Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Complaints of RTE violations pile up


Complaints of RTE violations pile up



NEW DELHI: Over the four years since Right to Education Act was implemented, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has received more than 3,800 complaints of RTE violations. Fewer than half of them-41.25%-have been resolved. The national commission is the apex body for monitoring RTE implementation in the country.

Data obtained through an RTI query filed by activist Rashmi Gupta shows that, while the number of cases coming to the commission has declined drastically over the years-there were 1,177 in 2010-11 and 174 in 2013-14, it has amassed a massive backlog of cases. Activists believe decrease in number of cases being reported is because of the slow pace of resolution. "These figures illustrate that people have lost hope in the commission leading to a phenomenal decrease in the number of complaints," Gupta says.

NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh, however, says that the decrease in numbers is because most states have started state-level commissions since 2010.

"Also, as a matter of policy, we transfer to the state commissions many complaints that are easier for them to deal with because they are on the spot," she says. The transferred ones are not counted in the data furnished in the RTI reply. NCPCR now handles mainly "infrastructure and policy-related complaints" or complaints of "inter-departmental issues". Individual complaints are moved to the state commissions.

But the backlog, concedes Singh, is a problem. "There is definitely a backlog and it's not acceptable. We are not paying attention to this because, if a complaint was filed in 2010, the resolution has no validity if it's coming in 2014," says Singh. There are still 484 open cases from the 2010-11 batch of complaints. "We send the complaint to the state and sometimes replies are unduly delayed. Depending on their responses, action is taken. It's not practical to use summons proceedings for every complaint," she adds.

Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights has a better record-it's closed over 85% cases. Gupta also asked for information on funds going to the RTE cells of NCPCR and DCPCR. The funds for NCPCR's RTE cell has increased from Rs 278.76 lakh in 2010-2011 to Rs 653.38 lakh in 2013-2014.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rahul Gandhi's Amethi worst performer in RTE norms

Rahul Gandhi's Amethi worst performer

in RTE norms

Isha Jain, TNN | Mar 17, 2014, 02.20AM IST
LUCKNOW: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi may be promising employment to youth, but education standards at grassroots level in his constituency, Amethi, are the worst in Uttar Pradesh. Only 1% schools in Amethi comply with the Right to Education Act (RTE), lowest in the state, reveals a study conducted by RTE forum.

Countrywide figures, too, are unimpressive. Only 8% schools have complied with the RTE norms despite the deadline for its implementation ending about a year ago.

The study, based on nine RTE indicators, shows average performance by UP in comparison to bigger states (in terms of population). In UP, only 7.5% schools are following RTE norms. Maharashtra, with 20.1% schools, is the best among the big states followed by Karnataka (18.2%), Tamil Nadu (17.3%) and Gujarat (17%).

Even though new classrooms have come up, 59.67% of children study in schools that still fail to meet the pupil-teacher norms. The mechanism for redressal of complaints is also weak, says study.

The RTE Forum says that while the RTE Act mandates that all teachers in the country are to be trained by 2015, there are still 6.6 lakh untrained teachers in the country, while five lakh teaching posts are vacant. UP alone needs 3 lakh teachers - maximum in the country - in schools, Union ministry of human resource development said. Other states facing acute shortage of teachers are Bihar (2.60 lakh) and West Bengal (1 lakh).

Forum convenor Ambarish Rai said, "Irrespective of the party in power, no state has fully implemented RTE. Starting from north to south, east to west, the situation is bleak. Be it Gujarat or Maharashtra, UP or Karnataka, RTE indicators are hardly being followed." At the fourth national stocktaking convention, where the report was released, he said the trend is the same everywhere.

He added that they have released the report ahead of Lok Sabha elections because inadequate facilities in schools have angered people. "They want quality education high on agenda of the political parties," he said.

RTE indicators used in the study included drinking water supply, ramp, boundary wall, playground, library, girls and boys toilet, teacher-classroom ratio, student-classroom ratio and people-teacher ratio.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rahul-Gandhis-Amethi-worst-performer-in-RTE-norms/articleshow/32167064.cms

Education scenario in state bleak: Report

PATNA: Bihar needs nearly twice the number of teachers currently in service to achieve the national pupil teacher ratio (PTR) and the RTE (right to education) norm of 30:1. In fact, only 16% teachers at the panchayat level are trained. Around 60,000 schools in the state do not have a permanent campus and not even 3% of the school management committees (SMCs) are actively involved in planning and development work.

According to a survey on 'Implementation of RTE Act in Bihar', conducted in 375 schools of Bihar by State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and UNICEF, the education scenario of the state is not rosy. The survey further reveals that student classroom ratio (SCR) across schools in Bihar was 82, much higher than the all India figure of 30:1. And, students' attendance at schools stood at almost 63% only.

The survey report was tabled on Tuesday in the presence of the state education minister, P K Shahi, who admitted that education sector had a number of shortcomings. But, according to him, several significant steps have been taken by the government in the last two years for the implementation of RTE. "Enrolment of girls in Bihar is higher than that of boys at 51.35%. Nearly 1.42 lakh additional classrooms are required and we have built over 3,000 classrooms in the last four months. Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme is implemented in nearly 83% of the schools," said Shahi.

However, the education department is likely to appoint nearly 95,000 teachers by November and, thus, bring down the PTR that currently stands at 57:1. "Since many prospective teachers have not cleared the TET, we are unable to fill all the vacant posts. We are thinking about how to fill these vacancies," said Amarjeet Sinha, principal secretary of the department.

In fact, in the wake of Saran midday meal tragedy, Sinha said separate funds would be routed to SMCs for maintaining cleanliness of toilets and kitchen sheds. The department has also devised a six-month enrichment programme for training teachers who are in service. "The first batch of 34,000 teachers would soon get certification from NCTE and the second batch of 66,000 teachers would start training under the programme from September 5," he said.

The report adds that much is desired for infrastructure development, training of teachers and devising suitable pedagogy, constitution of SMCs, and creating a child-friendly educational environment in the schools. Cleanliness of toilets and kitchen sheds is also a central issue.

In fact, state project director of Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) Rahul Singh said, "If the government is not giving affiliation to private schools for lack of infrastructure, government schools should also be judged on the same parameters, or else norms should be relaxed for private schools as well."

RTE Act: Playing truant, a bitter game

RTE Act: Playing truant, a bitter game

Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 28, 2013
First Published: 02:46 IST(28/8/2013) | Last Updated: 02:49 IST(28/8/2013)
Only 1,165 children in the state have never attended school, according to Maharashtra government records. And while you may be surprised by the paltry figure, officials from the state education department are not.
Getting the children to schools is not the problem, they say. Keeping them there is.
The landmark Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 has helped bring more children to schools, but has not been able to control truancy and dropout rates yet, experts believe.
“When our employees try to put children selling wares or begging on the streets in schools, they show us certificates proving they have already been enrolled in one,” said a senior education official from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, which is the main vehicle for the implementation of the RTE Act.
So, the children are students only on paper. The reality is that after enrolling, they often remain absent from classes for long periods. Family problems, including migration or pressure to earn a livelihood are the main deterrents, and in the case of girls, dropping out after puberty is common.
Activists said the government had failed to address the problems of such students. “The government has many schemes for such children on paper, but can’t implement them for lack of funds,” said Farida Lambay, founder-director of Pratham, an NGO. Making matters worse, government-run and municipal schools do not offer seamless education even at the elementary level. While the RTE Act stipulates that elementary education is from Class 1 to Class 8, most civic schools only teach till Class 7. 
“Many children do not bother to secure admission or end up not attending another school after completing Class 7 as they cannot afford to pay the fees or the schools are far away from their homes,” said Anil Bornare, secretary of the Maharashtra State Teachers Association.
To solve this problem, the RTE Act stipulates the revision of the elementary education cycle to bridge the gap. The government had announced that they will reshuffle classrooms so that all schools teach till Class 8. More than 82,000 schools were surveyed for this purpose in 2012, but no concrete steps have been taken yet. The latest GR issued by the government has not made any changes in the elementary cycle.
Also, there are no strong mechanisms in place to monitor children’s admission, attendance or whether they complete their elementary education. “According to the [RTE] Act, teachers are supposed to keep an eye on children who have been absent for a long time. They are supposed meet the parents and ensure that the children are brought back to school,” Bornare said. But teachers are bogged down with their teaching duties and other work such as elections and census, leaving little time to monitor students, he added.

Free hostels could keep childrenin school

Mumbai: More free hostels could help bring down the dropout rate for children of migrant workers.
While there are 13 such hostels run by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan for elementary schools in the state, Mumbai does not have a single one.
Residential schools in place are the Kasturba Gandhi Bal Vidyalayas (KGBV) for girls belonging to economically and socially weaker sections studying in the upper-primary level.
But hostels for children in elementary schools are the need of the hour.
“Migration affects the child’s education. The families cannot afford to enroll the child in a school each time they migrate and even if they do, there is no way to guarantee continuity in education. We need to build many free residential hostels for these children,” said a senior education official from the SSA, Mumbai division.
The official said the SSA had proposed building such hostels in the city, but they were denied permission by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). “The BMC rejected the proposal citing lack of funds. However, we are still in talks with the civic body over it,” the official added.
Even the Right to Education Act (2009) does not cover boarding schools or residential schools. “Such schools are out of the purview of the act, so there is no pressure on the government to build them. They are being completely neglected,” said Jayant Jain, president of the Forum For Fairness in Education, a city not-for-profit that takes up such causes.
Unfortunately, some of the hostels that do exist in Maharashtra are in a pitiable state as allotted funds are being misused, claims Jain. The forum had filed a PIL last year, alleging a Rs75-crore scam in the temporary accommodation under the SSA scheme at Jawahar in Thane district.
The NGO took up the matter when one of the respondents to the petition, Kavita Pandhare, an extension officer in the department of education, was appointed to investigate the issue.
“Pandhare had only two days to investigate and found out that there were no schools in the addresses provided by SSA. In some places there were buildings constructed for hostels, but no provisions inside the buildings, and in one school there were only 12 students, all of whom were bogus,” added Jain.
He said that the calculations proved that funds up to Rs75 crore shown as spent on the project had been misappropriated by government officials.

‘Why would kids want to go to such schools?’
Mumbai: More than 90% schools in the state do not have 10 basic facilities listed as mandatory under the RTE Act, including separate toilets for girls and boys, safe drinking water and playgrounds.
In fact, many schools in the state do not even have five of the ten provisions, a report by Unicef pointed out.
The Right to Education Act (2009) stipulates that all schools have to be equipped with at least 10 facilities given in its schedule by 2013. These include basic facilities, infrastructure and pupil-teacher ratios. Schools have been given an extension till October to get these in order or they will be derecognised.
The story is no better in Mumbai, where 1,600 out of 1,703 schools have not fulfilled norms such as infrastructure facilities, principals’ rooms, toilets, drinking water, playgrounds and kitchen sheds.
According to the latest Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE), only 54.33% primary schools in the state have an electricity connection, and only 44.51% of all schools have computers, while only 13.91% have computer-aided learning facilities
The question experts are asking is: Why would students come to such abysmal schools?
“Looking at some of the civic schools makes you feel like they are still in the  18th century. Just offering mid-day meals is not going to attract a child to school,” said Prashant Redij, president of the State Principals’ Association, Mumbai chapter.
Farida , founder-director of Pratham, said that schools continue to be in such a state even three years since the RTE was implemented because school management committees (SMCs) are not functioning properly.  Such committees should comprise parents and teachers and produce child-friendly school development plans. 
But only 5.19% government schools have constituted SMCs, states the U-DISE report.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), which is the main vehicle for implementing the RTE, has conducted training programmes to train SMCs. “It is a challenge to explain the scope of the SMC  to parents of civic and government school children as they are not educated,’’ said a senior official from the SSA, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media. 
 However, large-scale training programmes are being conducted to sensitise parents , where they are told how they can improve the school so that their children can also get access to better quality education, the official added. 

BMC schools at Govandi deny admission to slum children

BMC schools at Govandi deny admission to slum children

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 27, 2013
First Published: 17:30 IST(27/8/2013) | Last Updated: 18:17 IST(27/8/2013)
The BMC school at Rafiq Nagar stands testimony to the blatant non-compliance of schools with the 2009 Right to Education (RTE) Act, which provides for 25% reservation in all government-aided and specified schools as well as private schools for ‘ disadvantaged’ students from around the school’s neighbourhood.

After much convincing from NGOs, when parents from the slums of Rafiq Nagar line up at the BMC school for admissions, they return disappointed. Many parents, though illiterate, are often accompanied by NGO representatives or some educated person from the area, reminding the school of its obligation to give their children admission in accordance with the RTE Act, to which school authorities often turn a deaf ear.
“We have been taking children from our school, after training them with basic language and math, to enrol in BMC schools, but the administration always turns us down, stating reasons like ‘full classrooms’ or ‘ child won’t be able to cope up with studies’, etc,” said Fr Paul, director, Karunya trust, an NGO that runs ‘Gyaansathi’ an informal school.
Shashi Joshi, principal, Rafiq Nagar BMC School, argued that the children from the dump yard brought in by NGOs have never received a formal education and often create a ruckus in school, owing to their ‘upbringing’. “We have no problem admitting these kids to our school. But, as they have no knowledge of basics, it becomes embarrassing for us during inspection time. They make the school look bad,” said Joshi.
In addition to denying admission, the formation of the mandatory school management committee (SMC) too is incomplete. Under the RTE Act, all public schools have to form a management committee with representation from parents, teachers and activists from NGOs, and work just the way Parent-Teacher Associations do in private schools. It has the responsibility of looking over education and quality of hygiene, attendance of teachers, stationery distribution etc.
“We have been trying to get the school to register educated parents from the slums as candidates for SMC elections. But nothing has been done,” said Rose Joseph, project manager, Karunya Trust.
The 25% reservation rule was implemented for government-aided private schools as well. However, Jafri School, one of the largest private schools in Shivaji Nagar, has persistently denied admission to children living in slums. “People who come for admissions do so in the middle of the year. A certain protocol needs to be followed. We can’t break this,” said Ajex Verghese, principal.

Book scam: Minister formed panel, says DEO

Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 27, 2013
First Published: 09:27 IST(27/8/2013) | Last Updated: 11:14 IST(27/8/2013)
The Jindal Commission on Monday concluded the task of recording the evidence of all three suspended officials in the book scam case, with the submission of suspended district education officer (DEO) Vinod Kumar, who admitted to having tendered the supply of library books to the Mansa firm in question.

The very tendering procedure had come under the scanner of a central team that visited the state to look into the matter as the funds used to pay for the books were the central grants under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
The suspended DEO appeared before the commission on Monday and signed his statement, stating that education minister Sikander Singh Maluka had formed the three-member committee for purchases in the education department. He also explained the award of the tender to the Mansa-based firm, Friends Enterprise.
The education minister had significantly stated earlier that he had not formed the committee to make purchases but to monitor and keep the purchases in check.
The one-man Commission of Inquiry headed by retired district and sessions judge AN Jindal is yet to summon the minister and the principal secretary, school education, who had suspended the three officials after a separate departmental inquiry.
Vinod, along with other committee members, director public instructions (DPI) elementary education Pritpal Kaur and Punjab School Education Board finance officer Gurtej Singh, was suspended after the HT exposed the scam in which the Mansa firm was handpicked under the garb of a faulty tendering procedure that flouted all norms.
The said firm had got its certification changed form a pipes manufacturing company to a publishing firm from the excise and taxation department to come clean as a deserving firm for the tender to supply books.
The tender invitation had a major fault in the name of 'maximum discount' on the MRP mentioned on the books. However, the rates were decided after the selection of the said firm as the MRP on books was already escalated.
Another lacuna in the tendering was that the third firm applying for the award had offered "zero per cent" discount. There had to be at least three firms for the tendering procedure. Friends Enterprise had offered 15% and the second one mentioned 14%.
Gurtej Singh, whose suspension has been revoked, had stated in his evidence that he had no role to play in calling the tenders and that he was not even a signatory in the award of the tender to the Mansa firm.
Pritpal Kaur had also recorded her evidence before the Jindal panel two weeks ago, stating that she was part of the purchase committee.
The HT had run a series on the scam that how the three-member committee had faltered while inviting the tenders for the library books as well as the science lab kits, and on the misuse of the central grants under the SSA in May 2012.

Odisha: 14 Dalit Students left school for ever due to discrimination

Odisha: 14 Dalit Students left school for ever due to discrimination
Monday, August 26, 2013
- See more at: http://www.orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=43531#sthash.Ie1p8LE3.dpuf
Report by Akshya Rout, Jajpur: In the latest caste-bound controversy in Odisha's Jajpur district, over a dozen of dalit students left a government-run upper primary school for good while registering their protest against the removal of dalit cook by the school management.

There were in total 14 Dalit students of Gahirapala project Upper Primary school in village Gahirapala under Dasarathapur block and all of them under parental guidance availed school leaving certificate.

The school authorities had removed a dalit cook Janaki Jena from the school, triggering discontentment amongst the dalit students and parents. The dalit cook was replaced by a cook from the upper caste.

The head master and other teachers of the school segregated the upper caste and dalit students into two groups to provide mid-day meal in two rows for which many guardians of Dalit children protested against the caste discrimination of the teachers for which they abused many Dalit students and their parents, alleged a local, Narahari Jena.

"Three teachers had been misbehaving us on caste ground. They also segregated us from other upper caste students. Majority of the teachers never touch us and always brand us as 'untouchability', said Barsa Jena (11) a 5th class student of the school.

Hrusikesh Jena a guardian of a student also stated that the teachers of the school often abuse dalit students for which many dalit students were not going to the school .

Dalit children were also singled out in school and forced to sweep and mop classrooms and clean bathrooms. Bijaya Jena studies in Class IV . When asked about untouchability in school, he explains: "Ame Achuta (we are considered 'untouchable'), we are not allowed to take water from the drinking water from pot in the school. If we touch two teachers by mistake. They think we pollute them".
"The teachers don't want to handle our homework books so they are never corrected. I clean urinals and toilets", said Jena. "I clean toilets in school," said Samir Jena a bright lad studying in Class V. "Why do you do it?" when he was asked on Monday. He looks puzzled. To him it's a stupid question. Because the teacher tells me to do it."

When contacted , Laxman Murmu the headmaster of the school  said " We have been told that 14 Dalit students have left the school and have taking SLCs. I have directed the School Inspector and Welfare Extension Officer (WEO) to conduct an inquiry about the matter. After getting the report , the authority will take proper action against the culprits".

Laxmidhar Das the district inspector (DI) of school said “the dalit cook was removed as the upper caste students skipped the mid day meal.
Thus we were forced to engage a cook from the upper caste with consultation with school management committee. I visited the school and talked to the dalit parents. We have called upon the dalit parents to send back their wards to the school”.

Expressing concern over the continuation of age old practice of untouchablities, Prafulla Nayak a human right activist and the president of Pragati a social organization said that it was unfortunate that still the practice was prevailing in the villages. He was shocked over the children talking about discrimination of some particular castes. 
- See more at: http://www.orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=43531#sthash.Ie1p8LE3.dpuf
Odisha: 14 Dalit Students left school for ever due to discrimination
Monday, August 26, 2013

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Odisha: 14 Dalit Students left school for ever due to discrimination
Report by Akshya Rout, Jajpur: In the latest caste-bound controversy in Odisha's Jajpur district, over a dozen of dalit students left a government-run upper primary school for good while registering their protest against the removal of dalit cook by the school management.

There were in total 14 Dalit students of Gahirapala project Upper Primary school in village Gahirapala under Dasarathapur block and all of them under parental guidance availed school leaving certificate.

The school authorities had removed a dalit cook Janaki Jena from the school, triggering discontentment amongst the dalit students and parents. The dalit cook was replaced by a cook from the upper caste.

The head master and other teachers of the school segregated the upper caste and dalit students into two groups to provide mid-day meal in two rows for which many guardians of Dalit children protested against the caste discrimination of the teachers for which they abused many Dalit students and their parents, alleged a local, Narahari Jena.

"Three teachers had been misbehaving us on caste ground. They also segregated us from other upper caste students. Majority of the teachers never touch us and always brand us as 'untouchability', said Barsa Jena (11) a 5th class student of the school.

Hrusikesh Jena a guardian of a student also stated that the teachers of the school often abuse dalit students for which many dalit students were not going to the school .

Dalit children were also singled out in school and forced to sweep and mop classrooms and clean bathrooms. Bijaya Jena studies in Class IV . When asked about untouchability in school, he explains: "Ame Achuta (we are considered 'untouchable'), we are not allowed to take water from the drinking water from pot in the school. If we touch two teachers by mistake. They think we pollute them".
"The teachers don't want to handle our homework books so they are never corrected. I clean urinals and toilets", said Jena. "I clean toilets in school," said Samir Jena a bright lad studying in Class V. "Why do you do it?" when he was asked on Monday. He looks puzzled. To him it's a stupid question. Because the teacher tells me to do it."

When contacted , Laxman Murmu the headmaster of the school  said " We have been told that 14 Dalit students have left the school and have taking SLCs. I have directed the School Inspector and Welfare Extension Officer (WEO) to conduct an inquiry about the matter. After getting the report , the authority will take proper action against the culprits".

Laxmidhar Das the district inspector (DI) of school said “the dalit cook was removed as the upper caste students skipped the mid day meal.
Thus we were forced to engage a cook from the upper caste with consultation with school management committee. I visited the school and talked to the dalit parents. We have called upon the dalit parents to send back their wards to the school”.

Expressing concern over the continuation of age old practice of untouchablities, Prafulla Nayak a human right activist and the president of Pragati a social organization said that it was unfortunate that still the practice was prevailing in the villages. He was shocked over the children talking about discrimination of some particular castes. 
- See more at: http://www.orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=43531#sthash.Ie1p8LE3.dpuf

RDPR bodies to be roped in for RTE implementation

RDPR bodies to be roped in for RTE implementation

Published: 26th August 2013 08:28 AM
Last Updated: 26th August 2013 08:28 AM
The Education Department has made its first concrete attempt to rope in Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) bodies to ensure effective implementation and grievance redressal of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, more than a year after it was implemented here.
A proposal in this regard has been presented to the State government to identify Standing Committees for Education and Health of Zilla Panchayat as the local authority at the district level for various sections of the RTE Act and their corresponding duties.
The Taluk Panchayat (TP) Social Justice Committee has been identified at the taluk level for the same.
Till now, the implementation of the RTE rested with officials of the Education Department, such as Block Education Officers (BEOs), Deputy Directors of Public Instruction (DDPIs) and the School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs).
“There was confusion about the definition and jurisdiction of the local authority under the RTE Act. These committees will also receive complaints and address grievances as per Section 32 of the RTE Act,” said Subodh Yadav, State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
According to the proposal, the Zilla Panchayat Standing Committees on Education and Health will be responsible for providing free and compulsory elementary education to every child, ensuring availability of neighbourhood schools and non-discrimination of children from weaker sections. The Committees will also monitor admissions, attendance and completion of education, provision of infrastructure and  free transportation to children where no school exists and assure quality at the district level.
The only local authority identified at the Gram Panchayat level is the Civic Amenity Committee, which is supposed to maintain records of children up to the age of 14, ensure admission of migrant children and monitor functioning of schools in villages.
“The time frame for grievance redressal and administrative modalities required to support these committees to accept these responsibilities will require association with the RDPR Department at the government level,” Yadav said.
He added that the members of the  Committees would also require training on Right to Education Act. 
‘Lesson Learnt’
An official from the RDPR Secretariat pointed out that education is one of the 29 subjects handled by the Zilla Panchayat bodies.
“This is the first time we will be approached to specifically include RTE. We are very interested in this proposal,” the official said.
Many programmes of the Union government, such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and National Rural Health Mission, are implemented through a parallel structure headed by Deputy Commissioners (DCs).
“Perhaps, this is a lesson learnt. There is a need to involve these bodies in matters such as education. Over the last few years, many responsibilities have been taken away from the Standing Committees only to be implemented through the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs),” the official added.

Assam government notifies guidelines for engaging teachers in election related duties

Bikash Singh, ET Bureau Aug 26, 2013, 09.43PM IST

GUWAHATI: Assam Government in pursuance of Human Resource Development Guideline under Section 35 (1) of Right to Education ( RTE) Act, 2009 regarding the implementation of provisions of Section 27 and Election Commission of India's letter, has notified guidelines in connection with engaging teachers in Election related duties.
As per the notification, wherever teaching staff is put on duties of roll revision, the DEOs or EROs will prescribe holidays and non-teaching days and non-teaching hours as duty period for this work. Such appointees may be asked to avoid teaching days and teaching hours for undertaking the roll revision work. During roll revision, wherever the teachers are appointed as designated officers to make various forms such as Form 6, 7 etc. available to the voters and to receive the Forms from voters, the DEOs or EROs will prescribe a specific time during non-teaching hours for the purpose of providing and receiving such Forms. Preferably minimum one hour time immediately after the closure of teaching hours can be earmarked for the purpose. Depending on the prevailing teaching hours, the DEOs or EROs will issue specific instruction and bring the same to the knowledge of all political parties and to the public well in advance.
Again, wherever special campaign dates are prescribed during the revision period, such campaign will invariably be held on holidays only.
Besides, when an intensive revision is to be ordered, the schedule for revision will be devised keeping the availability of holidays in mind. If the door-to-door verification has to be done on teaching days, such verification may be asked to be done after teaching hours and on holidays.
It may also be mentioned that whenever the teachers are used as Booth Level Officers for the purpose of door-to-door verification, for finding out cases of photo mismatches in photo roll etc., the same exercise will be done during non-teaching hours and on holidays.
Furthermore, whenever needed, the period of enumeration work may be extended for this purpose so that the enumeration work is carried out without hampering the teaching hours.

Monday, March 17, 2014

‘3-year stay in Delhi must for EWS benefit’

‘3-year stay in Delhi must for EWS benefit’

 
 
NEW DELHI: Citing the "general tendency" of migrants to keep shifting from one city to another, the Delhi government has defended its criteria insisting on minimum three years residence in the city for them to avail EWS quota in private schools.

In an affidavit filed in the Delhi high court, the department of education has said the condition of continuous three years residency is imposed to ensure that the benefit of free ship in schools is received by children who are permanently residing in the state and can "fruitfully reap the benefits provided in the RTE Act in a private school."

Directorate of education (DoE) has argued the demand of three years residence proof from the poor, to permit them to avail of EWS free ship in private schools, doesn't cause hardship to migrants as government schools are in any case providing them unconditional admission. "Continuous residency for three years will ensure the applicant settles in Delhi permanently so that the child imbibes the education and values, and there is optimum utilization of the quota," the affidavit says explaining the three year proof clause in the DoE circular.

The affidavit came in response to an HC query on the validity of the circular that excludes migrant children from availing quota facility under the economically weaker section (EWS) category. The court is hearing a petition filed by a street vendor seeking EWS benefits for her five-year-old child in a private unaided school and assailing the circular on the ground that it violates his fundamental rights.

SDMC to hire agency to grade schools, those with low-grades to go for adoption

SDMC to hire agency to grade schools, those with low-grades to go for adoption

25 August 2013, New Delhi, Siddheshwar Shukla

The corporation has also prepared a draft policy for ‘school adoption scheme’ which has been circulated among the members of the education committee for suggestions.


South Delhi Municipal Corporation is going to hire either a company or expert body to grade its primary schools in terms of infrastructure, faculty and other facilities. The schools that get low grades would be put for adoption scheme.

‘A private body is being engaged for grading of the schools. We will soon float tenders to hire an expert agency for grading,’ said Satish Upadhayay, chairman of the SDMC education committee. 
The decision was taken in the meeting of the education committee on Friday in which director education of SDMC, Sushil Kumar asked the concerned officers to appoint the agency within a month’s time. 

‘Some of our schools are equipped with required facilities and adequate teachers are posted there while some others lack basic facilities,’ added Upadhayay. 
It was also proposed 
that schools having low number of students should be preferred for the adoption scheme.

The corporation has also prepared a draft policy for ‘school adoption scheme’ which has been circulated among the members of the education committee for suggestions. ‘The draft proposal has also been sent to leader of opposition, a Congress councillor and interested NGOs for further improvement,’ Upadhayay added. 

The corporation aims to launch the scheme in the next two to three months Corporate social responsibility (CSR) arms of several reputed groups such as Bharti Airtel, SRF Foundation, Azim Premji Foundation, Tech Mahindra Foundation, Akanksha Foundation, ARK Foundation and Modern School group have already shown interest in the scheme.

The corporation has also decided to hand over around 50 odd schools to some eminent sports groups on public-private partnership (PPP) basis. Under the scheme, these private parters would provide free training to students of SDMC schools apart from maintain play grounds. They will, however, be allowed to charge outsiders to recover their expenses.


http://www.millenniumpost.in/NewsContent.aspx?NID=36561

Of ends and beginnings

Thursday, 29 August 2013 - 9:44am IST | Agency: DNA
State mulls closure of 13,700 schools with less than 20 kids.
The state government is planning to shut down schools having less than 20 students. The move seeks to curb the “wastage of money”, besides consolidating the huge education infrastructure.
An official affiliated with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan said, “The school education department has identified over 13,700 such schools, including private and unaided institutions in the state, under the District Information System of Education Survey 2012. Of these, 3,779 schools have less than 10 students.”
On Tuesday, the department directed the municipal commissioners and CEOs of zilla parishads to find out if students studying in these schools can be shifted to other schools in the area as prescribed under the RTE Act. “The teachers, too, would be accommodated in other schools to maintain the teacher-student ratio,” said an official.
While a large number of these schools are in smaller cities and rural areas, those in Mumbai, too, are in the list.
A BMC official said, “We have been given a list of 26 schools with less than 20 students. The government has asked us to evaluate if students of these schools can be shifted to other schools. If schools are not available in the vicinity (as per the 1-km and 3-km norms for primary and secondary schools respectively), we have been asked to disburse transportation allowance to the kids.”
According to sources, these are mainly vernacular schools, some of which are being run due to the pressure of local corporators.

Aurangabad moves up in educational development index


Aurangabad moves up in educational development index


AURANGABAD: For the first time since the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was launched in 2003, Aurangabad district had the best results on two of the four indicators on quality of schooling as per the Educational Development Index (EDI) report 2012-13 released recently.

District education officers said Aurangabad was ranked first in terms of outcome index and second in terms of the overall EDI in the state.

The ministry of human resource development, Government of India, and the national university of educational planning and administration, New Delhi, initiated an effort to compute EDI in 2005-06. A set of 29 indicators were identified for evaluating EDI after the methodology was revised in 2009.

"The purpose of EDI is to summarize various aspects related to input, process and outcomes of various indicators and to identify geographical areas that lag behind in educational development," primary education officer Nitin Upasani at the zilla parishad said.

These indicators have been grouped under four categories namely, access, infrastructure, teacher and outcome. A separate index has been calculated for each of the four categories and EDI is an overall index of all these four indices.

Keep the model but check problems in PPPs: Montek

He has written to ministries seeking across-the-board changes from award to monitoring of projects, while asking govt agencies to check malfeasance

NEW DELHI: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, seen as the strongest proponent of public private partnership (PPP) projects, has admitted to "problems" but ruled out scrapping the model . Instead, he has started discussions on how the mechanism can be made to work better amid strong public criticism, which he acknowledges can be "legitimate".
 
Mr. Ahluwalia has written to ministries seeking across-the-board changes from award to monitoring of projects, while listing out several projects where developers have gained. From the consumer point of view, the biggest change is to be ushered in on the monitoring side as the plan panel has finally recognised that developers of roads and airports and those setting up power plants often fall short of service standards.
 
"In most cases the user charges are levied and recovered by force of law and since payment thereof is involuntary, users expect the government to ensure the promised level of service... Since the concessionaire is primarily guided by profit motive, he may try to save his costs and expense by cutting corners and shortchanging the users," a note circulated by Mr. Ahuluwalia said, while asking government agencies to step up monitoring to avoid charges of collusion. The document said while malfeasance in traditional contracts can be detected fairly early, it could take long to surface in PPP projects, but the consequences are far more significant.
 
Source & Credit: Dipak Kumar Dash, The Times of India

HRD Minister Dr. Pallam Raju Launches RTE Anthem

HRD Minister Dr. Pallam Raju Launches RTE Anthem

Thursday, August 29, 2013









Report by India Education bureau, New Delhi: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 mandates eight years of elementary education to all children in the 6 to 14 years age group. While supply side provisioning is being done by the Government, at the same time creation of demand in a rights based perspective is also of utmost importance. Different media tools have been used in this regard and the RTE Anthem is an attempt to do it in a joyful and child friendly manner, wherein children will imbibe the RTE message from popular public figures in a creative melody. 

National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) supported the Ministry in creating the Anthem, which has been written by renowned lyricist Shri Javed Akhtar and sung by Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan. The video of the Anthem features children from different part of the country and reflects the pan-India essence of RTE. The Anthem depicts child-centered principles and entitlements and has been shot in government schools. 

The anthem will be dubbed in English and 15 regional languages (Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Naga, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu) to generate constructive awareness among the community and stakeholders for the implementation of RTE. 

The melodious RTE Anthem was launched by Union Minister for HRD Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, in the presence of MoS HRD, Dr. Shashi Tharoor and also the lyricist and MP Shri Javed Akhtar. The Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to the RTE Act at the launch function. The function was attended by school children and also featured performances by students of Bal Bhawan. 

72 schools to face the music

BANGALORE: Non-compliance with the norms of the Right to Education Act could result in 72 schools in Karnataka losing government recognition. In a circular, the education department said 26 schools from Bangalore and 72 across the state will be derecognized.

Mysore district has 21 errant schools, the highest in the state, followed by Bangalore South with 15 and Bangalore North with 11. Of the 72 schools, 43 have violated the 25% reservation quota, 10 have gone to the court against the Act and 22 haven't implemented the Act for other reasons.

"All recognized unaided, CBSE and ICSE schools are suppose to implement the RTE Act," says the education department circular.

Incidentally, 1,849 schools in Karnataka haven't received any application under RTE. Of these, 217 are in Bangalore South and 130 in Bangalore North. The department also found that 198 schools lack basic amenities, 799 don't meet quality standards and 852 have neither basic amenities nor quality.

"The district-level education authority set up under the RTE also acts as grievance reddressal authority and can take legal action against these schools. The schools can be derecognized after taking a final order from this authority. If schools continue to function after recognition is withdrawn, other action will be taken against them," said the circular.

1,849 schools may lose recognition

1,849 schools may lose recognition

Published: 30th August 2013 09:41 AM
Last Updated: 30th August 2013 09:41 AM
As many as 1,849 unaided schools in the state are staring at the prospect of losing recognition as the state government is taking them to task for not implementing provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act this year.
These schools, according to a circular issued by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), did not receive applications from parents seeking seats under the 25 per cent quota for disadvantaged children.  Commissioner for Public Instruction, Mohammad Mohsin, told Express that notices have been issued to schools as per Section 18 of the RTE Act, before withdrawal of recognition.
“As per the Act, we have to take action against schools that have not implemented the RTE. When the government is allocating so much funds, schools are naturally obliged to comply,” Mohsin said.
The Department has identified 43 schools in the state that have violated provisions under Section 12(1)(c) that deals with the 25 per cent quota. Another 10 schools in the state have not implemented the RTE as they have moved court and 22 others for ‘other’ reasons. “Legal action should be taken against the 43 schools through district-level education regulation authorities. Steps will be taken to strengthen our case against schools in the court. Action will be taken against 22 schools after identifying the exact reasons,” the circular stated.
Based on the information provided by Deputy Directors of Public Instruction (DDPI), of the 1,849 schools, 198 were found lacking basic infrastructure, 799 were found not providing quality education and 852 schools did not have both. This includes 352 unaided schools identified in Bangalore (North, South and Rural).
K Padmavati, the DDPI of Bangalore South, which has 217 schools facing derecognition, said action will first be taken against 15 schools for rejecting RTE applications. When asked about the fate of children already enrolled, she said, “If these schools are shut down, we will ensure that children are accommodated in nearby schools.”
According to the circular, the recognition of schools that fail to fulfill the norms as prescribed will be withdrawn as per Section 19 of the RTE Act, along with the prescribed penalty under Section 18, which is a fine of `1 lakh.

Govt to crack whip on 1,924 schools for RTE violation

Govt to crack whip on 1,924 schools for RTE violation

Bangalore, Augst 29, 2013, DHNS:
The State government has identified 1,924 unaided primary schools (irrespective of their affiliation to any board and excluding minority institutions) which have allegedly failed to provide 25 per cent seats to students from economically weaker sections under the Right To Education (RTE) Act this academic year.

In a circular on August 26,2013, A Deva Prakash, Director, Public Instruction (Primary), said the deputy directors of public instruction (DDPIs) had categorised erring schools into two: those which have not admitted students at all under the 25-per cent quota under Section 12 (1) (c) of the RTE Act, and others which rejected RTE applications.

43 schools violated

In the first category, it was found that 43 schools violated the said clause, 10 have moved the court against the RTE Act and 22 others did not implement the legislation for various reasons.

In the second category, the department identified 1,849 schools which have not accepted RTE applications at all. Of them, 198 schools were found to be lacking infrastructure, 799 did not provide quality education and 852 others faced both the problems.

Meantime, the District-Level Education Regulation Authority (which redresses grievances under the RTE Act in the State) will have to look into the following:

In case of schools which have approached the court (under the first category), DPI officials have been asked to collect details of the court proceedings and update the department.

Schools which have not admitted children have been asked to explain their failure to comply with the Act and accordingly correct them.

Meanwhile, inspectors will be appointed to check whether schools meet all requirements under the RTE Act.

Once the authority gets the final report, schools found guilty of violations will lose recognition.

If schools are found to be running without recognition, appropriate action will be taken against them.

83 vacant education posts in Mumbai, reveals RTI

MUMBAI: The Right to Education (RTE) Act states that every child between the age group of 6-14 years of age should be enrolled in a school. While the state and the Mumbai education department is striving to ensure this, a recent query by an activist under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveals that about 83 posts in various branches of the education department are lying vacant.

"Everybody is talking about implementing RTE for the benefit of the students, but with so many posts lying vacant in the Mumbai education department, how are the officials planning to tackle the problem," said Chetan Pednekar, vice-president of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS).

"The officials are supposed to conduct regular inspections of schools and also ensure that schools aren't defaulting in implementation of the Act. But with the strength of officials much lower than required, there's a possibility that RTE is not being implemented well in the city," a shocked Pednekar said.

According to the data provided under the RTI, a total 83 posts are vacant in the north, west, south zone education office as well as the office of deputy director of education. These officers are from different grades and branches in Mumbai.

When TOI contacted the deputy director of education, he stated that some of the vacant posts have been filled at present. "Even the post of a clerk is filled by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) and applicants have to give an exam and pass, following which they are placed in different departments. As and when we are informed that a particular post is empty, we immediately inform the authority to sanction more officers," said N B Chavan, deputy director of school education. He also added that with officers at senior levels being transferred to education departments across the state, it becomes difficult to fill up the posts immediately. "But this has never affected our work and we ensure that the responsibility is shared aptly so that there are no loopholes," added Chavan.

NCPCR asks political parties to make child rights poll issue

NCPCR has written to all major political parties asking them to include a chapter in their manifestos on protection of rights of children.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Kushal Singh has issued the letter to the heads of all major political parties including (Congress), (), (), and (-m" target="_blank">CPI-M).

In the letter, Singh said that despite existing policies and institutions for implementation of child rights, the effective implementation of the legal and policy commitment, however, is still a challenge.

"Childrens' right to free and compulsory education, protection of children from sexual offences, elimination of child labour, prevention of child marriages are certain areas of concern which needs to be addressed," she said.

She also mentioned that providing protection to children of migrant workers, combating the skewed sex ratio and eliminating infanticide and female etc, are other areas which need focus and attention.

The NCPCR chairperson rued that a similar letter sent to all political parties by the panel before the Assembly polls that took place in many states between November and December last year had been ignored.

"I had addressed a letter to you on October 21, 2013, when Assembly election were to take place, with the request that your party should include the implementation of the rights of the children in the party's election manifesto.

"It is regretted that no reply to the above letter was received by the Commission," she said.

HRD ministry says not enough funds to improve education programmes

HRD ministry says not enough funds to improve education programmes

HRD ministry says it needs more than Rs.42,000 crore every year to smoothly operate the flagship programme
Comment E-mail Print
First Published: Sat, Aug 31 2013. 12 22 AM IST
The 12th Five-Year Plan documents underline that although the number of elementary schools has increased to 1.3 million, many schools lack the basic infrastructure facilities required under the Right to Education Act. Photo: Mint
The 12th Five-Year Plan documents underline that although the number of elementary schools has increased to 1.3 million, many schools lack the basic infrastructure facilities required under the Right to Education Act. Photo: Mint
Updated: Sat, Aug 31 2013. 12 30 AM IST
New Delhi: Despite several recommendations by Congress president Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) to improve Right to Education (RTE) outcomes, the human resource development (HRD) ministry seems to be going slow on it, citing lack of money.
The RTE Act, which came into force on 1 April 2010, mandates schooling for children in the 6-14 year age group. However, the NAC has pointed to the need for an institutional audit of the RTE’s implementation, seeking a review of enrolment, education infrastructure, vacant teachers’ posts, and training of teachers.
The HRD ministry on Friday gave a presentation to the NAC on the action it has taken on its recommendations. But the council seems to be dissatisfied with the progress and has asked the ministry to come back to it with more details and specific plans, two officials familiar with the development said.
“The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and RTE budget that the government is giving us is at least 40% less than what we require, that too at a time when states have been demanding more financial support,” said an HRD ministry official, requesting anonymity.
The SSA is the main implementing vehicle for the RTE Act. In the 2013-14 budget the Union government allocated Rs.27,258 crore for implementing the RTE, compared with Rs.25,555 crore the year before.
The HRD ministry says it needs more than Rs.42,000 crore every year to smoothly operate the flagship programme.
“The NAC recommendations are good and can improve the outcome of the Act, but at the current junction, we have to be realistic about what can be done and cannot be,” the official quoted above said.
The council, in recommendations made on 10 January, suggested forming an inter-ministerial coordination system involving three ministries—HRD, women and child development, and panchayati raj—for better implementation of the RTE Act and an institutional audit of 1.3 million schools to monitor, address grievances, and bring accountability to the system.
“The auditing of more than 1.3 million schools as suggested by the NAC is time-consuming as well as resource-heavy. The ministry does not have that much of finance to do it from the word go,” the ministry official said.
In its presentation, the HRD talked about the progress made on the NAC’s recommendations. “The presentation highlighted the achievements made in respect of improving access, equity and quality in school education through SSA. It highlighted the decline in dropout rates, enhanced enrolment of girls, SC (scheduled caste), STs (scheduled tribe) and minorities,” a release by the council said.
But “the HRD’s presentation in the meeting did not have any specifics on which of our recommendations were being accepted or rejected. So, we have requested them to appraise in a more detailed manner,” a council member, who attended the meeting and did not want to be named, said.
The HRD ministry official quoted earlier said the ministry is in favour of interministerial coordination for better implementation and added it has held a few rounds of interactions with four other ministries for RTE and mid-day meal schemes.
The 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) documents also underline that although “the number of elementary schools has increased to 13.04 lakh (1.3 million), many schools lack the basic infrastructure facilities required under the RTE Act. For example, the retention of girls in schools remains difficult given that over 63% of rural schools have no usable toilet facilities for them.”
In its recommendations, the NAC also suggested ending discrimination in schools, including preparing teachers to handle such issues, and budgetary provisions to promote equity and inclusion. The RTE reserves 25% of seats for underprivileged students living in the vicinity of schools.
Parth J. Shah, president of the Centre for Civil Society (CCS), a non-profit group working in education, said RTE has made huge progress in bringing more students to the classroom but there’s a need to focus on quality. “Unless, you focus on quality, the education outcome will remain questionable,” he said.
He also said that while 25% reservation for underprivileged students in private schools is important, the government cannot ignore the realities of state-run schools. Several organizations including CCS and the Central Square Foundation, a philanthropic venture capital fund, launched an RTE portal on Thursday to track the implementation of the Act.