Friday, March 7, 2014

20% Delhi schools with no Delhi Jal Board line

NEW DELHI: They've had three years to fall in step but, apparently, authorities of many government schools still don't know they can't deny admission to applicants for not being able to produce age-proof. A "status check" by Child Rights and You (CRY) and Alliance for People's Rights (APR) has reemphasized what a number of studies already showed—while Delhi is doing alright on some parameters set by the Right to Education Act 2009, it is hopelessly behind on others. A case in point—20% of sample schools do not have an authorized Delhi Jal Board %connection.

The CRY-APR study, released on Monday, September 30, covers 131 primary, primary and upper-primary, and upper-primary schools in seven districts of Delhi. The findings aren't encouraging. Where infrastructure is concerned—west and northwest Delhi—seem to be faring especially badly. In northwest Delhi, 44% of schools don't have a DJB connection, in west Delhi "none of the schools" had water available near toilets. In west Delhi—and this time, also in east—none of the sample schools had "hand washing facilities near toilets". Over 90% schools in northeast and north districts "asked for proof of age from a student seeking admission". The study doesn't cover learning outcomes.

School management committees are still missing in 28 percent of schools surveyed. The committees were put together in the last minute following a March 25, 2013, notification—issued a few days before the RTE Act implementation deadline of April 1—from the directorate of education. As per the Act, they are supposed to play an integral role in formulating the school development plan; but, of the schools surveyed, 76% prepared their plans without the inputs of the committees. The scant regard to these committees is evident from the fact that authorities of more than half the schools (58%) were not able to produce minutes of their meetings at the time of survey.

The report was released at a children's theatre festival which had "barriers in education" as topic. M M Vidyarthi of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights said that a fundamental issue with Delhi is absence of "concrete data". "For issues like child labour, there are no facts and figures before you. No concrete data, no family survey on the basis of which enrolment and retention should happen," Vidyarthi said. Ritu Narang from the national commission (NCPCR) said they are soon starting a website on which complaints can be registered directly and the action taken can be tracked by the complainant.

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