New Delhi: Since its
implementation almost a year ago, nearly 12,000 cases of violation
of the Right to Education (RTE) Act have been registered in the
capital by a child rights body. There were cases of corporal
punishment, denial under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota
and mental harassment among others.
Amod Kanth, chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Protection of
Child Rights (DCPCR), said the body had registered a total of 11,725
cases pertaining to violation of the RTE Act in Delhi until February
"As per the RTE Act, DCPCR monitors its implementation in Delhi. We
have registered cases which involve violations of at least 20 kinds,
like screening tests before admissions, corporal punishment,
admission denial, mental harassment and others," Kanth told IANS.
The RTE Act, implemented April 1, 2010, promises free and compulsory
education to children between ages six and 14. Among other things it
says no child shall be denied admission for lack of documents or if
the admission cycle in the school is over. Disabled students should
also be enrolled in mainstream schools.
Also, while the provisions of the RTE Act are applicable for kids up
to Class 8, the Delhi government wants to extend its scope till
Complaints are pouring in.
"Initially, we had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports, but
gradually parents started approaching us and now it seems like the
floodgates have opened. Wherever required, we approach the school
authority concerned and the compliance level is as high as 95
percent," Kanth said.
While the nature of violation is varied, most of the complaints
coming to the DCPCR are denial of benefit of EWS quota. Schools are
supposed to reserve 25 percent of its seats for economically weak
sections of society.
"Complaints to do with the EWS quota are the highest and pertain to
private schools. For example, last month the father of an
eight-year-old approached us after his child was denied the benefit
of freeship under the EWS category. They were not well-to-do and the
man had to sell off everything because of a crisis," a DCPCR
The case was resolved after the commission intervened and issued a
notice to the school.
"Then again, there were complaints that after obtaining registration
form free of cost, parents were not invited to witness the draw of
lots under the EWS category. Taking cognisance of the matter,
notices were issued against such schools," the official added.
Recognising education as a fundamental right of a child, the
commission intervened when a public school in east Delhi threatened
to expel a child over non-payment of his school fee.
"Both the parents of Mayank Singh are in prison and there is no
other earning member in the family. So issuing a notice over
non-payment of fee was not just. We issued a notice to the school
after which he was allowed to continue studying in the school free
of cost," the official said.
The issue of corporal punishment was addressed in yet another case
when a student of a reputed public school in Karol Bagh was beaten
up by his mathematics teacher for not taking private tuition with
him. After the commission's intervention, the teacher, whose
services were on a contract basis, was terminated.
There was also a case of molestation of a girl child in a government
senior secondary school in Srinivaspuri in south Delhi. The
commission issued a notice to the school, after which the education
department conducted an inquiry. The charges were proved and both
the erring teacher and the principal were suspended.
"With the commission's intervention, 3,216 children have been
enrolled in schools in Delhi," Kanth said.
The main reason for these violations, Kanth said, is lack of
awareness among teachers, school authorities and parents alike. To
do its bit, the commission has been conducting awareness programmes
for teachers and others on the RTE Act.
"Teachers and schools have to realise that nearly half a million
children in Delhi alone are out of school and most of them are
homeless, working children and it is their responsibility to bring
those children to school. Across the country, the number is nearly
60 million," he said.
"The role of voluntary organisations is important in this, but it is
not mentioned in the RTE Act," Kanth added.
"It's a good sign however that people are slowly becoming more aware
of their rights under the RTE Act. And we can say that because the
frequency of complaints has increased manifold," he said.