Friday, February 14, 2014

Civil society, NGOs want RTE in party manifestos

Civil society, NGOs want RTE in party manifestos

TNN Nov 12, 2013, 06.38AM IST
NEW DELHI: With less than a month to go for the polls, city NGOs are hoping education issues-especially implementation of the Right to Education Act-will feature in party manifestos. In case the parties don't know what's required, NGOs, civil society organizations and school management committees forming the Delhi chapter of RTE Forum have drafted a list of demands they could just adopt.
"It is a people's manifesto on RTE and we have met representatives of parties-Yogendra Yadav of Aam Aadmi Party and Shakeel Ahmad of Congress-and asked them to include our demands in their manifestos," says Saurabh Sharma, convenor, Delhi RTE Forum. The forum is also planning a 'bus-yatra' from November 15 to 25 as part of which volunteers will visit over 100 colonies in Delhi and ask residents to consider provisions for education before casting their vote.
The list of demands covers everything-child-mapping, funds, infrastructure, constitution of the School Management Committees (SMCs) and grievance redressal. Included in their demands is extension of RTE Act to cover "all children from 3 to 6 and 14-18 years in the state". RTE currently covers children between six and 14 years. They also want all girls enrolled in schools to be covered under the 'Laadli' scheme, withdrawal of the 'one kilometre radius' and 'three years residence proof' criteria for admission of children from disadvantaged groups and economically weaker sections in private schools and recruitment of administrative support staff in schools. They have also demanded that teachers not be engaged in non-academic duties other than defined in the RTE Act.
They also want schools to be made single shift and an "elementary school for every 10,000 population as per Delhi Master Plan norms." Plus, they want proper redressal mechanisms in place-"Define grievance redressal mechanism, frame rules, procedures and delegate powers for effective and timely grievance redressal for children, teachers, SMCs and community under the RTE Act". The forum also frowns upon any proposal to hand over management of public education institutes to any private party. "We demand that the state solely manage public education institutions with communities and parents monitoring them and not hand them over to private parties," they say.

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