under progress at various stages," Minister for , Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mir Saifullah said today.

Saifullah was replying to a question by PDP member Veeri in the Legislative Assembly here, on behalf of Deputy Chief Minister.

The minister further said against the target of 526 high school buildings under RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan), 104 buildings have been completed and work on 360 others are apace at different stages.

The Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (J&K BOSE) is involved in curriculum development and preparation of syllabus.

He said to safeguard the interests of students, the BOSE has introduced certain measures for curbing menace of copying, strengthening of grading system at secondary level besides strengthening continuous and comprehensive evaluation scheme.

The Minister said that 68 per cent schools have shown cent per cent results and most of the schools have shown good performance in Kashmir division, adding that out of 1102 schools only 37 High and Higher Secondary schools have shown poor performance.

He said the teaching staff of those schools who show poor performance are being penalised by stopping annual increments, adding that SIEs (State Institute of Education) and DIETs (District Institute of Education and Training) are being advised to adopt such schools to improve their efficiency.

Minority School Shows the RTE Way

Minority School Shows the RTE Way

Published: 14th February 2014 08:36 AM
Last Updated: 14th February 2014 11:16 AM
Seven-year-old Vidhya S carries a pile of books to her principal’s chamber. Her notes are neat, with all the right answers. Vidhya is one of eight children admitted under the Right to Education (RTE) Act quota at M M Nursery and Primary School, a Muslim minority institution in Tasker Town.
Although minority unaided schools are exempt from the RTE Act, this school took a decision two years ago to implement the quota in keeping with Section 12 (1)(c).
M M School’s move is in sharp contrast to the practice of some schools which claim “minority” status to avoid RTE Act obligations.
This school, however, admitted eight children (four boys and four girls) belonging to the Hindu community under RTE, of whom five are in Class 2 and three in Class 1.
“Our management knew that they didn’t have to comply with RTE, but I started looking and found there were so many parents in the neighbourhood who wanted to send their kids to school. They had to be provided with the opportunity to give their children education,” said principal Veena Nesam.
The school, which is managed by the Modi Masjid Education Trust, allotted five seats in 2012-13 and three seats in 2013-14 under the RTE quota. “In the interest of children’s education, the management agreed to go ahead with RTE. We are aware that we cannot expect any fee from these children,” she said.
“I have already spoken with my management on how we can sustain ourselves financially. We already have children whose parents are unable to pay fees,” Nesam said.
The school, located in a three-storey building opposite the Modi Masjid, has 350 children spread over Classes 1-8 and is permitted to use Urdu as its medium of instruction. Still, the school also teaches in Kannada and English. “My knowledge of Tamil helped me reach out to parents in the neighbourhood. Awareness among parents on RTE is low. All they know is that there is free education,” Nesam said.
When asked why other private schools were using the minority tag as means to keep RTE at bay, she said: “Many schools do not want RTE because of the financial burden it comes with. It is the 25 per cent clause that schools are wary of.”
In fact, the Bangalore North-3 BEO has sanctioned Rs 10,000 for admitting children under the RTE quota.
Nagasimha G Rao, convenor, RTE Task Force, lauded the school for having gone against the odds to implement the RTE quota.
As of July last year, the Department of Public Instruction has identified 288 certified religious and linguistic minority schools in the state.
However, it cannot issue any more minority certificates because of a pending case in the High Court, allowing schools to falsely claim minority status without certification.
“We cannot issue certificates as the previous government’s new minority definition was stayed by the High Court,” said Mohammad Mohsin, Commissioner for Public Instruction.
The new minority definition of the previous government required 2/3rd of the members of a school’s management to belong to a minority section with more than 75 per cent children belonging to that minority community.
“Now, because we cannot issue certificates, many schools have approached the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions for certification,” Mohsin said.

RTE applications flood education dept


RTE applications flood education dept



UDUPI: There is a surge in number of applications received for free seats available under the Right to Education Act ( RTE) in private schools in Udupi district for the academic year 2014-15.

Against 1,076 free seats available, 3,195 applications have been received by the education department. There were only 1,601 applications received last year for the 1,003 free seats available.

Awareness programmes conducted by the education department this year seem to have resulted in threefold increase in applications this year though the last date for submitting application is February 19.

However there is a flipside to this new found enthusiasm for RTE seats. Except 1,076 free seats, the remaining 2,119 students, whose parents have applied for free seats, will be deprived of availing free education for their children. Sources in education department told STOI that selection of students will be done on priority basis.

Children, who live within 1-km radius of the school premises and whose parents' annual income is below Rs 1 lakh will get first priority while orphan children and kids of migrant labourers will be the next. Remaining children will be selected through lottery.

Ashok Kamath, district education officer, said a meeting of parents who had applied for RTE seats for their children will be convened prior to fixing the date for lottery draw. Parents will be intimated about the date in three ways. A letter will be posted to the parents, a notice will be put on the notice board of the schools and parents will be personally intimated through a phone call and their presence will be ensured. There will be transparency in the process, he said.

Kamath attributed the rise in number of applications to the intense awareness drive by the department. There were block-level meetings, school-level canvassing and door-to-door visits. Applications were made available free of cost to parents. Earlier, application forms had to be downloaded from the department's website.

Sources said there is lobbying by influential people to avail free seats to parents of their choice in the district. There is no attempt to ensure RTE seats for the most deserving children though school dropout rate is the highest in Udupi, they rued.

Enrolments, number of govt schools decreasing in state: Report


Enrolments, number of govt schools decreasing in state: Report



JAIPUR: The Right to Education Act report prepared by the department of school education and literacy, ministry of human resources development recently projected Rajasthan in poor light at least in some parameters. The report was prepared to ascertain the difference the RTE-2009 had on government schools.

The report indicates that the state has moved backward in terms of providing toilet facility to girls and drinking water in government schools. Besides, enrollments in state schools have reduced as the number of government schools have also declined.

The figure says that separate toilets for girls have reduced from 89% in 2009-10 to 79% in 2012-13, though it is better than the national average of 69%. Even schools providing drinking water in the state are on the downslide from 96% schools in 2009-10 to 95% in 2012-13.

The non-availability of toilets and water are the main reasons behind the drop-out among girls. The proportion of school girls in 11-14 age groups jumped from 11.2% in 2012 to 12.1% in 2013 but the figures were almost half compared to the all-India figure of 6% dropout in 2012 and 5.5% in 2013.

It raised questions despite the government special schemes and polices to ensure rise in enrollment of girl students. Even the progress in Right to Education parameters which includes infrastructure development has failed to improve the situation of girl students.

Another startling fact which can be an eye-opener for state is the number of elementary schools in Rajasthan reduced from 81,832 in 2009-2010 to 78,901 in 2012-13. That means closure of 2901 schools in last three years is very well replaced by the private schools which has substantially increased the enrollments and number of private schools here.

Ironically, Gujarat which boost of its development plank is far behind in number of government schools with 34,523 government elementary schools against the 78,901 in Rajasthan.

The silver lining for the state is that 98% of the teachers are qualified against the national average of 81%. Delhi has 99% of qualified teachers while Gujarat has 97% qualified teachers.

Delhi is among the few places which has recorded 100% schools with toilet facilities for women. Gujarat which claimed to have most progressive state has 76% of the schools with the same facility.

"The performance of Rajasthan is near satisfactory and improving. Several government projects introduced off late is showing results. However, the decline in number of schools is quite alarming and state needs to focus on it," said KB Kothari, managing trustee, Pratham.

SSA employees to get regular scales in Haryana


Chief Minister today said his government would give regular pay scale to contractual employees of (SSA) in the state.

Addressing the representatives of SSA employees union, who called on here, he said these contractual employees have been rendering services for the last 19 years but it was the present state government which acknowledged their contribution and gave them regular pay scale besides other benefits.

The pay scale on a par with that of regular employees has been given to those contractual employees who are associated with SSA for five years, he said.

Besides, they have been given annual hike of five per cent.

He said employees on contract for a period of five to 10 years have also been given regular pay scale along with annual increment of three per cent.

Apart from this, they would get Dearness Allowance as per government rules, he added.

Panel to conduct month-long survey of errant schools

Panel to conduct month-long survey of errant schools

Bangalore, Oct 15, 2013,DH News Service
A committee under the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSPCR) will conduct a month-long survey of City schools against which there have been complaints of violation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act.  
      
The four-member committee, likely to begin its work from October 25, will look to evaluate the schools against a set of parameters such as compliance with the RTE Act and guidelines against corporal punishment, the infrastructure such as toilets, classrooms.

While priority will be given to the complaints that have been lodged with the Commission, grievances of a serious nature lodged with other child rights groups will also be considered. The plan is to complete the survey of at least 30 schools by the end of November. Nagasimha G Rao, Director, Child Rights Trust and coordinator of the committee, said they were awaiting an official nod from KSCPCR to begin work.

From NGOs

The other members of the committee are from non-governmental organisations such as Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Sparsha.

“We will conduct a meeting on October 22 to get a clear picture of the plan. The recomendations from the survey will be forwarded by the commission to the Education department,” said Umesh Aradhya, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said.

Centre yet to foot Karnataka's Rs 22cr RTE bill

Centre yet to foot Karnataka's Rs 22cr RTE bill

Sruthy Susan Ullas, TNN Oct 16, 2013, 06.54AM IST

BANGALORE: When the Right to Education Act was to be implemented in the country, the biggest concern for the states was getting funds from the Centre. Over a year on, that worry remains. For the Centre owes Karnataka Rs 22 crore for the first year alone. Last year, the state government footed the bill from of its own pocket; this year, if the Centre doesn't loosen its purse strings, chances are it may not be able to reimburse schools. This, in turn, may compel schools to shut their doors to underprivileged children, defeating the purpose of the Act.
Under RTE, private schools have to set aside 25% seats for the underprivileged. The law says the government will reimburse the expenses. The amount was fixed at a maximum of Rs 11,800 per child depending on the expenditure incurred by the school. Some 44,375 children were admitted under the RTE quota in 10,910 schools across the state last year.

Friday, February 14, 2014

3,287 seats still vacant in division's pre-primary & primary schools

3,287 seats still vacant in division's pre-primary & primary schools

Himanshu Nitnaware, TNN Oct 25, 2013, 05.52AM IST
AURANGABAD: The Aurangabad division has identified 828 vacant seats in pre-primary schools and 2459 seats in primary schools, which are yet to be filled under the 25% admittance provision made under the Right to Education (RTE), Act, 2009.
Meanwhile, the division consisting of Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli and Beed districts has collectively achieved to admit 798 students. The total capacity of students that can be accommodated in the pre-primary and primary sections is 1,258 and 5,279 respectively.
Nitin Upasni, education officer at zilla parishad, primary, said that the number of students in the pre-primary schools admitted from SC/ST is 196, physically challenged students is nine while students belonging to economic backward classes is 225. A total of 430 students have been admitted comprising of 34.18% have been recorded."
Similarly, for primary section for class I, as many as 1,171 students from SC/ST category, about 17 from physically challenged category and around 1,632 from economic backward classes have been admitted.
Under the provision of RTE, the students falling under the respective category can seek admissions throughout the academic year.
"At present, the verification process of all the schools is undergoing to check if the schools have admitted the informed number of students. The attendance of students and teachers will be checked," Upasni said.
Squads have been deployed across the region for which a performa has been developed for examination. Efforts are also undergoing concentrating efforts to include maximum number of students under the 25% admittance through constant follow up, convincing and percolating through awareness, he added.
Speaking to TOI, he further said that as per the norms the review of attendance of each student has to be reported every three months to ZP which will be followed up. "After the verification process is complete the school management will have to submit a proposal for reimbursement of the fees for number of students admitted by it," he added.

Teachers under pressure from schools and parents

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 12:06 IST | Place: Rabale | Agency: DNA
Dilip Sankhe, an award-winning teacher, committed suicide on Tuesday at his Airoli residence. In the suicide note that he left behind, he stated that he was in acute depression, which forced him to take the drastic step. He had not slept for the last fifteen days. He reportedly went into depression after he was suspended in August this year, for his alleged inappropriate conduct with three of his female students.
Sankhe ended his life as he was unable to bear the depression. But many teachers have to execute their daily services under tremendous pressure. According to a teacher association, the recent RTE Act has increased the problems of teachers, as it prohibits them from punishing students or even keeping them under observation. “Teachers carry on their daily duties with several pressures, such as those from parents, school management, and government guidelines,” said Ashok Belsare, President, Shikshak Bharti, a teacher welfare association. Belsare said that school teachers find themselves in a dilemma.  
“The RTE Act states that there should not be more than 30 students in primary section classes. But, there is hardly any vernacular school across the state, where the number of students is less than 60. And, the teachers have to control all the sixty students with a condition that he cannot punish anyone of them,” said Belsare.
“Now, a primary school student challenges his teacher that he cannot touch him, as the law deters him from doing so,” said Uday Nare, a senior member of Congress Shikshak Cell.
A woman teacher working with a reputed public school in Nerul says that parents warn them against punishing their children. “There are many parents who say that when they themselves do not punish their children, how a teacher can,” said the teacher requesting anonymity.
Belsare added that there are teachers who get paid a  meagre Rs5,000 per month in private schools, while students come to school with full pockets. Nare advocates, “The education scenario is different in different parts of the country. So, a single law for all the country cannot be a solution.” He added that abolishing examination at primary level will not be good for students in future.

Over 430 schools may shut down in Nov


Over 430 schools may shut down in Nov



KOLHAPUR: The future of at least 5,700 students across the district appears uncertain with the primary education department of the zilla parishad identifying 437 schools that have less than 20 pupils each and might stop functioning from November.

Zilla parishad officials said the schools have around 5,700 students and 820 teachers - which violates the teacher-student ratio norms as laid down in the Rights to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The act makes it mandatory for a school to have a 30:1 student-teacher ratio. The act also states that a school should have at least 20 students, lest it could face a shutdown.

Though a zilla parishad official said the schools might stop operating from next month, the primary education department of the zilla parishad has not received any communication from the state government in connection with the possible closure of the institutes. This, in turn, might delay the transfer process of the students as well as teachers in these schools.

On the other hand, students of a school that have been shut down should be shifted to another institute situated within a periphery of 1km and complying with the RTE norms. In case of non-availability of a school within the specific periphery, the government has to arrange transportation for the students.

Sources in the education department said the 437 schools identified in the district did not comply with the RTE Act norms and should be closed for poor attendance. If that happens, it will be the department's responsibility to transfer the teachers employed with these primary schools.

State primary education department director Mahavir Mane said, "We had in September directed all chief executive officers of the zilla parishads in the state to review the students' attendance in schools in areas under their respective jurisdictions. We had sought reports on such schools. All the reports will be submitted from across the state by the end of October. Once the reports are in, those will be reviewed and scrutinized to decide on the future schools."

He added, "Schools with merely two-three students and a teacher need to be shut down. But the department will think twice before taking any drastic decision on schools in the remote areas."

A zilla parishad official said, "Ever since the RTE Act was implemented in the state, the department is constantly conducting a review of the schools to find out if those are complying with the RTE norms. The 437 schools were identified as part of the review process. However, most of these schools are located in rural and remote areas."

Kolhapur zilla parishad primary education officer Smita Gaud said the education department would exclude some of the schools from the list as these are in the remote areas. "Many schools are in Shahuwadi and Radhanagari - two talukas that are remote in nature and have less number of students. If we shut down these schools, the students will be forced to drop out midway. We will consider a periphery of 1 km within which another school has to be there before closing an institute."

The zilla parishad schools will remain closed for Diwali holidays from November 1 to 18 and the primary education department is planning the transfer and other formalities of the students and teachers, who might be affected, during this period.

Student-teacher ratio revised in govt schools

Student-teacher ratio revised in govt schools

Earlier, while the ratio was fixed below a set number of students for entire primary school (from Class I-VIII), it has been now divided into lower and upper primary sections as well as for both sections based on the number of students in each class categorised into different slabs.
While, the upper limit of students in lower primary (Class I-V) schools has been fixed as 40 if the classroom strength exceeds 200, the same has been kept as 35 in upper primary (Class VI-VIII) schools if the classroom strength exceeds 105.
This has been done after a major reshuffle of teachers from secondary to primary schools with the implementation of RTE Act that stipulates free and compulsory education till Class VIII. While, as per Gujarat Education Department the primary schools were till Class VII only. Thus, more than 12,000 teachers became surplus as Class VIII was brought down from secondary to primary schools leaving thousands as surplus, who had been recently "adjusted" in primary schools.
"The student-teacher ratio has been revised in consonance with the RTE Act. Also, the ratio has helped estimating the requirement of teachers in primary schools that will further guide the number of posts to be created and filled in the coming months," said a senior official of the Education Department.
At present, there are over 2 lakh teaching faculty for nearly 33,900 primary schools in the state with a student strength of over 53 lakh students. These include all the schools directly run by municipal corporations in urban areas as well as district panchayats in villages. The number of villages as per the official records is 18,500.
Also, keeping in mind the implementation of RTE Act, the Department had conducted recent appointments of more than 15,000 teachers for upper primary schools. Recently, 8,800 posts of primary teachers for Class VI-VIII were created and appointments completed in the month of August by the Education Department.
While, a similar number of posts, for both primary and secondary teachers, are expected to be created for candidates who have taken the recent Teachers Aptitude Test (TAT) conducted in the month of September, this year.