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Status of Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

:

The Delhi Story
2012-2013

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JOSH – Joint Operation for Social Help was formed in 2006 as part of the Right to Information campaign to work specifically with youth. Its main objective revolves around engaging youth on issues of transparency and accountability, especially on issues of education. JOSH works with both college and university youth as well as urban poor youth. JOSH's work on education is with a rights based approach, where along with young people it also engages the larger community to enable them to claim their rights.

Joint Operation for Social Help (JOSH) Head office: 3/15A, Lower Ground Floor Jangpura B New Delhi. Pin Code: 110014 Phone: +91 11 24373180 Field Office: 5/10-11, Trilokputi, East Delhi. Pin code: 110091. Phone: +91-8447867144 www.josh4india.org, josh4india@gmail.com

Edited by: Aheli Chowdhury & Abhishek Upadhyay

Designed by: K. Harish Singh Cover photo: S R Thomas Antony

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Table of Contents:

Section I: ...........................................................7 Introduction Section II:.........................................................16 Emerging Trends: The Delhi Story Section III:.......................................................30 The Seven Papers from Six Districts of Delhi a. b. c. d. e. f. Central District: Daryaganj North East District: Timarpur North West District: Rithala South West District: Munirka South District: Malviya Nagar South District: Nizamuddin Basti

Annexure:.....................................................138 • Brief introduction of the volunteers Abbreviations................................................148

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Section I

Introduction:
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education was passed in 2009 by the Government of India. The Right to Education is enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In India, after much public demand a constitutional amendment was made in 2002 to make education a fundamental right. It was the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, which added for the first time since the framing of the Constitution, a fundamental right to the Constitution of India. Through this amendment Article 21A, Article 45 and Article 51A were inserted to ensure that the state shall henceforth be law determined to ensure free and compulsory education to all children from six to fourteen years. After the Constitutional Amendment in 2002, India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act in 2009. It was notified and came into effect in the whole of the country on the 1st of April 2010. With the passage of this legislation India joined 135 countries of the world that have made delivery of free education a constitutional provision. This Act makes for a gamut of provisions that have the potential to mark a turning point in the status of delivery of education in the country. It provides for a justiciable legal framework that entitles all children between the ages of 6-14 years to an education of reasonable quality. It provides for children’s right to free and compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education. More importantly, it provides for the child’s right to education that is free from fear, stress and anxiety. There are several provisions in the Act, including for example, provisions prohibiting corporal punishment, detention and expulsion which may be seen a step towards ensuring that we have moved towards a system that, as the National Policy on Education states, provides ‘a warm, welcoming and encouraging approach for children to learn’ (NPE, 1986/92). Having mentioned the potential that this historic legislation promises, implementation has proved to be a different story. The RTE Act mandates the following timeline for implementation of provision:

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Activity Timeframe Establishment of neighborhood schools 3 years (by 31st March, 2013) Provision of school infrastructure • • • • • • • All weather school buildings One-classroom-one-teacher Head Teacher-cum-Office room Library Toilets, drinking water Barrier free access Playground, fencing, boundary walls

3 years (by 31st March, 2013) 3 years (by 31st March,

Provision of teachers as per prescribed Pupil Teacher Ratio 2013) Training of untrained teachers Quality interventions and other provisions

5 years (by 31st March 2015) With immediate effect

There are a whole host of issues that will crop up for the Government to address by March 31st, 2013 with only one year to go for delivery against the same. Therefore, having reached 31st of March of 2012, which marks the completion of the second year of the implementation of the Right to Education Act, it is critical to review the implementation so far. The present attempt is to understand the progress made on the implementation of the Right to Education Act made in the State of Delhi. This is seen to be an opportunity to initiate dialogue with the strands of civil society willing and able to engage with the government, seeking to implement RTE and at the same time work jointly to create a transparent and accountable mechanism of implementation.

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Background of the Project
As the March 31st ,2013 deadline for the implementation of RTE provisions in Delhi came closer, it became imperative for us to take a stock of the ground realities. Our experience of working in East Delhi had convinced us that the state of Delhi still has a long way to go before it could ensure a decent quality of primary education to its children. We felt that there were several deficiencies related to Infrastructure, School Management Committees, EWS admissions, Fees, Teacher availability and Quality of teaching. In order to translate our qualitative assessment into an objective status report, we decided to conduct a pan-Delhi survey of lower and lower middle-class neighborhoods and government schools to ascertain the state of implementation of various RTE provisions. This activity was undertaken by a large group of very capable and highly motivated young volunteers, coming from some of the most prestigious colleges of Delhi like IIT Delhi, St. Stephens, Delhi School of Economics, LSR, Hindu, Ramjas, Delhi College of Engineering, RLA, TERI University etc. Some students from Presidency College Kolkata, NUS Singapore and Punjab University also participated. In addition, some of our enthusiastic young volunteers from East Delhi conducted this activity in their own neighborhoods and produced a separate report. Overall, about 60 volunteers became a part of the project which was conducted between Nov 2012 and Feb 2013. The design, coordination and logistics support was provided by JOSH. We were also fortunate enough to receive academic support from Dr. Reetika Khera, Ms. Malini Ghosh and Ms. Kiran Bhatty –well known names in the social and academic sectors. The project was financially supported by VSO India. We also received technical inputs from Oxfam India. In the early stages of the project, crucial technical assistance was extended by volunteers from Google USA.  

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Methodology
The volunteers were divided into 6 teams comprising of 8-10 members each. Each team had to visit some lower or lower middle class neighborhood in a particular district assigned to it, and conduct household surveys. They were provided with detailed questionnaires with sections corresponding to various clauses of the RTE Act, which were to be filled after interviewing parents and children from each household. In addition, two separate questionnaires were to be filled while visiting government schools in the locality. Each team covered about 200 households and 5 schools. The whole process has been outlined in the diagram below:

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Each neighborhood chosen had about 800-1000 households, which were carefully mapped at the outset to identify the target households – the ones with at least one child in the 6-14 years age group. Out of this target set, 200 households were chosen randomly and interviewed for the survey. Care was taken to minimize the biases due to social, economic or family status of the households. One questionnaire each was filled by interviewing a parent and a child in the selected household. At the end of the survey process, a day-long awareness camp was conducted by each team on the following weekend to inform the people about the EWS admission process in the private school. Those who showed in interest in availing this quota got their names and addresses registered with us, and our volunteers followed it up with them to ensure that they could apply for it with proper documents. The last stage in the field work involved school visits by the volunteers, who interviewed the head teachers in nearby schools and took stock of the school infrastructure. These findings were recorded in separate questionnaires.

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Areas Covered:
The RTE Act is most relevant for those children who study in government schools. Our experience showed that it is mostly the urban lower of middle income households who send their children to these schools and consequently, we asked our teams to identify such neighborhoods in the districts allotted to them. The total number of household covered by the study is 1425. And the total number of schools covered is 29 schools.

SNo District
1. 2 3

North North West South
South

Neighborhoods Timarpur

Rithala : Bengali 205 Bzar, Pal Colony 200 Nizamuddin:

No of households 215

No of schools 4
3 3

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5

South West

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Central

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East

Nizamuddin basti Malviya Nagar: 200 Valmiki Camp, Indira Camp 200 Munirka: MN Camp, Saraswati Camp 205 Daryaganj: Maulana Azad basti, Takia Kale Khan basti
Trilokpuri 200

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Composition of Teams:
Each team was structured as follows: • • • 1 postgraduate student, preferably in Economics 3-4 undergraduate students of Engineering 2-3 undergraduate students in Humanities

This structuring was considered necessary since the entire process of survey and reporting involved some skills in data analysis, economics and considerable writing capability. The teams were given full freedom to report their findings in a manner of their choice, with only a broad framework prescribed.

The Report:
The present report is prepared based on the empirical data collected both through structured questionnaires as well as interviews and observations recorded by the surveyors. The surveyors were encourage to documents case studies and testimonies of children, teachers, parents, community members and others which have been included in the seven different papers that they have written. The second section of the report captures the general trends from the different data sets from all the seven areas that were surveyed. The third section comprises of individual papers written by the different teams based on the data collected and their experiences. Special attention was given not to interfere with the design and content of the individual papers written by the different teams, so as to retain their originality. The main aim of this report is to highlight the status of implementation of RTE Act in the different districts across Delhi.

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Section II

EMERGING TRENDS: The Delhi Story
This section of the report looks at the general trends that show up across different district of Delhi. The data gathered clearly showed that many provisions of the RTE Act have not been fully implemented in a majority of the government schools in Delhi. The performance of schools vis-à-vis the Act also exhibited inter-district variations. The detailed findings have been presented in the individual reports later, but an overall picture becomes clear when we consider the clause-by-clause statistics given below.

a) Access: Central to Right to Education Act is access to free and compulsory education to all children between6-14 years. However, in Delhi, access still remains a challenge, especially for the most marginalized. Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 QUESTION Was application fee taken? Was application form fee taken? Is any other fee collected in cash or kind during the academic year? Does your teacher ask you to bring money from home? Were the receipts given for any of the above? Was your child admitted in an age appropriate class? YES 11% 11% 8% 34% 13% 73% NO 83% 77% 75% 60% 74% 14%

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It is surprising that even almost three years of implementation of the Act, a significant percentage of parents have reported that some money has been taken from them, either in the name of admission fee or other heads during the academic year, without any receipts being issued. The data across almost all the districts mentioned that some fee for admission had been charged from them.

The two areas were very few or almost negligible number of parents reported admission form fee or admission fee been charged were Munirka and Trilokpuri. However, these parents and children in these areas reported other forms of fee like PTA funds, exam fees, ID cards etc were still been charged. Apart from admission related concerns, another worrying aspect is that even now 14% of the children have not been admitted to a class appropriate to their age. This not only points towards a lack of sensitivity on the part of the schools but also brings out a larger problem with the lack provisions of bridge courses to provide for separate training for children to enable them take admission into an age appropriate class. A positive finding was that in most districts, the enrolment was found to be near universal. However, in Rithala (North West district), a large number of children were still out of school, compelled by various socio-economic reasons. This area is predominantly a rag pickers colony, thus the data reveals that not only are children from the Muslim majority area constantly denied admission based on lack of documents but also pushed out of the school on grounds of their inability to catch up with others in school. This area also reported frequent fires and people losing all their essential documents in these fires. Therefore, it is critical that schools of such areas are especially sensitive to children from the most marginalized community such that they remain in school and get access to quality education with dignity. In other places, we found several instances where a child who once dropped out of school for some reasons was not able to get re-admitted for the want of proper documents. A shocking case surfaced in Nizamuddin where an entire group of children were forced to sit at home after an evening school that they were attending, run by DPS-Mathura Road shut down. These children have failed to get enrolled in any other government school as the certificates issued by the evening school were refused to be recognized by other schools in the area (for more details please refer to the Nizamuddin paper).

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b) Teachers:

Teachers are the foundation stone of delivery of education. With the state now promising education as a fundamental right to all children, the teachers now have huge responsibility on their shoulders. Both the number and quality of teachers is critical to a child’s education and holistic development. The RTE Act lays down several critical criteria to be fulfilled by teachers such that they can ensure quality education to all children.
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The data indicates: • • • • Shortage of teachers in almost all schools across Delhi Presence of contract teachers Teacher not trained on CCE Lack of teachers for extracurricular activities

Apart from shortage of teachers, the biggest challenge that data reveals is that teachers in almost all schools spent a large amount of their teaching time doing non teaching duties. The non teaching duties include, election duty, census duty, polio campaign and so on. Teachers also reported to be spending considerable amount of time doing clerical work within the school.

Though, quality remains a concern for both parents as well as children themselves, but on asking children if they liked their teachers, an overwhelming response from different areas pointed to the fact that children did like their teachers and they liked going to school. We were told about several incidents where the teachers brought stationery, books and sweets for children at their personal expenditure and went out of their way to help weak or underprivileged children. But such sensitivity wasn’t universal. At some places children (mostly girls) belonging to a particular group were asked to clean the classrooms, toilets and there were complaints of discrimination. Cases of discrimination were reported in bastis of Central Delhi, Rithala and others. At others, corporal punishment seemed to be the norm, despite the rules strictly prohibiting it. The data indicates that 46% of children reported to be beaten up by their teachers in school. The different papers reveal the stories of children who on facing constant physical and mental abuse have either dropped out or attend school with a constant fear of facing similar consequences again.

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Sl. No. 1 2 3

QUESTION Do you like your teacher? Do teachers beat up children? If you have problems with the teacher, do you complain?

YES 85% 46% 80%

NO 11% 42% 18%

The answer to the question about complains when posed, revealed that the in cases where children have raised a concern about corporal punishment or other such issues, it has been with their principals. However, in most cases they mentioned that either no action was taken or they were reprimanded later by their teachers. This points to the fact that there is need for mechanisms at the school level that would be sensitive to the needs of the children, where the child would be able to raise its concerns or complain without the fear of been reprimanded.

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c) Quality and Classroom Transaction:
Along with access to free and compulsory education, concern around quality of the delivery education is emerging as a major concern not only within India, but across the world. The phenomena of ‘learning crisis’ is looming large and there needs to be concrete steps taken to address this issue. The present study reveals abysmal state of literacy and numeracy amongst the children. Children reported that teachers often did not teach, instead encouraged them to take up private tuitions. Most areas reported parents to be spending Rs. 300-400 in a month for private tuition despite extreme economic conditions. Resorting to private tuition was found to be highest in Rithala, where parents mostly from the rag pickers community were forced to send their children to private tutors as the schools that they were attending failed to provide them quality education. While the data points to problems in terms of quality teaching, however, other aspects, that contribute to holistic development of children such as provisions of library facilities, sports facilities, infrastructure facilities and so on were also found to be in poor state. Responses from children, parents and surveyors’ visit to the school point to the fact that provisions of basic facilities like clean and functional toilets, drinking water still remains a challenge. Children carried water bottles from their homes and both girls and boys complained of unhygienic condition of toilets in their schools. Several case studies of children failing ill or not attending school due to poor infrastructure facilities, from the different districts explicitly reveal the status. Although the state of schools were found to be uniformly poor in most of the areas surveyed, however, the schools of Munirka and Trilokpuri were found to have done better in 21 terms of their infrastructure facilities.

Most children reported that their schools had library facilities, though only 35% reported that they were allowed to access the library and borrow books. Also in case of sports activities, though a large percentage of children reported presence of sports activities in schools, however, when asked if they were given any sports equipment to play, only 18% of children were given any sports equipments to play with.

Sl. Questions No 1. Are any s ports or other extra-curricular activities organized in your school? 2 Is there a functional toilet in your school? 3 Do you haveclean drinking water facility in school? 4 Can you borrow books from your library? YES 72% NO 23%

57% 63% 35%

25% 30% 49%

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As pointed out in the previous section, corporal punishment in form of both mental and physical abuse was found to be rampant in almost all the areas. Several case studies of indicating discrimination, callous and negligent behavior on the part of the school authorities have pushed out many children out of the school. Moreover, in terms of classroom teaching practices, the case studies records, that most children when asked said that they don’t ask their teachers for doubts and explanations for the fear for been reprimanded.

d) Inclusion:

Inclusive education seeks to bring all students together in one classroom and community, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses in any area, and seeks to maximize the potential of all students. With the RTE Act, policy makers and educationists have been talking about ways to universalise education and deliver quality education in an equitable and inclusive manner. Yet, the gaps in educational opportunities and achievements of different sets of students belonging to different class, social identity, gender and geographical locations have not been mitigated.
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Inclusive education, while bringing within its ambit groups of children especially marginalized, also brings into focus the overall access to education for those most deprived. The findings of the present study indicate to the gaps in implementation of the Act which has led to limiting the reach of the most marginalized to quality education. Presence of out of school children was reported in almost all the areas, with special mention of Rithala and Nizammuddin basti, where number of children was out of school. Cases of discrimination which has led to children dropping out were also reported in many of the areas surveyed (details of the cases can be found in individual papers) Provision of scholarships was also found to be a big challenge, where parents though reported to be receiving the scholarship, however, the amount varied widely. Most of the time the children would receive only a fraction of the entitlement, for which various reasons were cited by the schools. In Rithala, which is a predominantly Muslim rag pickers colony, the destruction of supporting documents in frequent fires left the entire basti without IDs or caste certificates. This has resulted in mass exclusion. The study also tried to capture the status of access of children with special needs to quality education. The response revealed that there are very few children with special needs in the schools surveyed. Only 23% of children reported that they had CWSN in their schools. The main reason cited by them for absence of CWSN was denial of admission, children dropping out due to lack of adequate care and attention, and lack of adequate infrastructure. However, amongst those who reported to have CWSN in their schools mentioned that 84% of cases, teachers gave special attention to these children, which was a positive trend.

SNo QUESTION Is the MDM distrib1. uted in the school of good quality? Do you like the mid 2. day meal that is served in your school? Is your child getting a 3. scholarship, if he/she is entitled for one? Are there children 4 with special needs in your school Are the children with 5 special needs given special attention by the teacher?

YES 46% 54% 78% 23% 84%

NO 36% 28% 22% 67% 16%

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Considering the provision of Mid Day Meal for children in schools, the quality of the meals received a thumbs-up in South Delhi while there were major complaints in Central and North Delhi. In some districts, a good number of students were taking lunch from their homes since they found the midday meals too unhygienic or bland. Nevertheless, we feel that the midday meals can be a tremendous success if proper standards are followed, since they would help in achieving the dual of objectives of higher enrolment and nutritional security for all children.

e) Community Participation and Grievance Redressal:

Participation of the community, parents and civil society in the functioning of schools is increasingly advocated as a form of accountability seeking mechanism. The Right to Education Act in India also lays down a mechanism of involving the community and the parents in the functioning and monitoring of the delivery of education in schools. One of the primary institutional provisions is School Management Committees (SMCs) that is mandated to be formed in all schools under the RTE Act.

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Status of School Management Committee (SMCs) in Delhi: The SMC offers potential space for educational machinery and communities to come together to create a joint process of synergy. The SMC follows the footprint of the previous models of parent teacher associations (PTAs) which have been present in schools by different names. Though the experience of such associations has not always been encouraging, especially due to the lack of clarity and institutionalization of such bodies, the SMCs hold a host of promise. The SMC for the first time in Delhi has been entrusted with the responsibility of not only monitoring the functioning of schools, but also of planning. Delay in notification of Delhi State rule was indicated by the education authorities as reason for the delay in notifying the formation of SMC in Delhi schools. However, even with passage of more than a year since the Delhi State rules have been notified, no official notification for formation of SMC have reached schools. The overwhelming response of the community as well as all the schools surveyed on the lack of any information or knowledge about SMC clearly indicates the negligent attitude of the Government of Delhi towards implementation of the crucial provision. Most of the school authorities mentioned that they are yet to receive any orders from the higher authorities about formation of SMCs. The only striking different response was recorded from Trilokpuri, where in all 5 MCD schools surveyed, SMCs have been formed. All these schools not only have formed the SMCs but have also started having meetings on second Saturdays of the month. Most of the SMCs in Trilokpuri schools were formed in the month of November 2012. The main reason that has contributed towards this was constant mobilization and campaigning done by JOSH in Trilokpuri since the enactment of the RTE Act around formation of SMC. Although the SMC formed in these MCD schools need much more hand holding and capacity building training for it to be able to effectively fulfill its function, however, Trilokpuri schools are definitely leading the way in terms of facilitating community participation and engagement.

S No. 1. 2. 3.

QUESTION

4.

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If you have problems with a teacher, do you complain? Have new SMC been formed? Have you ever been called for a parent teacher meeting to the school? Is there any platform/ space where you can raise your grievances of the school? Do you want to be given more space and scope to improve the functioning of the school?

YES
18%

NO

71% 99% 32%

0.7% 55%

12%

70%

70%

22%

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Grievance Redressal: As per section (32) of the RTE Act redressal of grievances is entrusted to the local authority. The local authority on receiving a grievance in form of a written complaint is supposed to redress the same within a period of three months. However, if the complainant is unsatisfied with the redressal, he/she may appeal to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) or any other authority constituted by the state for the required function. With RTE Act completing three years of implementation, there is still an enormous gap in terms of providing for effective grievance redressal mechanism in Delhi. The data collected across different districts of Delhi clearly indicates that large percentage of parents and community members have never complained or register a grievance. The reasons cited are varied. They mentioned lack of information of the different provisions as one reason, whereas the others mentioned that they were consistently insulted by the teachers and school authorities while trying to approach them with some concerns. They also mentioned that they don’t complain as they fear that their children will be reprimanded in response. The data also indicates that only 55% of the parents have ever been called by the school, and amongst them, parents pointed that they were only called to collect their child’s scholarship and not for the purpose of discussing with them about better functioning of the school or about progress of their children in terms of studies. Parents shared that there are no platforms for raising their grievances or for seeking information about any entitlement or progress of their children. The response of the parents revealed growing amount of mistrust and sense of alienation from the school authorities. They complained that the teachers don’t teach and the school authorities are involved in mishandling of scholarship amounts. While on the other hand teachers complained of the apathy of parents towards the education of their children. They complained that parents are sending their children to school only because of the scholarship amount. All these instances, point to that fact that perceptions were mainly fueled with the consistent lack of transparency and information sharing with parents and the community. Therefore, when the parents were asked whether they would like to be given more space and scope to improve the functioning of the school, 70% of the parents said ‘yes’. This response clearly points to the growing need amongst the parents and the larger community to enable them to engage meaningfully in the functioning of the school.

School Watch: Civil Society Initiative towards Grievance Redressal:
A landmark order was given by the Central Information Commission (CIC), the nodal body under the Right to Information Act in 2011. The Central Information Commission in response to a complaint filed under Right to Information Act by JOSH, issued an order directing all schools of both Government of Delhi and Municipal Corporation of Delhi to allow access to records of the schools to any citizen on the last working day of every month. This order was path breaking order as it for the first time in Delhi had opened up the doors of the school to the parents, and the larger community. This order has helped in providing a legitimate space for the parents and community to access information about the functioning of the schools as well as to raise the grievances.

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f)

EWS Admissions

The provision for reserving 25% seats in all private schools for children from Economically Weaker Sections is one of the most talked about sections of RTE in Delhi. There have been rulings by the Supreme Court, and various legal issues related to it are still being sorted out. However, even where the guidelines are clear, the private schools seem to have devised ingenious ways to evade this responsibility. Most private schools charge fees for issuing the EWS application form, and even ask for income certificates before issuing them. This, despite the clear guideline that the income proofs shall only be considered while the application is actually being made. Moreover, larger public schools in Delhi have often deterred the parents from applying for the EWS, citing the future necessity of additional payments (other than the fees) to create an impression that education won’t actually be “free”. Getting the income certificate has proved to be another hurdle for the EWS households. Most of such families find it difficult to have their applications attested by a gazette officer. In some cases, the schools have demanded income certificates even from BPL card holders which speaks volumes about the insincerity in implementing this provision in letter or spirit. The Rs. 1 lakh per annum income ceiling for EWS admission also creates some interesting (and unfortunate) scenarios. For people working under a private employer (as an un-registered employee), the firms are reluctant to issue a salary statement, which makes it further difficult for the concerned individual to apply for an income certificate to the SDM. In a country where 92% of the employment is in the informal sector, this effectively means that all the non-BPL families, earning below Rs 1 lakh per annum and having no personal access to a gazette officer simply cannot get an income certificate issued! There are lakhs of such families in Delhi. Also, the study revealed that most BPL families were reluctant to apply for EWS since it was anyway more expensive than sending their children to government schools, where free books, midday meals etc were an added benefit. So we have a situation where a BPL family doesn’t avail the EWS facility, while a non-BPL family with income below Rs 1 lakh per annum cannot apply for it due to difficulty in getting the income certificate, which leaves us with the question for whom are else will then get the EWS seat? The answer is that mostly people working as lower level employees in a private school are able to get admissions under the EWS quota since they are unaware of the details of the process. Rests of the seats are being filled by people having much higher incomes who manage to get fake certificates (which incidentally, are easier than getting a real certificate made). This defeats the entire purpose of the EWS quota. Then there are rules related to 1 km catchment area, citing which many schools have even refused to initiate the EWS admission process, since they are located in regions far away from any slum or slum-like settlements. Many others which have not yet been listed on the Delhi education website have cited this very reason to refuse EWS admissions. The information gap, lack of clarity on the rules, tedious procedures, lack of sincerity in implementation and non-transparent processes threaten the very spirit of the EWS quota.

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Conclusion: As RTE Act completes three years of implementation, Delhi, the national capital seems to be severely lagging behind in fulfilling its promise to provide quality education to its most marginalized citizens. The study conducted by 60 volunteers from different prominent colleges, institutes and university of Delhi in 6 districts reveal the widening gap between policy and its implementation. The main concerns pointed out by the study are: 1. Complete lack of awareness amongst children, parents and larger community about the provisions of RTE Act which is a major impediment of people exercising their fundamental right to education 2. Access to free and compulsory education still remain limited, especially in terms of denial of admission based on documents, admission and other fees been charged, denial of admission to children with special needs and lack of provisions to retain them meaningfully in schools and similar such issues 3. Lack of teachers on one hand and teachers been engaged in non teaching duties during teaching time on the other affecting teaching quality and learning outcomes 4. Widespread incidence of corporal punishment and cases of discrimination leading to pushing children out of school clearly violating the norm of ‘child centered’ learning of RTE Act 5. Lack of implementation effective grievance redressal mechanism and formation of SMC leading to growing alienation between the parents and schools. This has also lead to limited participation of the parents and community in functioning and management of the school Given the present situation, the following are the key areas of priorities: 1. There should be initiation of the process of formation of School Management Committee (SMC) in all schools of Delhi through an elected process giving parents space to influence the process and also capacity building of the SMCs. 2. Steps to be taken to encourage higher enrolment of children in schools, set up bridge courses in number commensurate with the number of children out of school and adequate steps to be taken to integrate out of school children 3. Recruitment and training of teachers needs to be initiated to address the acute shortage of teachers against the required PTR norms of RTE 4. Proper mapping exercise needs to be undertaken against the new norms for all schools, and provision of adequate infrastructure facilities should be provided in the schools 5. Effective grievance redressal mechanism needs to be put in place. There needs to be formulation of norms for defining grievances within the framework of the RTE provisions. Adequate norms of time bound redressal of these grievances needs to be also formulated. 6. Greater transparency and accountability of functioning of the education system needs to be attained. Most of the information, such as attendance records, circulars and other such information, available on the Delhi Government website is password protected and is inaccessible for people. 7. Higher budgetary allocation must be made to ensure effective implementation of the RTE Act 8. There should be efforts made towards inclusive education for all marginalized and excluded communities of children. Special focus needs to be given to integrate children with disability. Greater efforts need to be made for reaching out to children from Dalit and minority communities.

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Section III:

The Seven papers from six districts of Delhi

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Status of Right to Education A Survey on the Implementation of Right to Education Central Delhi District
Authors: Ankita Vij (IIT, Delhi), Annu Bhadouriya (DU), Divya Gupta (Socio. DSE), Divya Sebastian (St. Stephens. DU), Nehali Jain (IIT, Delhi), Sahil Dhankhar(IIT, Delhi), Sahil Loomba (IIT, Delhi), Samarth Shukla (IIT, Delhi), Vidisha Kanodia (IIT,Delhi)

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I.

Introduction

In 2002, when the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (abbreviated as RTE-Right to Education) was enshrined as a Fundamental Right in the Indian constitution, education was finally identified to be as vital as life and liberty. For an emerging economy like India, where a quarter 1 of the population is still illiterate, and as large as around 30 per cent2 of the entire population still lives below the poverty line, an Act like this becomes of paramount importance to take the country out of this poverty trap and hence to ensure inclusive growth and development of the nation. Education is, after all, the most potent agent of social mobility and children are the future of the nation. The National Capital Territory of Delhi, being the administration heart of the country, should ideally have been the pioneer of bringing this plan into effective action. Therefore, under the aegis of JOSH (Joint Operation for Social Help) a survey encompassing six major districts of Delhi was conducted with the aim to investigate and assess the implementation of RTE in Delhi schools. As part of the larger survey, this paper focuses on the survey conducted in the central district. The process began with a general overview of the slum areas of this region, on the basis of which the target area was zeroed down to two adjacent bastis (slums) near MCD Civic Center, New Delhi, viz. Maulana Azad Basti and Takia Kale Khan Basti.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela

Figure 1: One of the enumerators at work during the surve

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1 India has achieved a literacy rate of 74 per cent as per the Census 2011; Source: http://planningcommission.nic.in/aboutus/committee/wrkgrp12/hrd/wg_elementary1708.pdf 2 Source: http://planningcommission.nic.in/news/press_pov1903.pdf

Figure 2: Map showing location of the slums (Image Courtesy: Google Inc.) The Maulana Azad Basti consists of more than 500 households, living in temporary shanties and semi-pucca structures. Takia Kale Khan Basti, also consists of around 500 households, living mostly in makeshift structures of plastic and wood. • The majority of the males residing in these slums are employed in carpentry, repair-work, daily-wage labour work, or rag-picking. • The adult female population consists almost wholly of housewives. • Most children aged 6 to 14 years attend school, and the out-of-school percentage is quite low (around 3 to 4 per cent). • The population is primarily Muslim.

As it is succinctly compiled in the following sections, the awareness of the RTE among people was somewhat lacking, and many were unaware of the provisions and entitlements under the act. However, the parents living in these slums were fully aware of the benefits of education and so almost all the parents (more than 95 per cent) are sending their children to schools (including government and private). In fact, despite belonging to a different religious community, a large number of them are sending their children to a Sikh school located in a nearby gurudwara because they believe that “humein to bas shiksha 33 se matlab hai (all that we care for, is education)”.

Thus there’s no selection bias in the sample, in the sense that the population is ‘willing’ to send children to schools. Also, the populations of both the bastis belong to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the society. For all these reasons, the two slums posed as potential targets for the investigation. Economically Weaker Sections 3 (EWS) of the society. For all these reasons, the two slums posed as potential targets for the investigation. Both the bastis, were thus scanned, to identify the households that emerged as potential stakeholders of the act. After careful considerations of maintaining a uniform and representative sample space, the sample of total 230 households was taken. A week-long survey was then conducted by a team of 9 investigators. After rigorous surveying, the data collected from 2054 households was recorded and compiled for further quantitative and qualitative analysis, which is elaborated in the following sections of this report. The survey also included visits to schools. For the central district, school visit was done of a total of seven schools in the neighbourhood, like Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya and Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalayas (see Table 1 below). The general observation was that an overwhelming majority of the children go to government schools, and only very few, around 5 per cent attend Private schools, like Happy Public School and Herra Public School.

Government Schools

Private Schools

SKV, Bulbuli Khana Happy Public School SKV, Mata Sundri Herra Public School Sri Guru Har Kishan Girls Sr. Sec. School Asian Public School SBV, Rouse Avenue Kamlesh Balika Vidayalaya Nagar Nigam Aadarsh Prathmik Vidayalaya, Rouse Avenue Central Baptist Church School Bulbuli Khana (Urdu Medium)-GGMS SKV No. 1, Zeenat Mahal Anglo Arabic Sr. Sec. School Ramjas (No. 1) Sr. Sec. School

The core essence of this report is, thus, the right of all children to free and compulsory education. This report aims to share the concerns and the grievances of those affected by the RTE act with the State, so that the government’s efforts to implement the same are not rendered futile, and also to assess the quality of education, which would eventually aid improvements in the standards of education in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

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3 Households having annual income less than Rs.1 Lakh. 4 The remaining 25 households were rejected due to missing data.

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

― John F. Kennedy (35th US President)

The following sections of the report focus respectively on issues that might hamper effective implementation of the RTE, highlighting experiences, views and suggestions of the people of the two bastis surveyed.

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II. Status of awareness of RTE Act
As already mentioned above, the survey area is predominantly inhabited by communities which lie below or just above the poverty line. Majority of them were also uneducated, especially the adult females. Thus, none of them had knowledge about the RTE and its various provisions like the 25 per cent EWS quota for free admissions in private schools, SMCs (school management committee), different types of entitlements and their amounts (mainly scholarships)etc. On being asked about all these, most of them replied “yeh kya hota hai? humein nahi pata”. They were only somewhat aware of some of their entitlements. That is, the fact they are entitled to receive food (MDM) on daily basis and cash every six months. Since the amount of monetary entitlements vary depending upon social identity of the students, the class that they’re studying in and also on the type of school (government or government-aided or private), parents were clueless on the actual amount their child was entitled to. The Act provides for ‘free’ education of the children that is they are not required to pay any fees or charges that may prevent a child from pursuing and completing the elementary cycle of education. It implies that all expenses of whatever kind; be it educational expenses, sports expenses, transportation expenses, medical aid etc. are borne by the government. Since parents were not aware of all these, they end up spending considerable amounts on rickshaws for sending their children to schools and sometimes even at school fees. Nikhil, (14), studying in class 8th, of Navyug School (NDMC) reportedly, pays an annual tuition fee of Rs. 320 and a bus fee of Rs. 120 per month. Moreover, the RTE prohibits any form of money taking from the parents on any account. On the contrary, since both parents and children were not aware of this, as large as 38 per cent of the children were reportedly being asked to bring money from home for several different reasons like I-cards, educational trips, tickets for cancer funds, for communal harmony etc. (See Figure 3 below)

Figure 3: Question asked: Does your teacher ask you to bring money from home?

For this ticket, students were asked to bring Rs 5.

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Furthermore, parents’ awareness on EWS quotas in private schools was shockingly almost nil. Therefore, most of them were sending their children to government schools, even when they wanted to send them to private schools. Similar was the response on being asked about formation of SMCs in their children’s schools. They had never even heard of this term. All that they knew of was the concept of PTM (Parents-teachers meetings).

The RTE Act is indeed a powerful instrument to empower and educate the poor and under privileged. However, in the capital city of India, the Act seems handicapped by the very fact of people being quite unaware of it and its provisions, which call for an immediate need to educate people about the scope and benefits of the RTE Act.

(

“Mehru, mother of Mohd. Zuber, sends two of her youngest children, (6), to a private school. However, she was not aware of the provisions of the RTE Act. She was, thus, surprised to hear that she could admit her children to a private school free of cost and felt cheated.”

)

III. ACCESS
Access to education is a very critical tool, for it removes plenty other barriers in an individual’s way to a meaningful standard of life. Easy access to education depends on a large number of factors like proximity of the school, availability of resources like books etc. The survey found that although the government promises ease of access to education to each child, this is not true of the real picture for a large number of them.

The children of the slums surveyed are going to mainly eight government schools like SKV, Mata Sundri, Bulbuli Khana, Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidayalaya etc. (as mentioned in the Table 1 of Section I), locations of which are presented in the image below.

5 According to RTE Act, for classes I-V, neighbourhood means school within 1 km, for VI-VIII, within 3 km of walking 6 Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/only-57-per-cent-children-going-to-school-rte-act-report/1/134270.html

distance.

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Figure 4: Map showing location of schools (Image Courtesy: Google Inc.)

Clearly, all these schools are not within one or two km radius of the two bastis, as is promised by the government in its mention of the ‘neighbourhood ’ school. Except for one (SKV, Bulbuli Khana), all the schools covered under the social audit provided barrier free access, for children can go without facing difficulties like construction site or highway road etc. In matter of ‘out of school’ children, the government has always looked away from the reality. Whereby it has been well highlighted by media the poor attendance of students in schools , even the survey findings point in the same direction. Despite government claims of ‘none’ out of school child, the survey found that around 3-4 per cent of the children did not go to school, the main reason being migration. Other reasons included poor access in terms of heavy traffic roads, eveteasing outside some of the girls’ schools, indiscipline in schools and even because of the parents’ negligence towards and discrimination against the girl child.

-

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(

“You educate a man, you educate a man; you educate a woman, you educate a generation” - Brigham Young (American leader)

)

School dropout remains a persistent and critical issue in the schooling system. This problem is aggravated when parents have to migrate. This might take away the access to basic education from a child as he/she might never get admission in school. However, this problem can be dealt with efficiently if the dropout child gets age-appropriate 7 admission in schools. Despite such provisions, 15 per cent of the parents surveyed stated that their children were not admitted into age-appropriate classes. Age-appropriate admissions are indispensable because the out of school or the drop out children might have a tendency to feel embarrassed to study in the same class as children younger to them are studying in. Similar was the agony of the child living in Khalda's home, in Takia Kale Khan basti. “She has been in 5th class since last 5 years because at the end of each year she has to go to her village. She stated the embarrassment she faces on sharing the class with children about 5 years younger than her”. This might seriously affect the child’s ability to concentrate and learn; as is rightfully stated under ‘sarv shiksha abhiyan ’ that “the drop out children need extra attention and a feeling that they are welcome in the school.” The psychological sense that one belongs to the classroom and school community is considered a necessary prerequisite to the successful learning experience”.

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The basic infrastructure in schools leaves much to be desired. Provision of even the basic minimum facilities of water and sanitation has not been satisfactory along with poor maintenance. 30 per cent of the children and 33 per cent of the parents reported that there are non-functional toilets in their schools while 18 per cent of the children claimed that they do not get proper drinking water in the school. These figures were confirmed and reinforced during the social audit of seven schools wherein the investigators did not find any school which had regular toilets in hygienic conditions. They were smelly and unclean. Only the staff toilets were clean. All the schools had regular drinking water facilities. But the quality of water or water source in three of them, namely, Nagar Nigam Aadarsh Prathmik Vidyalaya, SKV, Bulbuli Khana and Anglo Arabic Sr. Sec. School, was such that the investigators did not find it fit enough to drink. Three schools did not have a proper playground and SKV, Bulbuli Khana did not even have proper seating arrangements for children, where 40-45 children had to squeeze in congested classrooms. For the society to be called ‘egalitarian’, it must grant equal rights to all its citizens, irrespective of caste, creed, gender, religion and even ‘ability’. Thus, for a nation with over 21 million people having a disability, it is vital to be sensitive to the needs of its disabled population, so as to achieve inclusive growth. The RTE is one such fair act which grants equal right to the children with disbility. However, schools have not been very receptive at their ends. 67 per cent of the children reported that there are no children with special needs in their schools. Parents and children added that these children go to special schools or don’t go to school at all. 24 per cent of these children are not given special attention by the teachers. Moreover, it was revealed during the school visits that, in 5 of the 7 schools surveyed, there were no adequate ramps for disabled children. Although, two schools, namely, SKV Mata Sundri and SBV Rouse Avenue had satisfactory infrastructure and even had disabled-friendly ramps.

It is important to acknowledge the fact that going to school is not enough for a child to acquire educated. Thus while a child may have access to school, he/she might not have easy access to quality education. This is what the survey found that while majority of the children were happy with school and its facilities, a large proportion of the children were unable to avail of good-quality education due to hurdles like inappropriate age admissions, lack of disability friendly facilities and poor maintenance of infrastructure etc.

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9 Source:

http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_And_You/disabled_population.aspx

IV.

TEACHERS

Teachers act as the intermediaries between Parents and the Education system and also are the most important medium of dissemination of education; they are both the direct source of knowledge, as well as the first contact of inquiry. Thus, the successful implementation of the RTE Act depends to a large extent on the successful involvement of the teachers. However, during the survey, many cases were reported wherein the teachers show improper treatment to the parents and no concern for their grievances. Mullah, mother of Alisha (11), complained that the teachers use vulgar language with them. Also, her complaints regarding any school-related or other problems are totally ignored, and no action is taken. This is mainly because of the class divide between the teachers who come from middle class and the parents who come from lower class. Chapter IV of the RTE Act states that “No child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment”. However, most of the children’s schools do not seem to comply by this direction of the RTE Act. For students, being beaten with a stick or a scale, or “murga banana” with the bags kept on their back are punishments just as normal as their daily affairs. Mohd. Aftab (10), states “jo shaitani karte hain, unki dande se pitai hoti hai”. Nisha, who hasn’t been to school since the last 5 months, says with tears in her eyes, “Ek baar kisi se ladai ke baad, principal ne mera bag le liya aur kabhi wapis nai kiya”. The incident affected the 10 year old to such an extent that she fears going to school now as she believes that she may have to face even harsher consequences.

(

“Husan, mother of Ikra, complained about the poor teaching quality and instead heard taunts that “since you are illiterate, so is your child. I can’t help it if she doesn’t study.”

)

(

“Tuba (10), daughter of Shahida, was once beaten to the extent that she had to be admitted to a hospital. The incident was followed by a court hearing”.

Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each. ” - Plato

)

“Shivani, resident of Maulana Azad Basti, is frequently asked to clean the classroom using broomstick, while others are not.”

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The impact of teacher’s behavior on many students can be seen in the figures given below. Figure 6: Do you go to school regularly?

Figure 5: Do you like going to school?

Figure 7: Do you like your teacher?

The major reason for dislike of teacher among these 16 per cent children was the fear of being beaten by the teacher. Due to this fear factor, they develop a tendency to become introvert and also lose their capability to focus and concentrate on learning. Sensitivity of teachers towards this psychology of children is clearly lacking, who only believe to maintain a status divide between the ‘teacher’ and the ‘student’. The extent of this disconnect is highlighted in the results below. In matters of any problems, a whopping 79 per cent of the children do not complain to the teacher. (See figure 8 below). One of the most important reasons being fear of getting scolded and that their complaints would be totally ignored. Mohd. Aftab (10) states an instance, “boys from outside enter the school and beat them up. Even on complaining to the teacher, no action is taken”.

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Figure 8: If you have problems do you complain?

In order to deal with the problem of school drop out, RTE provides for age-appropriate admissions in schools. However, it is important to note that age-appropriate admissions will not serve the true purpose unless those children do not get extra training to fill the learning gap. Thus, the survey also inquired whether the teachers were involved in “special training” sessions for age-appropriate classes. Sadly, the survey findings in this regard were disheartening, and in some cases, even disgusting. In 5 of the 7 schools surveyed, teachers were not providing any sort of extra training to such students who had missed schooling earlier due to some reasons, and had now taken age-appropriate admission. This is in clear contradiction of one of the provisions of RTE Act (section 4) which states that the child shall, upon induction into the age appropriate class, will receive special training. It adds, that the child will continue to receive special attention by the teacher to enable him/her to successfully integrate with the rest of the class, academically and emotionally. The schools have completely ‘washed off their hands’ from this reponsibiltiy of theirs. Worse, they pass on this responsibility to private tutors. As the principal of Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidyalaya, Rouse Avenue blatantly said that in case of age-appropriate admissions, in order to bridge the learning gap, they ask their students to join tuition classes.

“Principal of Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidayalaya suggests taking tuition classes to bridge the learning gap.” (On being asked about ‘special training’ for age-appropriate admissions)

The fact that most of the schools are unable to provide this extra training to children under age-appropraite admissions is reflective of the difficulties they’re facing in implementing this clause of the RTE, like financial and capacity issues. With already over-burdened teachers, its difficult for them to provide extra training after school hours. Moreover, due to lack of funds and other capacity constraints, schools cannot even have separate classes for these students.

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In the pursuit of providing equal access to disabled children as well, schools haven’t done well. The survey revealed that schools have failed in showing sensitivity to this segment of our children. Sama Banu, mother of Mohd. Sufian(8) who is speech impaired says “Hum jis bhi school jaate hain, wahan se nikal diya jaata hai ye kehke ki bachha bol nai sakta to admission nai diya jayega”. In only 1 of the 7 schools surveyed, was the teachers trained to work with children with special needs (CWSN). Thus, shamefully, the schools still are far behind in the crucial matter of dealing with CWSN. Just like a coin has two sides, it would be injustice, if the concerns of the teachers are not raised. Most of the teachers in the government schools surveyed were anguished at the fact that they were made to do large number of time-taking non-teaching duties like election duties, census duties, etc., even in places as far as Kashmir. Some of them even complained of being given menial but time-taking duties of distributing pamphlets in the households. These activities were reportedly undertaken during school hours, implying teachers’ inability to take classes and loss of learning to the students.

Insensitivity towards CWSN!

• •

Mohd. Sufian (8), a mute child, was denied admission to school, wherever he went. Only one of the 7 schools surveyed has imparted training to its teachers to deal with CWSN.

Without responsible teachers and active classrooms, the whole point of having a RTE falls flat on its face. If the Act is to succeed in its objective of “good-quality education”, it requires an honest commitment from the teachers, who must be trained well enough to handle the responsibilities thrust upon them by the Act. From all the above mentioned discussions, it can be safely concluded that there’s still lack of motivation and sensitivity among teachers to teach wholeheartedly and participate in shaping a child’s future.

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V. QUALITY AND CLASSROOM TRANSACTION

“Sameer (10) is a student of 5th class and cannot even write his own name, or do simple counting. He also complains that teachers do not come to the class to teach, they mostly stay in office or on phone.”

The fact that effective implementation of the RTE would lead to an increase in the gross enrolment ratio (GER) 10 has widely been acknowledged. India, as a nation, has achieved a GER as high as 115 per cent 11 . However, the quality of education imparted to these children has caught very little attention by and large, despite it being a vital and true deterministic of the learning that a child gets from the school.

Since providing quality education is one of the most important aims of the RTE, another important area of the investigation was whether children and their parents were happy with the quality of education they received from the schools. Sadly, the general response was of the sort, “5th class mein pahoch gayi hai, lekin fir bhi kuch nahi aata ise” or “school mein teacher padhati nahi thik se” and even this “school mein padhai hoti nahi, isliye tuition bhejna padta hai”. These responses reflect the abysmal state of Delhi’s schooling and hence raise concerns about the quality.

“Aisha, living in Takia Kale Khan basti complained that the teachers of her school keep gossiping amongst each other rather than teaching, and thus going to school is rather a waste of time.”

“Irfan Ali, (11) complains that his Hindi teacher talks on the phone throughout the class”

First and foremost, the major part of the responsibility of providing quality education falls on the shoulder of teachers. As has been very aptly put in a PROBE report (Public Report on Basic Education in India) 12 , “Whenever a teacher absconds from a classroom or a parent withdraws a child from school on flimsy grounds, or an employer exploits a child labourer, the fundamental right to education stands violated.” In the light of this statement, the survey finds that the RTE has in fact been violated number of times. “Bhoori, mother of Mohd. Aftab (10) complains that most of the teachers are not in the class only.” Her concerns were echoed by many other parents’ voices. Sabina’s (mother of two) grievances were no less; she has to bear additional burden of tuition classes because of poor quality of education in the schools.

“Yasmin, mother of Kurbaan (9), is very disappointed with the authorities in school. Kurbaan

During the investigation, it was shockingly exposed that many teachers would attend school only for the sake of their attendance, and seldom teach properly. Sakeena (10) grumbles that “teachers do not teach at all. She leaves the classroom amidst and never comes back”. Lots of other children also had similar complains of teacher not coming to the class at all and staying in the office or staff room or talking on the phone etc.

10 GER is the number of enrolled children of all ages against the total number of children in the official school age group. 11 Source: “Children in India, 2012”, available at http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/upload/Children_in_India_2012.pdf 12 Source: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/india/docs/public_report_basic_education_india.pdf Fi

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An ideal pupil-teacher ratio 13 (PTR) is very critical to ensure better learning inside the classroom. PTR in the schools showed a satisfactory trend (Refer to Table 2). Table 2: Pupil-Teacher Ratio in the schools surveye School No. of Students Approx. 950 1480 Approx. 1900 1089 125-134 More than 300 No. of Teachers Pupil - Teacher Ratio 25.6 25.9 25 29.4 41.6 – 44.6 More than 12

SKV, Mata Sundari Road SKV, Bulbuli Khana Anglo Arabic Senior Secondary School SKV No. 1, Zeenat Mahal Nagar Nigam Aadarsh Prathmik Vidyalaya Sri Guru Har Kishan Girls Sr. Sec. School

37 57 76 37 3 25

SBV, Rouse Avenue

1440

NA

NA

The investigation also revealed that upper primary and secondary classes in SKV, Bulbuli Khana, have the PTRs soaring as high as about 50:1. Clearly, acceptable teaching standards would be hard to maintain in such schools.

In order to impart better quality education, apart from the above mentioned classroom transactions, availability of extra-curricular activities is also vital. As they say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. The proverb thus truly captures the need for presence of these activities in a child’s life, which as per the RTE is the school’s responsibility to provide. The schools in the surveyed area have by and large failed in this dimension as well. As large as 46 per cent of the children claimed that there were no sports or other extra-curricular activities organised in the schools. Worse, 60 per cent of the children reported that they didn’t receive any equipment to play with in schools. (See figures 9 and 10). In fact, of the seven schools surveyed, three did not even have a usable playground. Shivani, mother of four, complains against the same fact that in her daughter’s school, dance is taught only beyond 6th class.

(Tarannum, a student of 3rd

class, expresses her desire to learn dance because she likes to dance a lot. But unfortunately, in her school, dance and music is taught only to students of elder classes.

)

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13

Pupil-teacher ratio is the number of students per teacher. According to section 25 of the RTE, the ideal PTR is 30:1.

Figure 9.

Figure 10.

Several other factors which were found to affect quality of education included lack of proper care of children in the schools. Rihaan and Arman’s mother emphasizes that her children’s schoolmates are always fighting with each other and the teachers don’t bother to help resolve any fights. She, thus, fears the safety of her children in the school. Other factors included lack of resource help from the school, as can be seen in the figure below.

Figure 11.

Thus, on the basis of the above analysis, the survey, on a whole found serious concerns with the quality of education that children receive, not just in terms of teacher’s responsibilities, but also other facilities and infrastructure. These concerns need to be resolved imperatively because only good quality education can serve as a sound as well as strong base for the development of a society.

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VI. ENTITLEMENTS
Entitlements for school children are conceived by the planners as ‘part of the approach of government’ to motivate parents belonging to poor and disadvantaged groups, to send their wards to school so that obstacles like poverty, social identity or gender do not come in a child’s way to being educated. The RTE act guarantees certain entitlements for children belonging to economically weaker sections, which include free textbooks and a predefined scholarship amount for the uniform. Further, there are monetary benefits for those belonging to minority social groups (like for Muslims) and socially backward classes (like for SC/ST/OBC 14). Apart from these monetary benefits, there is the Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme initiated by the government. It is a centrally sponsored scheme in which students of elementary school (standard I to VIII) are provided hot-cooked meal every day, during the lunch break of the school hours.

These incentive schemes are of great benefit to the disadvantaged children, mainly in terms of enhancing attendance and building abilities. Parents surveyed by the JOSH team in the central district, also tended to share this view. Thus, its potential usefulness cannot be doubted. The main problem, however, seems to be in its faulty and half-hearted implementation.

The tardiness in provision of these entitlements was a common complaint in the survey findings. It was reported that many parents criticized the delay in the payment of the scholarship amounts. Not only was the timing erratic, the amount received was often far less than the amount due. Rehana, mother of Mohd. Azad, complained that out of the full scholarship amount of Rs.1500, Rs.500 was kept with the school itself for the reason they didn’t know. Nabiya, (8) has reportedly received no scholarship amount yet. Moreover her family had to bear the expense on shoes and uniform themselves. These cases of nonpayment of the scholarship amount often raise the question, where does the allocated money go? The consequences of the erratic supplies of these benefits are particularly serious in the case of textbooks which might even disrupt the learning process. Some schools have gone to the extent of threatening the parents saying “hum tumhare bache ko paisa nahi denge agar who jada chhutee marega toh”. Other school officials alleged, “This time we have not received the scholarship amount from the government only and therefore, nothing can be done about it.” Svaleen (12), once fell ill with typhoid and didn’t receive her yearly scholarship because of her prolonged absence.

“Ikra (8), studying in class 3rd complains that she receives the textbooks only when half of the annual syllabus has already been completed.” “Rana, mother of Khushnuma (aged 10 years in class 3rd) says that no scholarship has been received in the past two years. The school authorities say that “your children will not get any money!”

Thus, although the main aim of these monetary schemes is to incentivize parents to send children to school; however, if parents lose confidence in these schemes on account of insufficient amount, delay in delivery, and sometimes even non-delivery, then the very purpose of such schemes, which is ‘to create incentives’ is not served.

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14 SC-Scheduled Caste, ST- Scheduled Tribe, OBC- Other Backward Classes

Besides this incentive argument, such schemes also aim to ensure proper nutrition to the child, which is vital for developing his/her cognitive ability because hungry children are unlikely to be good learners. Thus, the MDM scheme was introduced with twin objectives of enhancing school enrolment and improving nutritional levels. Moreover, the scheme, secretly, also helps to impart social message of equality to children as sitting together and sharing a meal helps to erode the barriers of class and (especially) caste.

This picture of ‘poori and sabzi’ offered as MDM in one of the children’s school, shows the true story. The poori looks rather stale and the aloo sabzi improperly cooked!

“Mohd. Arman (12) complains that he never gets to taste the MDM served in his school and he always gets his lunch from home. He says that the elder boys from class nine to twelve bully him and finish up all the food before the younger ones can reach. Her mother adds, complaining, that there are 6000 children and only two containers of food arrives, how is it supposed to fill the stomachs of all the children?”

But in achieving all these objectives, the quality of the MDM plays an indispensable role, which however, persists to remain a matter of real concern. Sadly, the survey findings pointed in the similar direction. As large as 34 per cent (see Figure 12 below) of the children surveyed didn’t like the MDM they got served in schools and hence preferred to take home-made lunch. Mother of Ijzhad (12), complains against the quality of the MDM distributed in schools and states that children don’t like it because it is almost like ‘boiled food’. Thus, the MDM scheme initiated for an advantageous purpose instead has proven to be much the inverse.

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Figure 12

(“Shabana, mother of Sva-

leen, has complains of finding kankad (grit) in the rice and even insects in the food distributed as MDM in her daughter’s school”. )

Another lesser highlighted, but extremely important component of the MDM food which needs to be assessed is the nutrition value of the meal. Although, the nutrient content is largely unobservable, the MDM ‘menu’ can however serve as a good proxy for that. As the survey found out, the menu was not a comprehensive one which would provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals. It is mainly composed of rice and pulses and sometimes poori and halwa. In fact, a large proportion, around 30 per cent (see Figure 13) of the children did not even like the menu of the MDM served. They wished to include other varieties too like chapati, biryani etc. For this issue in particular, the case of the Rajasthan government can serve as an ideal for the Delhi government, which has recently decided to include milk in its ambitious project to start from March 2013 15 . This will provide children with the vital vitamins A and D. Figure 13.

The efforts of the government in introducing all these benefit-schemes need to be appreciated. However, they stand futile until implemented successfully. At the same time, learning from the success stories of other states should be replicated in Delhi too, to make schemes work more effectively.

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15Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/rajasthan-to-supply-enriched-milk/article4294167.ece

VII. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL
Community participation in education means participation of all stakeholders (most importantly parents and teachers) in a child’s education at a common platform. Pauline Rose16 has rightly stated community participation in education is seen as a way to increase resources, improve accountability of schools to the community they serve, ensure a more cost-effective use of resources and, importantly, be responsive to local needs. As a result, it intends to improve equitable access, retention, quality and performance of schooling.

The Act requires that a SMC be set up consisting of at least three-fourth parent-members with the chairman being an elected parent, with adequate representation of parents of children from disadvantaged communities and at least 50 per cent members to be women. The SMCs have been given the following functions: 1. 2. 3. 4. Monitor the working of the school Prepare and recommend the school development plan Monitor the utilization of grants Perform other functions as may be prescribed

Further, in the model rules, teachers have been made accountable to the SMCs. This will have a far reaching impact on the performance of teachers as well as accountability of the school as a whole towards each child’s education and development.

One of the major aspects of RTE involving grievance redressal and community participation are still not acknowledged. As is already stated in one of the above sections, the parents have no clue about these provisions of RTE. Worse; even the schools seem to have lots of apprehensions and self-conceived notions about SMCs and their guidelines. On being asked about the formation of SMCs by one of our enumerators, the principal of Sri Guru Har Kishan Girls Sr. Sec. School answered that “these are mainly for private schools”. This shows the lack of information dissemination regarding SMCs or even if there is any information, there’s lack of clarity regarding the same, especially among parents. (See figure 14 below). The displayed results were either because they weren’t aware of it, or because there was no SMC only at the first place; both of these reasons are as compelling.

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16 Communities, gender and education: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa, Background paper for 2003 UNESCO Global Monitoring Report by Pauline Rose

Figure 14. Has a new SMC been found since April 2010?

Leave alone the SMC’s, as the survey found out, as large as 33 per cent of the parents are not summoned upon by school teachers or principal, even for the regular parent teachers meeting in some of the schools. They are only called to collect the scholarship amounts, which is distributed either once a year or twice a year. (See figure 15)

Figure 15.

“Shabana, mother of Svaleen, complains that they’re not allowed to talk to the principal. On complaining to the teachers, they’re asked to make the children join tuition classes.”

Moreover, due to unfriendly and ruthless treatment meted out to the parents (as already elaborated in the section above) parents fear to approach the teachers on their own. As Mohd. Ahmed (father) shared his grief “voh(teachers) toh bade log hein, voh humari baatein kahaan sunenge!”. Thus, as a result, parents end up not complaining to the teachers of the principal, due to the fear of getting insulted or even worse, that their children might get expelled from the school. Only around 35 per cent of the parents complain when they have any problems regarding the school. These results only reflect the ‘class divide’ between schools and parents and hence poor representation of the parents’ grievances and suggestions at school level.

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Figure 16: If you have a problem regarding the school, do you complain?

“Heeba, daughter of Shehnaz says that the children are threatened that if they complain at home, they'll be scolded.”

Even if the parents complain, it’s not sure that their grievances are duly heard or appropriate action taken. As the survey found out, it was only for 56 per of the cases that action was duly taken followed by the parents’ complaints. Clearly, the system of communication between parents and teachers is rather opaque. Thankfully, in the midst of such a dampening response, the survey also found some schools like SKV Bulbuli Khana, Asaf Ali Road, where the teachers as well as the principal are very supportive. One of the kids said “Principal ma’am bohot acchi aur pyaari hein. Voh humari saari batein sunti hein”. Therefore, the time has now come to flip sides with a new hope that the initiative taken by some schools would serve as an inspiration to the rest.

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VIII.

EWS ADMISSIONS

Getting his child educated in a private school has always been a poor man’s dream, accompanied by a bitter realization though that his this dream will indeed never get true. However, the RTE Act promises to make it a reality to get this dream fulfilled. Section 12 of the RTE Act has made it compulsory for every private unaided school to admit at least 25 per cent of its entry level class from children belonging to weaker and disadvantaged groups. For this category of students, the state government shall reimburse schools an amount equal to either the fees charged by the school or the per child expenditure in state schools, whichever is lower. Despite wavering perceptions on the applicability of this provision a huge number of unprivileged children would benefit immensely through this reservation. “The Delhi High Court on September 24, 2012 ordered all city schools — private, public and even minority schools to provide EWS reservation in all classes”17 . However, sadly, gaining admission in private schools in the EWS category remains a daunting task for poor parents and often ends in frustration. The survey revealed that parents are deeply disillusioned by the government’s shoddy and apathetic attitude in enforcing this quota in private schools. Inability to produce documents like, income affidavit, and resident certificate, which are the minimum necessary requirements to get admissions under EWS quota as laid down by the government, leads to rejection of their application for EWS quota eligibility. The difficulties faced by residents of these slums were even harsher, as both the bastis were, reportedly, affected by a recent fire accident. As a consequence, their houses, their clothes and all the documents were burnt in fire. The brunt of the unfortunate incident is still borne by the parents who are unable to produce these documents for admissions under EWS quota.

“Mohd. Mustafa's mother could not obtain the admission form in a private school because she was unable to produce an income affidavit before them. Unfortunately, she didn’t even admit Mustafa to a government school, which means he's not going to any school this year”.

“Ashia, mother of Mohd. Umar Farooq and Mohd. was enthusiastic for getting free admissions for her children in private schools, however, she could not do so because of inability to get the income affidavit, even after having gone to the SDM office. She had the ration card which wasn’t sufficient.

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17 Source: “EWS quota a must for all classes in schools: HC” available at http://dailypioneer.com/city/96929-ews-quota-a-must-for-all-classes-inschools-hc.html

The HC order introduced a neighborhood criterion for admitting children from EWS category, according to which admission shall first be offered to eligible students belonging to EWS and disadvantaged group residing ‘within 1 km.’ of the specific schools.” And should EWS seats remain unfilled, only then can applicants residing within 3 km (and then subsequently to 6 km) be considered. Ironically, most of the private schools tend to be concentrated in urban spaces that are less likely to fall within 1 km radius of poorer neighborhoods, because of which the efforts of the poor parents who apply to schools which actually aren’t in their “neighborhood” are washed down the drain. In fact, this was what was observed for the survey area. There are no private schools within 1 km distance (which the act gives priority to) of these bastis near Daryaganj. The nearest private schools are no less than 5-6 km. So Although according to the HC order, ‘all’ city schools must provide EWS reservation in pre-primary class and first class at entry level, however, reality is far away from this. The schools which fit in all the requirements of parents with respect to access, locality etc. aren’t actually listed for providing admissions under the EWS quota. For instance, for the central district, only two schools18 near this basti, in the complete Daryaganj area, actually reserve 25 per cent of their seats for EWS. In a nutshell, the major problems faced by the parents who wished to fill up EWS forms were; lack of number of schools listed under EWS scheme in their locality, inability to submit income affidavit and five-year residency proofs, and for some odd cases, unavailability of forms in schools.

“Awas (6) and Sania(7), two siblings whose family are migrants from a village in UP could not admit her kids in a private school because their parents could not produce the 5 year resident certificate.”

“Khursheed Aalam, father of Sahasta (6) and Nursheed (3), had wished to get both his children admitted into good private schools. But could not do so because the schools where seats for nursery and 1st class admissions were available are quite far away from his home.”

“Tohid Abdullah (6) wanted admission in a private school (Asian Public School), but sadly, this school wasn’t even listed on the govt. website.”

Thus, the provision of free admissions for EWS, though intended to serve quite a bigger section of the society, has currently failed to meet its expectations. While there is a lot of hue and cry that the RTE is being implemented, the reality seems to be a series of hurdles which eventually frustrate parents and leave them distraught and hopeless.

18 Source:

www.edudel.nic.in

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IX. CONCLUDING REMARKS
It is widely acknowledged a fact how powerful a tool the RTE Act can be, if implemented effectively. This is so because education is the primary tool for alleviating poverty which can have multiplier effects for the nation’s development. The survey was thus conducted with the primary goal of assessing RTE’s implementation in Delhi’s schools. The overall picture that the survey reflects is rather a disappointing one. The access to education wasn’t easy for children residing in these poor slums. Not all the schools were located in the ‘neighborhood’ as defined by the government. Further, majority of the schools surveyed haven’t provided even the basic minimum facilities of water and sanitation. Schools were, in particular, found cold and insensitive to the needs of the disabled children. Majority of the schools did not have proper ramps. Further, most of the teachers were not trained to deal with CWSN. Apart from above all, the major problem areas were found to be poor quality of education and non-transparent grievance and redressal mechanism for parents. The quality of education was found to be dissatisfactory in terms of teacher’s behavior and their commitment to their jobs; teacher-pupil ratio and also extracurricular activities and other facilities. Teachers, reportedly, often show rude and inappropriate treatment to children and their parents. Shockingly, corporal punishment was almost omnipresent in almost all the schools that these children went to. For fair address and redressal of the parents’ grievances, there were none appropriate platforms, except for PTMs and for that too, parents weren’t called on regular basis. The idea of SMCs was rather lost as both the schools and the parents were puzzled about it. Another critical problem area was tardy implementation with respect to various benefit schemes that the children were entitled to. Besides delayed delivery, even non-delivery of these entitlements was prominent. The quality of the MDM food was also found to be matter of concern. Thus, it is high time to wake up to the realities our education system is facing, rather than sleeping and keep dreaming of an ideal state. The effective implementation of RTE is the only way to achieve larger goals of growth and development, for which there’s still a long way to go.

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Right to Education Survey on the Implementation of Right to Education in Timarpur District ( New Delhi)

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Education is a privilege as well as the route out of poverty for millions of children in our country. JOSH4INDIA is dedicated to the cause of spreading knowledge and enriching the lives of these children who truly deserve a better place in the society. This Project on ‘The status of RTE’ is an endeavor to bring in light the deplorable state of education in the national capital and spread awareness among the EWS regarding their rights and privileges. This report is a part of the project which was initiated through a field survey followed by campaigning for EWS admissions and social inspection in government schools. The drafting team of the report comprises of students of IIT Delhi and Delhi University:

Authors
Shreya Chaturvedi (BSc. Life Sciences, DU) Teesha Chugh (English Hons., DU) Jyoti Shorewala (M.A. Eco, DSE) Prateek Shamkumar (IIT, Delhi) Keshav Kumar (IIT Delhi) Mayank Tyagi (IIT Delhi)

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I. Introduction
The present report is based upon the research work done through a field study in the Timarpur district of Delhi. The slum area of this district in North Delhi is located very close to the main campus of the Delhi University. There are multiple bastis within a kilometer with more than 500 families in each basti and a total population of about 10,000 people. Within the area of two square kilometers there are about 6 senior Secondary and 2 primary schools. But most of the children living in the basti we surveyed went to the following four schools in the vicinity- Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV)Timarpur, Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya (SBV)Timarpur, Sarvodaya Vidyalaya(SV) Lancer Road and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) primary school.

The map shows the Harijan Basti with SKV and MCD schools

The area has a Hindu majority, with a good percentage of Dalit and Muslim households as well. Significant inter-community variation was observed with respect to the awareness of major RTE norms. It was our serious concern that the underprivileged from various castes, sexes or religions are represented adequately in the survey sample so as to ensure that any form of discrimination and community conflicts comes into light. Our team of 8 highly-motivated volunteers reached out to each and every possible household. It was difficult to divide the area as the households were haphazardly numbered and some people did not even remember their house number. The people of the basti were very welcoming and helped us in the mapping activity.

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During the course of our field work we interacted with about 250 households to find out how things have changed for them post the passing of the act. The children talked about their teachers, the food (Mid-Day Meal) and their desire to go to private schools (in some cases). The report would discuss the status of implementation of some significant provisions of the Act such as free admission to age appropriate class, School Management Committee (SMC), Scholarships, Admissions under EWS quota etc., based on the responses of students, parents and teachers.

We reached out to another basti called Indira basti to expand the scope and reach of our survey. Surprisingly the people of the new basti also had the same things to say but they opened up easily and were, comparatively, financially better off. Cases of corporal punishment, mental and physical harassment, discrimination, abuse of power etc. were noticed in both the places. Some of them have been accommodated in the report in the sections that follow.

II. State of awareness of the RTE Act
RTE is a scarcely known to the slum dwellers in Timarpur. Mr. Sher Singh, one of the very few graduate residents of the place, explains that a large number of people living in the area belong to minority or underprivileged groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Muslims etc. They have migrated from nearby states and are working as construction or factory workers in various parts of Delhi. They are finding it hard to cope-up with the cost of living in Delhi. In the absence of RTE, their kids would rather have remained out of schools. So RTE is definitely a boon for their lives. But they hardly know the details of the Act. So far they have been able to make out that no fee is charged in government schools and they are entitled to receive some funds from the government for uniform and books. There has been little effort on the part of the schools or the administration, in general, to spread awareness among the people. It is not only the parents who are to be blamed for their lack of interest in such programs. Even the school authorities are not well versed with the provisions of the act. The Act talks about a mandatory SMC which is supposed to be established in every school covered by the Act. The purpose of this committee is to ensure greater involvement of the parents in the education system and create awareness regarding their rights and duties. But surprisingly, even the senior teachers in schools are not aware of such provisions. The Head Teacher of SV Lancer Road Boy's School said that they were waiting for government's notification on the same. This brings out the fact that the implementation of the Act has not been followed up adequately by the concerned government authorities. The Act also talks about the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) as the new system for grading students till class 8. None of the schools have organized any workshop or training program for its teachers to implement such provisions. Sher Singh, apparently the mukhiya of the place, was very critical of the act. According to him the provisions such as no detention till class 8 are uncalled for. “Humari basti ka 9th class ka bachha apna naam bhi nahi likh sakta to kya wo degree college me padhpaega?”, he sadly questioned. Most of the people were aware of the scholarship provided to their children, but they are not sure of the exact amount that they are entitled to receive or the purpose of such scholarships.

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III. Access
The Timarpur basti is just a couple of kilometers away from the main campus of the Delhi University which is the hub of higher education system of the national capital. The children of the basti, who attend government schools, also dream of joining the good universities someday just like their counterparts in private schools. There are two private schools in the vicinity- Arya Smaj Mandir and Virendra Public School. Most of these schools are not more than a kilometer away from the main basti and are easily accessible. Although the enrollment ratio in the basti is remarkably high a few cases of out of school students and dropouts came to our notice during the survey which should be brought to light. Following are the details on Out of school children, and there might be many more:Table no. 1: Dropouts from various schools Name Neha Anjali Pooja Manoj House No. Age (Years) N 64/47 N 64/50 N 64/375 N 4/467 7 11 12 11

Cases of dropouts seemed few because people were not willing to talk about reasons for leaving school. Without revealing any details a mother talked about how her daughter (now 17) was mentally harassed to the extent that she refused to go to school. Ever since she mostly stays back home and is still trying to come out of the trauma. Some parents complained that their child was expelled when they went back to their native places for some days without informing the teachers. As most of the people were migrants, visiting home town was a regular practice. Vinod, a12 years old, last attended school 2 years back and has not been readmitted even after multiple requests from the parents.

Admission Procedure About 24% of the people said that the schools are still charging admission fee as shown by the following diagram:-

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Table No. 2 Yes No Other 49 149 37 24% 74% 18 %

People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%. The following diagram shows that collection of application fee was more prevalent in SBV which is a boy’s school as compared to SKV, a girl’s school:Figure 1: Percentage of students who paid application fee in different schools

Though the respondents unanimously agreed that the schools have done away with all forms of admission tests and interviews for the students as well as for the parents, some cases of admission through draw of lots came to our notice. Also a child was denied admission to class 1 as the teachers of SBV Timarpur School thought that the child was not tall enough. There were a lot of variations between the schools regarding their policy for Children with Special Needs, extracurricular activities, access to library, functionality of toilets, drinking facilities etc. According to the principal of the MCD School it was not safe to allow ‘abnormal’ (physically challenged) students to attend classes with the normal ones. The school does not have a playground. Although other schools of senior secondary level do have activity spaces but no sports equipment is provided to students up to class 5 in schools such as SKV Timarpur. In some cases, Library period exists but students are not taken to the library. In rest of the cases, students are only allowed to study in the library and not issued books for their homes. Only 25% of the students said that they can issue books from the library. Generally the norm is to issue book to senior classes only (class 6-12).

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Figure 2: Library Facility in Various schools Following are the percentages of the parents and children who were satisfied with the various facilities in schools:-

A lot of students said that the toilets are never cleaned and the water facility is functional only in the primary wing in SKV Timarpur. Consequently most of the students carry lunch and bottle to school and completely avoid using the school facilities. The Following table gives the proportion of parents and children who said that they were satisfied by the various facilities in school:Table 3: Percentage of Parents and Children satisfied with school facilities Facilities Toilets Drinking Facility MDM Parents % 57 55 44 Children % 63 55 46

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IV. Teachers

Teachers are the pivot of our education system. The lack of appropriate mix of teaching staff is incompatible to the objectives of the Act. Our Volunteers surveyed the following five schools of the area:-

Table no. 4: Government Schools in Timarpur Primary Senior Secondary

MCD Primary SKV Timarpur Nigam Pratibha Vidalaya SBV Timarpur SV Lancer Road

The following section is a discussion on the findings of the survey of these schools.

IV.I

Primary Schools

MCD Primary school has almost 200 students and 8 teachers including the principal. Teachers are usually appointed keeping in mind the total number of students. Every teacher has been assigned more than one subject. No one is involved in non‐teaching duties. The medium of teaching is English but only for few sections of the morning shift. One out of the 7 teachers is responsible for organizing all sorts of events in the school, though the school does not have a playground but there is an activity area as shown in the picture.

Activity Area in MCD School

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A Working Committee in Primary School During the school visit of MCD school, the principal talked about a management committee formed under the principal whose members are the parents of the students. General issues regarding development of the school are discussed here. The parents are given the opportunity to share their views. They are even asked to check the MDM quality. As per the provisions of the act, students are admitted without demanding any document, though they are made to fill an affidavit. Learning from the experience of our volunteer teams working in other areas of Delhi, we can say that this school was the best in terms of teacher’s proactiveness and parental participation

Nigam Pratibha Vidalaya In contrast with the first school surveyed, this school was a complete failure in terms of infrastructure, cleanliness and extracurricular activities. This primary school of 400 plus students has 10 teachers who take care of not only the academics but also look after the administration work. Infact the Principal, Mrs. Nilima Sharma leaves after 10 a.m. on every working day. There are no extracurricular activities in school. The school does not have a library but sometimes class teachers give away books to the students. The school has a single bathroom and a drinking facility which is highly unhygienic.

Sickness caused by Dirty drinking water and poor sanitation are the biggest killers of children worldwide

The Drinking facility at Nigam Pratibha School

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Lack of healthy environment for students is a definite reason for lack of interest in school. Following picture shows the number of students absent as on the day of school visit

The Absent percentage is as high as 43% in 4th class. The minimum was 27% in 2nd class.

Attendance Sheet at Nigam Pratibha School

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IV.II

Secondary Schools

SarvodayaVidyalaya, Timarpur is a Boy’s senior secondary school. The total number of students (in afternoon shift), teachers sanctioned, appointed, on contract basis, and on temporary basis are 759, 32, 25, 3, and 5 respectively. Thus apparently the school is maintaining the required pupil- teacher ratio of 30:1. The following diagram shows the distribution of teachers in this school.

Figure 3.

Subject teachers for all subjects have been appointed but teachers are involved in activities like Polling, Census, and Seminars etc. on a regular basis. Special teachers are there for physical training, yoga, fine arts but the seat of librarian is vacant since last three years. The School Head teacher said that parents are occasionally invited to participate in decisionmaking. Moreover, they are guided about vocational courses also. But none of the parents agreed to the same during the survey. No specific training has been provided to teachers on Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation. But the schools are following the new semester-system.

Some other schools like SKV, Timarpur have arranged for so-called sports and yoga periods but no teacher is there to run these classes.

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Following is a comparison is a comparison of the teacher pupil ratio of the two schools covered by school visit:-

Figure 4: Pupil Teacher ratio in MCD and SV Lancer Road

Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya (SBV) Timarpur, another boys school in the locality is a feeder school as it accepts admissions in upper primary classes from all other schools of the locality. The school does not have SMC but there is committee called Vidalaya Kalyan Samiti (VKS) with the Principal as its chairman and staff and the MLA from the area as its members.

Mr. Arvind Singh, the examination coordinator and senior Mathematics teacher of the school says that the school authorities are having a tough time dealing with the PWD. “The motor in school is not working from the past couple of days but the department has not send any repairman despite of repeated complains.” He also added that even if a switch is not working then they arrange for it on their own as the department does not provide for such supplies. He also suggested that distribution of MDM was a waste of time as the process has to start in the 4th period and goes on till the lunch break. Sarvodaya Kanya Vidalaya (SKV), the only girl’s school of the area was a good surprise. The principal, Mrs. Veena Maini, is the only administrative head of the school and she admitted that the school has received directions from DOE regarding SMC but she explains that her involvement in lot of student centric activities has led to delay in action on the same. The students of the school have been competing in various state level athletics and Volleyball competitions and have bought laurels to the school. Apart from sports, the school regularly organizes cultural events, painting competitions etc.

The Vice principal of the school, C.P. Singh is visually challenged. He takes care of most of the administration work and feels that non-teaching duties are the reason for failure to complete the syllabus on time.

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Summary from School Surveys

School

Table no.5

No. of Teachers 8 10 79 50 65

No. of Students 200 400 2135 1400 1885

Pupil- Teacher Ratio 25 40 27 28

MCD Primary Nigam Pratibha SKV, Timarpur SBV, Timarpur SV,Lancer Road

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Table no. 6: Other Facilities in schools School Does the school has library Are there separate teachers for extracurricular Does the school has ramps for CWSN MCD Primary Yes No No Nigam Pratibha No No No SKV, Timarpur Yes Yes, but not for primary classes Yes SBV, Timarpur Yes Yes Yes SVLancer Road Yes Yes Yes

V. Quality and Classroom transaction

The quality of classroom learning depends upon devotion and dedication of the teachers towards the cause. What did the Students say about their teachers? About 87% said that they like their teachers mainly for their caring nature, teaching skills, or because they do not punish. It was generally observed that students of class 2nd-5th believed that their teachers were good and supportive, while those in class 6th-8th said that their teachers were lazy and they make students sweep the floors and or get supplies for them.

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Although capitation fees are not taken but some teachers ask the students to bring money for windows, small amounts like Rs10-15 for issuing I-cards, monograms and other stuffs, in some, Rs1 or 2 for 1 day absenteeism etc. Almost 90% schools have made arrangements for sports (like football, cricket, volleyball, kho-kho, badminton, race etc.) and extra-curricular activities (like dance, drama, music, drawing etc.) but not much effort has been taken to develop interest among the students. Some parents complained that teachers follow the policy of favoring some students for example only the students scoring high marks are made monitors. Teachers ask students to make tea, clean classrooms, and their staff rooms. These children are termed as the teachers’ pets and they are favored whenever the situation arises.

Most students (about 83%) claimed that they understand whatever is taught in class but they accepted that they hardly ask their doubts in class as they are afraid of being reprimanded severely. As a result, the students go for tuitions and rely on them to pass the exams. There have been cases of complaints of teachers smoking in the classes. Sometimes they write something on board and leave the class on its own. Corporal punishment is frequent but generally students don’t complain out of fear of further punishment. Cases have been found where the teacher has hit or even injured a student badly but is still continuing in the school without any appropriate action being taken. The following chart shows that about 60% of the students said that they have been hit by their teachers but only 16% of them complained.

Figure 5: Physical Punishment in schools

VI. Entitlements VI.I Mid-Day Meal The main focus of MDM scheme is to protect children from classroom hunger, increase school enrollment and attendance, improve socialization among children belonging to all castes, addressing malnutrition, and social empowerment through provision of employment to women. Although the Scheme has been in place since 2002 but the implementation has been very poor.

Only 46% children said that they like the food being served as MDM whereas 49% of the children didn’t like the food. Most of kids carry lunch to school. They take MDM only once or twice in a week. Students who take meals on a regular basis are the ones who are not given lunch by parents. These were generally the children who came from poorer families.

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VI.II

Quality and Quantity of MDM

Almost everybody said that some items like Halwa and Dalia are always bad and are generally thrown away. 47% of the children said that they liked the menu whereas 49% of the children wanted some changes. For example a few said that they wanted to be given chapatti in place of puri and rice which are generally stale and not eatable. Only 50 % of the students feel that the quantity of the meal is sufficient for them. Students asking for more are generally turned back. Some schools claimed that the meals are checked almost daily after some students complained. But the quality of food has hardly improved.

What the parents say? 53% of the parents also said that they were not satisfied by the quality of food being served in school. There have been instances when insects like cockroaches have been found in food. Many said that they cannot trust the school authorities for the quality of food and would rather prefer other benefits such as free stationary and books in place of free meals.

VI.III

Children with Special Needs (CWSN)

The following are the trends of responses obtained during the survey on question about CWSN students:-

Are there any children with special needs in your school? Table no. 7 39% 59% 17%

Yes 82 No 126 Other 37 People may select more than one checkbox. So percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Are they given special attention by the teachers? Table no. 8 25% 73% 30%

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Yes 54 No 154 Other 63 People may select more than one checkbox. So percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Only 39% of students said that there are children with special needs in their schools. While during the school visit it was revealed that the MCD primary school has not been taking physically challenged students, the other schools have opened their arms for such children. But a lot needs to be done to ensure that these children are taken care of in the school premises. 73% of children replied that the teachers in their schools don’t give special attention to those children. The Act clearly says that the schools should have adequate infrastructure to accommodate such students for example sufficient number of ramps. The GNCT schools of the area are following the norms to some extent.

VI.IV Scholarships

Out of 74% people who said that they were entitled to scholarships a lot of people are not getting the same. Lack of SC or OBC certificate is a primary reason for the non-payment of scholarship which majority of the community is enrolled for. Also the schools ask for caste certificates made in Delhi. Since a lot of people are migrants from nearby states, they have certificates issued by their respective states, which were declared invalid by school authorities Other problems related to grant of scholarships:• This year scholarships due for October have not been received so far. Also a lot of parents said that the amount given for uniforms is not sufficient. They end up spending more than Rs. 1000 on every child’s uniform. • In one particular case girls of a family were getting Rs. 300 as scholarship while their male siblings of the same age were getting Rs. 500. Also the girls were not getting scholarships on a regular basis
teacher’s initiative at sv lancer road

Mrs. Veena, principal of SKV, pointed out that the state funded scholarships are received on time while those funded by central government such as the scholarships for SCs & STs are often delayed.

A very significant effort for systematic distribution of scholarship amounts and other benefits came into notice during the social audit. the teaches at lancer road boy’s school were trying to have bank accounts opened up for the parents of their students in a nearby bank such that the money could directly be transferred to their accounts on time. But the bank authorities have been delaying the process which is discouraging the teachers from taking up the additional work. P.S. Rawat, the head teacher of the school explains that the bank is asking for a lot of documentary proofs which most of the parents would fail to provide for

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VII. EWS Admissions RTE provides for 25% quota for students belonging to the category of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the incoming class of any private school in Delhi. But despite clear guidelines from the government regarding the admission procedure, most of the private schools in the Timarpur locality have been violating the rules by denying admissions on baseless grounds. Mrs. Brij had dreamt of sending her child to a private English medium school. Her husband ran from pillar to post to arrange for his income certificate in just 10 days but as the couple went to collect application form from Arya Smaj Mandir School, the nearest private school, they found that the school was closed and was reopening on 15thjanuary, the last day for submission of the application. When they went back on 15th, they were asked to submit an application fee of Rs.500 as the school was running nursery classes privately and they were accepting EWS applications only for class 1. The picture shows the school as closed on 14th of January.

More prevalent were the cases where parents were helplessly trying to avail the benefits of the quota but have failed so far due to insufficiency of documents. Mr. Moolchand (name changed), who did not have income certificate, was trying to arrange for the same. But as he could not get his documents attested, he approached his employer for help. The latter refused to issue any kind of employment certificate as he was a scarcely paid worker.

Another parent Mr. Nand Kishore, a Dalit, has been applying for his Ration card since 2009 but has received no word from the concerned department so far. “Hum Harijan hain na isliye humare saath aesa ho raha hai”, he said adding that he has been harassed by the officials to such an extent that he has lost all hopes. For those who managed to overcome the documentary hurdles, the opaque nature of the system and lack of awareness created problems at every step of the admission process. The application of Mr. Rajendar’s son was rejected as the school authorities said that BPL card could not be a replacement for income certificate. There were cases where the school teachers misguided the parents to believe that no such quota was applicable to their school. Also a lot of parents believed that fee exemption was not enough to encourage them to get their wards admitted to private schools. Other expenses related to uniform, books, travelling etc., which are not reimbursed under the act, will be unaffordable. Also students will face a lot of difficulty if they have shift back to government schools after class 8. These were precisely some of the major concerns of the parents who considered government schools a safe, if not better, option.

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Case Studies
The picture shows a pamphlet used during campaigning for EWS admissions in private schools. Following documents are required to apply for EWS quota:1. Income certificate issued by SDM. Applicants holding BPL or Antyodaya card are not required to have income certificate. 2. A document which can be the proof of resident of Delhi for at least 5 years such as ration card, bank pass book, Insurance policy etc. 3. Address proof 4. Birth certificate of the child.

During the survey we came across some serious cases of mental and physical harassment and child abuse which left us in a state of shock. Following are a few cases which we found poignant enough to be shared: The social prejudices and negative stereotypes against girls, especially Muslims, are fuelling discrimination in the field of education. Nazreen, a 13 years old Muslim girl, studies in SKV, Timarpur. Being minorities and considered weak in nature, girls face severe discrimination on a regular basis. There is a boy’s school adjacent to the girl’s school. She complains that she and her friends often suffer from eve teasing and abuse on their way to school. She complained to her parents who feel that the solution is to stay back home and avoid taking that route. They are, most definitely, avoiding the problem possibly because they think that being a minority, they will not be heard or supported. Some of the girls would not even share such incidents with their parents as they do not want to sit back home. The future of girls like Nazreen is most likely to fade in the shadow of misfortunes. It is not just the future but also the present which is dwelling in pain and agony for some kids of the basti due to the inefficiency of government schools and hospitals

 Priya (name changed), a student at SKV, is a victim of callous attitude of government employees in schools and hospitals. While playing in her school she had unfortunately fallen on a broken desk and injured herself. Even after it was brought to the notice of a teacher, no one took the matter seriously. Later on, the principal called the parents of the girl and asked them to take her to a hospital. When the parents took her to a government clinic, the doctor refused to take up this case as it was quite a serious one. They finally took her to a private hospital and ended up taking loan to settle the hospital bills. After this horrible accident the girl's psyche has been affected to such an extent that she refuses to go to school anymore.  Another incident, this one is in Indira basti, shows how vulnerable are the life of a slum child who is looked down upon by not just by his mates in school but even by his teachers. Vijay Kumar, a student of class 7 at SV Lancer Road School, lost his right eye last year due to the negligence of the school authorities. His mother, Sangita, burst into tears as she narrates the incident to us which she has done more than a hundred times by now. Vijay was beaten by a classmate in school one evening. Instead of rushing him to the hospital, the teachers called up his mother. He was finally taken to the hospital 3 hours after the incident. The child lost his eye and is also facing threat of losing the other if he does not get proper medical attention. Following the incident the school principal denied any kind of responsibility and also threatened the mother that if she complains he would expel both her kids from school. But the lady stood out of the commons. She not only complained but filed a case in High court against the school authorities and is awaiting the next hearing of the case on March 25. Media coverage and the support of the slum people have helped her to come so far. But financially the family is broken to the extent that they can't afford the medical bills any more. She has not received any financial help so far either from the school or from the government. The child continues to attend the same school despite of all the odds. But living in the dusty slum area with inappropriate medical attention and nutrition is next to risking the life of the child. Can we help!

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“When this survey ended I realized that I had more questions than answers; the biggest being that Why do our laws have so many loopholes in them, such that the people, who are the actual beneficiaries of these laws, fail to get their dues” says Shreya, our teammate

X. Conclusion RTE is the flagship act of the government under their policy of Education for All. It has been considered as a landmark reform in the field of education and the government claims of educating all the children of our nation to the best of its capabilities. The project has given us the opportunity to bring in light the deplorable state of education in our national capital. With the progress of our survey several new secrets started unfolding about the miserable education condition in the slum. Most of the schools are following the regulations in regard to the admission process and are not charging annual fees. The school infrastructure hasn’t improved post the act despite of the fact that the number of incoming students every year has multiplied manifold. Lack of awareness regarding the entitlements, documentary issues and provisions of the act in general remain the biggest impediments in the successful implementation of the act. Callous attitude of school staff, lack of proper training for teachers and insufficiency of funds for infrastructure add to the problem. The MDM program needs immediate attention as the health and well-being of children has been compromised invariably in all the schools. It was shocking to find that at an age, when a child’s full potential should be directed towards attaining education, children of the basti are leading the life of underdogs. Devoid of motivation, competency and proper platforms to prove themselves, will they ever get the opportunity to come out of the vicious circle of poverty and overcome the dejection in their lives? We as conscious citizens and also as the tax payers have the right to work towards bringing greater accountability in the current state of affairs. We hope that our effort brings a difference to their lives.

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XI. Appendix

SCHEDULED CASTE 27

CONSTRUCTION WKRS MUSLIMS HINDUS 14 7 162

• The following tables give the details on the amount of scholarship money to be given to different communities for various purposes:-

Category Uniform Bag & Cap SC//ST Girl Child (Kanya protsahan Yojana)

Annual Amount (In Rs.) 500/245/1000/200/-

Category Uniform Minorities Construction workers’ children

Amount (Rs) 700 1000 1200

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Note: - None of the parents of the students of MCD schools said that they were receiving money under bag & cap and girl child. - The amount of scholarship for uniform will be soon raised from Rs500 to Rs 1200 in MCD schools.

Menu of the MDM in MCD and GNCT schools:MCD Schools: Aloo-Puri, Daal-Chawal, Chhole, Halwa-Puri, Puri-Sabji, RajmaChawal, Channa, Dalia GNCT Schools: ChholePuri, Kheer, Aloo-Puri, Chhole-Rice, RajmaChawal, Daal-Chawal, Halwa-Channa, Halwa-Puri, Dalia, Kadhi-Chawal,

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RTE- Fact or a Distant Dream?

Status Report- Rithala Area January 2013

Authors: By• Astha Chadha (SGGSCCDU) • Ayush Gupta (DTU) • Kshitij Jain (IIT Delhi) • Niharika Agarwal (IP- DU) • Parnika Chaudhary (NUS, Singapore) • Pranay Chauhan (IIT Delhi) • Raghav Saran Aggarwal (IIT Delhi) • Rohil Jain (IIT Delhi)
2/7/2013

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Setting foot in the Field Bengali Bazar and Pal Colony In one of our first meetings with the volunteers from different colleges and the members from Josh, our team was allotted the area of Rithala in the North West district of Delhi. Little did we know that time about what lay beyond that magnificent D Mall that towers over the Metro tracks of Rithala bound trains, the totally contrasting face of the city waiting to catch our eyes. Our ”field” for survey turned out to be not only far removed from civilization, but also a deep black pit where fortune hovers, only to glimpse and then turn away, just like the train… Bengali Bazar and Pal Colony, both barely 150 footsteps from the metro station, quite adjacent to each other, were to be our field for observation and sample study. The insights we got were both shocking and amazing. As we entered the slums with a pre-conceived image on the back of our minds, but what we saw in terms of the living conditions of the slum dwellers was much beyond what we had imagined. I clearly remember the way all of us stood there in a hurdle just gazing for two minutes, speechless by the sight in front of us. Little huts made of garbage, high walls of stacks of plastic, flies, mosquitoes and so on. It would be more realistic to call it a dump yard, where behind the tall mountains of garbage; astonishingly, people existed. Bengali Bazar was home to a lot of Bengali Muslims and living a bit farther from them, were the Hindus. One round into the community and we had gathered that there had been an unfortunate outbreak of fire in 2011 and the flames had eaten up everything that these people owned, including their identity cards and they were once again there to begin an existence… as rag-pickers scrounging for something of value from the dumps.

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A view of Bengali Bazar, Rithala – Most of the people are rag-pickers, as seems evident from the picture. Pal Colony lay few blocks ahead with comparatively better houses made out of bricks and tin roofs. Most people living in the area earn their daily bread by selling waste or working as part time help in the houses of people luckier in lives than these people were. Depending on the number of people working in each house, they were earning anything between a meager Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000 per household per month.

Valuing Education Schools and Tuitions A good mapping of the area indicated that there was enough population to serve as a large sample for our survey. We found out that most of the poor parents really wanted to send their children to school, so that their children did not have the same fate as they did, so that they had the chance to a better life. But, the survey conducted by us also indicated that the quality of education was not good in either of the schools in which the students of Rithala slum studied, be it Rana Pratap Govt. Sr. Sec. School, Rithala or any of the Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidyalaya (Rithala, Rohini sec 5-A and sec 5-B). Almost every parent (approximately 90%) sent their children for private tuitions and was ready to pay around Rs.300-400 per month for the tuitions despite their extreme economically weak conditions. We ourselves found that a lot of class 4th and 5th students did not even so much as know how to write their names and were even unable to recollect the names of their schools. It was surprising to discover that some of them preferred tuitions over schools and went to the extent of saying that their kids were actually learning only in tuitions because a school teacher doesn’t even care if the child is playing in fields all day! But what was even more astonishing is that the children never had to be forced to go to school, they didn’t even have to be woken up! They are so eager are they to learn and grow. Unfortunately, yet, Bengali Bazar was also home to a large number of children out of school. They had joined hands silently with their parents in the struggle for survival by doing household chores, taking care of younger siblings and rag picking. Pal Colony presented its own story of migrant laborers who were helpless due to the seasonal nature of their jobs which didn’t allow them to send their children to school for the fear of their names being struck off if they went to their hometown for some time or changed their residence even by a few kilometers. Rafeeq Sheikh is one of such migrants who was unable to get his children admitted in schools due to frequent changes in location.

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A GLIMPSE OF THE GLITCHES
Kailash resides in Jhuggi No. 189, Nidhi Colony, Rithala. All he wanted was proper education for his children. His child Sachin went to Nagar Nigam School in Sector-5.He regularly complained to the class teacher about the quality of teaching. The class teacher did not solve children’s doubts, and got annoyed and scolded them for asking. His child Sachin once did not get scholarship. So he went to ask and the teacher said that they’ll get it when the money came and took his signatures. Next time that he went to the teacher, she said that they had already given the money to him and showed his signatures on the paper. Then he went to the headmaster where there was verbal fight between him and teacher. Finally there was no conclusion and he didn’t get the money. His story tells us two very prominent things about the state of our schools1. The quality of the teachers and the education in these schools is sub-standard. 2. There is no platform to address the grievances of parents in these schools. This might be only one story, but it shows the helplessness of many parents that had similar problems with government schools. For obvious reasons, the parents are more inclined towards sending their children to private schools.

FAILING AND DENYING ADMISSION The Act says that free education is a fundamental right and no child can be failed in any class in the primary classes, but in Bengali Bazar, Soeem Sheikh, younger son of Julie Bibi age 8 years, was thrown out of nagar Nigam Sector 5, due to his inability to grasp well. His name was struck off and now he sits at home.

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Awareness about RTE The people were clearly clueless about RTE or anything related to it. All they knew was that their children were studying in an easily accessible government school providing a mid-day meal where they were supposedly learning to read and write There are about seven schools in the locality including primary, secondary and senior secondary schools all within 1.5kms distance, hence quite accessible on foot or by bus/ rickshaw. We quickly learned about two other institutions- Karmath School and Bal Sahyog Samudaya Kendra, where about 35 children eagerly went instead of the government schools to get modern education coupled with vocational training in stitching, sewing etc.

We wondered as to WHY be there still a need for non-governmental volunteers to take up education? Is there not enough awareness about RTE? Is it not the responsibility of the teachers themselves to bring those masses to school? Are the crores of taxpayer’s money spent on education insufficient, is it not even reaching where it should? We could not find the answers, and hoped to ask the government these questions.

Most of the schools seemed to have good classrooms with desks and benches. But, a casual stroll at the back of Rana Pratap Sr. Sec. School revealed a huge hole in the boundary wall from which students could exit and enter school at will! Even more shocking was the fact that not only the teachers, but also the principal were aware of it and ignored it. Both were quick to drop the blame on the boys or girls of the school who, in order to bunk school, had devised this clever way out!

Rana Pratap School’s broken wall.

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RTE Entitlements Mid-Day Meal RTE entitles every child with free mid-day meals with a different and nutritious menu for each day of the week. The idea seemed nice but the truth was ugly. We gathered from the people that the Mid Day Meal (MDM) distributed in schools is not of good quality. A few students of Rana Pratap Sr. Sec. School said that they often found cockroaches in their food while those from Nagar Nigam, Sector-5 reported that they found pieces of stones and wood. Our findings indicated that most children took money from their parents to eat lunch or take lunch boxes itself. A very small proportion said that they eat in school. A few even complained that sometimes their teachers ate away the food to be served to them. Only the students of Nagar Nigam, Sector -11 said that the teachers were kind enough to serve the food fit for children and even tasted before passing it on to the students to eat! Unfortunately, the percentage of children going to this particular school was negligible in comparison to the whole sample.

Mid-Day Meal distributed in the school of good quality*

SCHOLARSHIP WOES
Malika Bibi, whose 10 year old daughter Jasmine Khatun is studying at Sarvodaya Vidyalaya Sector 6, complained that all money had stopped coming in after she lost all her papers to the 2011 fire. Malika Bibi is one of such numerous victims of fire in Bengali Colony who are facing difficulties in getting scholarships or even admissions and face problems with even running their households. “We urge the concerned authorities to look into this matter as soon as possible.”

Scholarships Since we wanted a large sample of about 200 households, we covered almost all houses whose residents were present at the time. While most people knew that they are supposed to get money every year based on their socio-economic status as well as for their children’s school uniform and books, none of them knew the exact amount they are entitled to get. While the meals seemed to be an eye sore to almost everyone, the scholarships had lesser complaints, perhaps because of the unawareness of the parents regarding the amounts their children were entitled to get. Although most parents agreed to be receiving Rs 500 to Rs 700 every year for their kids’ uniform and Rs 1000 if they were Muslim, yet there were cases where the child had received a lesser amount, or the scholarship had not been given because the teacher said they had received nothing from the government!

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A lot of households of Bengali Bazar complained that they lost all their papers in the fire that broke out in 2011 and henceforth the money had stopped coming in. They said all authorities asked for the papers which they didn’t have any more and they didn’t know where to get the new papers from.

Awareness about child’s entitlement to any scholarship*

BOOKS & EXAMS FEE
The money for books and exam question papers is to be covered by the Act, but Manjrul Khan, whose 9 years old daughter Riya Khatun studies at Nagar Nigam Sector 5, says that he has to bear all these expenses and even pay per exam for taking up the exam and seeing the result!!

Clean Drinking Water and Toilet Facilities Most students said that the toilets were filthy. While boys, having a higher dirt tolerance thresholds, sometimes still make do, most girls said it was impossible for them to use the washrooms. In one case, the parent cited it as one of the major concerns that he as a parent faced while sending his daughter to school.

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CASE OF CLEANING TOILETS
Bulchera Bibi, whose daughter Babita Khatun, age 11 years studies at Nagar Niagm Sector 5 sys her daughter has often been asked to clean toilets in school. She further mentioned that the teacher demands Rs 5 per subject to return the examination answer sheets.

In our survey, some children said that clean drinking water was accessible all time in their schools, while others, like the residents of Pal Colony (which contribute to more than 60% of total child population going to school in Rithala) had to carry water bottles from home since drinking water from the tanki was yellowish.

Adequate drinking facilities in schools* Yes 175 86% No 27 13% Other 11 5%

When we went to the schools for surveying, we found that all the complaints were true to the word. Toilet facilities were not good in either of the schools surveyed. They were extremely dirty and did not have provision of water and they smelled so bad that none of us wanted to set foot in them. Drinking water was not available at all times in most of the schools. A teacher of Rana Pratap Govt. Sr. Sec. School, Rithala (who did not wish to be named) told us that the water was not available at all times in the school and there were more dysfunctional toilets than were functional!

Sports and Extra-Curricular Activities Most schools didn’t seem to have any art or music teachers. The children were only prepared for annual functions, if any and were seldom involved in any cultural activities such as dance, music or drama in any of the schools that we surveyed. Getting equipment to play with in school*

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The students didn’t get any equipment to play within few schools and had to carry them from home. While in others, they got footballs or badminton rackets etc. from school. But overall, they drew and sang to their own tunes since no one taught them how to use instruments! Moreover, every school seemed to have a library but the children hardly ever got to take books home.

Library in school and whether they could borrow books*

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” ― Walter Cronkite

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The data indicates that 67% children mentioned that their schools had library facilities, as mandated in the RTE Act, however, only 28% of the total no. of students were allowed to use the library or borrow books.

School Management Committee (SMC) The RTE clearly mentions the need for imperative School Management Committee with active representation from parents but unfortunately and shockingly, neither the parents, nor the school authorities seemed to have even heard of the concept!

Number of school management committee has been formed since April 2010 (accord to parents)*

And there is no committee in school to look into the parents’ and students’ grievances. The formation of the School Management Committee, also a part of the RTE act has not been implemented in any of the schools. Parents say that the teachers are too arrogant to talk to them. So now they feel ashamed in even making an attempt. Grievance or not grievance, they have mastered the art of remaining silent and accepting whatever is handed out to them, good or bad.

Medical Facilities For the differently abled: RTE mandates the constructions necessary for the differently abled students such as ramps for the amputees, hearing aids for the hearing impaired, etc. There was hardly any school with students who had visual or hearing impairment because of the lack of facilities for them. Though, the ramps were present and it attracted a number of amputees to go to school. It was relieving to see that Rana Pratap Sr. Sec. School even conducted classes on the ground floor for those students who would find it difficult to climb stairs to the upper floors.

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Emergencies: None of the schools seemed to have proper medical facilities to assist the students in case of emergencies. Teachers complained of not being provided any training to specially interact with the differently abled students of their schools.

Anuvar Bibi’s daughter, Rano Khatun, age 12 years hurt her eye in a Nagar Nigam School but did not get proper medical treat due to lack of first aid facilities and was unattended to, till she reached her home.

EWS Category Admissions The RTE Act makes it mandatory for all private schools to provide free education to 25 % of the children from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category. We found out the prospective EWS candidates for admission in private schools in classes UKG and I grade. We shortlisted about 15 candidates who wished to attend the private schools and had the documents ready with them. We came across this astonishing case wherein a parent, who had tried to get his child into a private school under the EWS category, failed to do so due to the school’s disinterest and clear rejection of his child.

EWS ADMISSION
Bittoo Sharma (EWS applicant): Bittoo Sharma is a resident of Pal Colony, Rithala. He works in Ryan international school and he wanted his child to study in private school. Last year, in 2011, he tried for the admission of his son (Pintoo Sharma, in Class-I) He already had all the certificates but still he was rejected. He told us that Ryan International School doesn’t take any EWS Applicants despite the RTE Act clearly stating that no school can reject any EWS applicant under the 25% EWS applicants’ quota. Bittoo Sharma further claimed that admissions in Ryan International School are given to rich people who show their fake income certificates to be considered under EWS category. As a last resort, now, Pintoo Sharma is studying in Nagar Nigam, Sec-5, Rithala. Bittoo Sharma sadly complained that the teacher gives no attention to kids. The children are not given any home task. Moreover, he revealed that teachers are not regular to school.

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Campaigning To inform and educate everyone about the act, we organized a campaign on the 23rd of December, 2012 where we interacted with parents and children alike. We found that everyone including parents, children and other people were highly interested. They were eager to know the rights that the act covers. We further added to their understanding of the act. We also thought that maybe if people understand their rights better, it will help them in claiming their rights and staging a better fight.

JOSH RTE Awareness Campaign in Bengali Bazar and Pal Colony We take pride in saying that because of the consistent efforts of our team, two of the parents were able to submit the admission forms along with all necessary documents to get admission under the EWS quota.

Following are the names of parents: 1. SubhashBansal 9212853463 313/C, Rohini, Sec-1, Avantika Child - KunjBansal[Age-3.5] NURSERY ADMISSION

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2. Devta Devi 9873591467 Documents in possession - Birth certificate, Ration card, ID, AADHAR,labor card 579,Nidhi Colony, Rithala Child - Roshan Raj(age - 4)

SubhashBansal applied in BalBharati, Pitampura and Devta Devi in GRIPS, Rohini.

SAILING THROUGH THE ADMISSION PROCESS Devta Devi was asked for medical certificate along with other documents. The school refused to accept the EWS application at first. The parents had to be told their rights and documents necessary. After forcing the school on 2nd day, finally her application was accepted.

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Conclusions After the survey, our findings indicate to the fact that most parents are not satisfied with the facilities of the school but they are just happy that at least their children get to go to school. Most of them don't even go to the school to check on the facilities because they feel their word won’t make a difference and so they don’t even try. Only a few of them go to for Parent teacher meetings; most of them only go to school for the scholarship money. A handful of them did try going and meeting the teachers periodically but stopped eventually because of the rude and humiliating behavior by the teachers. Undoubtedly, the main problem is the lack of awareness among the parents, they don't know about their rights and the facilities that the government provides them (in our case SMC and the scholarship amount which none of the parents know) ,so even if the government is providing better facilities , the people can’t avail them until they know about them.

The survey was conducted with the objective of accessing the effectiveness of implementation of the Right to Education Act in the slums of Rithala. Education can become their window to a new world of oppurtunities and a better life. Just as Confucius famously said “Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.” Education is something that not only gives us knowledge but also builds our character, broadens our perspective and refines us as a person. No matter how much is said about it, the necessity for education would always be understated. And unlike most things, there is no substitute for it! Physically seeing these not-so-lucky slum dwellers is very different than seeing their often-appearing pictures in the newspaper. It was only then that the harsh reality of it bit us, staring at us like an open challenge to change the course of their lives.

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It was only then that we discovered that this is a combined struggle, a struggle for each one of us for the up liftment of those who are not so privileged, to get them the education that they deserve. For without it, we will never be able to truly advance as a nation. After all change begins with awareness and awareness comes with education!

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Status Report on RTE South West Delhi District Areas Covered: Munirka, Vasant Vihar

Authors Anuja Bhandari (Eco. Hons. DU), Pragya Acharya (Eco. Hons. DU), Narayan Nathani (Eco. Hons. DU), Suraj Singh Chauhan (Eco. Hons. DU), Divya Chaudhry (Eco. Hons. DU), Raaisa Mahajan (IIT, Delhi), Akhil Aggarwal (IIT, Delhi), Trisha Dhawan, Bratiraj De (M.A. Eco. DSE), Debadrita Dhara (Presidency College, Kolkata)

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Introduction to ‘The Slums’:

1. a)

Munirka: Saraswati Camp

Marking the DDA flyover from one side, this compact area houses around 700800 families with children aged 10-15 dominate the population in this area. This slum is considered among the more affluent slums in Delhi as most of the people over here work as government servants or have private jobs like transportation of medicines, peons etc. Most of the ladies are either housewife or else are working as housemaids to facilitate inflow of money in the house and therefore are comparatively well off as compared to other families where only the husband works. A stunning fact about this area is that the enrollment ratio of the children is almost a 100%. Out of these, 99% of the children are acquiring their education from Government schools. b) Moti Lal Nehru Camp Lining the DDA flyover from the other side, the Motilal Nehru camp is a much larger area in comparison and houses around 1000-1500 families. With men working as gardeners, sweepers or helpers, their ladies also work either as housemaids or are housewives. The socio-economic status and the enrollment ratio of the students in school of this slum resembles that of Saraswati Camp. 2. Vasant Vihar

a) Kusumpur pahaadi The survey was later extended to Kusumpur Pahaadi, located in Vasant Vihar. The slum is located along the sides of a hollowed hill and thus, aptly named. Kusumpur Pahari is one of the largest slums in Delhi. The slum has about 10,000 to 12,000 houses in it and is located in Vasant Vihar, bordering Delhi's most expensive malls in Vasant Kunj. The slum has several Indian NGOs helping with education, healthcare and micro-finance. Most of the slum dwellers came to Delhi from villages in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Assam and West Bengal to find work as servants, drivers, gardeners and sweepers for the surrounding wealthy neighborhoods. What heartens a person after learning the above facts is that even after the hardships faced by the people, most parents still send their children to school in their neighborhood.

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The team covered about 215 households in 20 visits to all the above stated slums. This survey was conducted in a manner that it served two purposes -First, it would help us give an idea about the current status of implementation of the provisions of the RTE Act and second, it would make people aware of the Act. To facilitate the second purpose, Awareness Camps were conducted in these areas to tell people about the provisions of this act, especially the EWS quota in private schools, which was something only a few people had heard of, and also helped them in the enrollment process in the schools.

Awareness of RTE Act:
Through the surveys, it was realized that all the parents knew about the incentives being provided by the Act to their children, like the Mid-Day Meal and the fact that a scholarship will be given by the school. Most of the parents were unaware of the correct amount that was to be given to their wards and of the fact that even they had a role in the functioning and management of the school. Corporal punishment, banned by law, seemed like the area where parents were following the age old custom of letting the teachers not spare the rod if the child committed a mistake, but some parents complained if this practice was taken a step too far.

The Schools: The schools to which the children from the above stated slums usually go are as follows:

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S.No. 1.

School Name

Remarks   An MCD run school Facilitates elementary education of both boys and girls.

Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidyalaya, Sec-3, R.K. Puram

2. Government Girls Senior Secondary school, sec-4, R.K. Puram

 A GNCT run school.  Girls after completing their elementary education are generally promoted to this school.

3. 4. 5 6.

Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Sec- 3 , R.K. Puram

 A GNCT run school.  Boys after completing their elementary education are generally admitted to this school Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, Sec-2, R.K. Puram  School for full scale education (elementary, senior, etc.) Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidyalaya, Vasant Vihar  Run by MCD.  Most preferred for elementary scale education for both boys and girls Sarvodaya Sahi Shiksha Vidyalaya(Co-ed),Vasant Vihar  School for full scale education (elementary, senior, etc.)

Access: The 3 schools majorly attended by the children of Munirka slums lie in 3 Km radius of the area. Even though accesses to the schools are not marred by any obstacles, the DDA flyover beside the slum makes it difficult for the children to cross the road and walk down to school. On the other hand, children in the Kusumpur Pahaadi are more at ease with walking to their schools as the two majorly attended schools are situated right behind the slum and lie within 1km radius of the area. Admissions: The study revealed that fees related to admission procedure were not (education or otherwise) from the parents. As opposed to the earlier procedure where admission fees was collected, parents described the present procedure as really easy as all they had to do was to show the child’s birth certificate to the authority concerned to get their wards' name registered with the school. It was noted that admission tests or interview of the child were held in rare cases. However, readmissions of students who are dropped out due to some unavoidable reason, came out to be an issue. Also it was found that almost 80% of the students are not admitted in an age appropriate class. There are some children who are 10 years old and in class 2. Generally most children are lagging by 2-3 years. Also, many parents reported that the schools are still collecting fees for ID cards and in the name of Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) funds. The parents also complained that they neither was there adequate information about the different entitlements and provisions nor are there platforms or spaces were one could raise their grievances.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. William Butler Yeats

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A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. -Brad Henry

Kanchan a resident of shamshaan bhumi was denied readmission after she went for a long leave as she was suffering from dengue.

Infrastructure: In terms of infrastructure, the schools in Munirka are better than those of Kusumpur Pahaadi. Toilets in the schools for Munirka though are functional but still not liked by the students because of the stench whereas in the Kusumpur Pahaadi side, they are not functional and hence are not in use. Drinking water appeared to be an area where the two slums were in agreement with each other. Although, majority (67%) of the children said they get clean drinking water in school, most children said that they carry drinking water bottles from home reflecting the poor basic infrastructure facilities in these schools.

Teachers: The number of permanent teachers in the senior secondary schools of Munirka was found to be approximately 40 with each teacher educating about 45 to 52 students in each class. The one school where the school visit was conducted had 31 appointed contract teachers and 9 additional guest teachers with a total strength of 880 students. It was also observed that apart from teaching, the teachers were assigned a number of non-teaching duties like campaigns for polio, census, election duties etc., which left little time for them to teach and finish the syllabi. A common belief amongst the slum dwellers is that the teachers “eat up” half of their child' scholarship amount, which is why children get their scholarships at different times in the year and less than the designated amount. When asked, the teachers clarified that they give as much money as is received by them. Also, the teachers complained that the parents only cared about the scholarships and only came to school when it was time to collect it and if called for a meeting, avoided coming to school.

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Quality and Classroom Transaction: In this field, the children in Munirka slums found themselves to be much more privileged than most of the children in Kusumpur Pahaadi. The schools in Munirka have been providing the children with sports equipment like basketball, cricket set for boys and badminton and volleyball for girls. Though what seemed surprising was that there was no allotted period for physical education or ‘P.T’ as it is widely referred. Library facility has also been made a part of their curriculum to urge them to read more books. The school visits also brought to our notice that one of the schools Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Sec-3, R.K. Puram had installed a fire drill map on each of its floors along with First-Aid instructions on its bulletin boards to ensure safety of the children in case of emergency. On the other hand, facilities like sports equipments and library seem to be absent in Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidyalaya situated near Kusumpur Pahaadi. When asked about their teachers, the most common reply of every student in Munirka was that they liked their teacher and also seemed to appreciate the teaching skills of their teachers. Only the children who had become a target of corporal punishment or other unfair means were the ones who contradicted this popular notion. Also, children, who have problems with their teachers, mostly don’t prefer complaining at all as they fear that if the teacher comes to know, they will be beaten. It was not easy to start a frank conversation with kids. Most of the time they would just nod their head as answer to every question!

Neha , a resident of MotiLal Nehru Camp, was beaten by her teacher over a trivial matter. She was hospitalized for 2 months, as a result of this, claims the mother.

Most of the children in this area (90%) like going to school which is reflected by the high percentage (86%) of students who go regularly to school. Also, 85% of the students interviewed were of the opinion that they understood what was taught in class.

This is interesting to note as our analysis shows that “Poor teaching can lead to drop outs from school”. We have observed that the students who go regularly to school are more likely to like their teachers and understand what is taught in class than those who don’t go regularly to school. The attendance in school may thus be influenced by the perception of teaching in class. Also there seems to be a correlation between children not going to school regularly and children complaining about corporal punishment. Around 66% of the students who don’t go to school regularly complained about teachers beating them up as compared to 38% of the children who go to school regularly.

Nitin a resident of Kusumpur pahadi was not allowed to sit in exams after he went for a leave. Moreover, the school sent a scholarship receipt at his house to get the signature of his parents on it, though the family was not given money .

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Entitlements

The lack of awareness about the different provisions of the RTE Act also included lack of information about scholarships, uniforms and such other. And since there was lack of correct information, thus it lead to parents been constantly suspicious of the school authorities to be involved in mal practice and corruption. No parent seemed to know how much their child was entitled to and were constantly complaining that the amount given to them was too less to buy 2 pairs of uniforms. Most of them had to pay half of amount from their own pockets. Also, it was found that in some schools the general trend was to hand over Rs500 to every student, irrespective of their classes while in others, children from the same class but in different schools were getting a different amount. Some schools in Munirka were still providing the students with books along with the scholarship money, but in Kusumpur pahaadi it was noticed that schools generally refrained from providing books themselves and told the parents to buy them from the money that was given to them. The Mid-day meal seemed to be the only entry in the preamble that had its box satisfactorily checked. The children in Munirka slums spoke of it with a lot of admiration and even liked what was being served to them. There were, however, some complaints in regarding the quantity of the food being served to them. Some students complained that they were given only two “Puris” with “Sabji” which is clearly not sufficient for them. In Kusumpur Pahaadi side, if the children asked for more food, they were denied straight away saying that they have already got their portions. Most students have given us a lot of suggestion to add more variety like maggi, paranthas, chhole bhature, etc. to the food provided. Even if 72% of the students say the MDM is good, many of them still prefer to take food from home.

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Community Participation and Grievance Redressal The RTE Act made the formation of School Management Committee (SMC’s) mandatory, so that the parents would have a say in the overall functioning of the school and to make the process better. But, even after 3 years of implementation of the Act, the idea is yet to see the light of the day. Most of the parents (99%) did not know what the SMC is. Also majority (69%) of the parents have never been called for a parent teacher meeting in school. Some the parents go to school to drop their children but have never interacted with the teachers to get an idea about the performance of their children in school. Most parents have said that they would like to be more involved in the school activities and be updated about their children.

Through the school visits, it was realized that even the school authorities were unaware of the SMC and its constitution. The school authorities clarified by saying that no instructions or orders had come to them to form any such committee. It was noticed that the parents were usually very hesitant to go to schools to complain against something and generally refrained from it or waited till the time they had a group of other parents with similar problems as theirs to go along them as they were afraid of being insulted by the teachers. When asked, some of the parents supported the claim that teachers spoke to them rudely whenever they tried complaining about something.

“The Guards at ‘Ramjas School’ R.K. puram, sector4, as instructed by the school, didn’t allow me to enter the school premises when I went to collect the form “said Pinky, a resident of Motilal Nehru camp, Munirka. She added that the guards misbehaved with her saying that they were poor and couldn’t afford to pay the school transportation fees let alone the tuition fees and that these schools were not meant for people like them.

Parents raised the concern of lack of platforms where they could get information about different entitlements and also register their grievances without been shouted at or insulted. Our survey shows that 79% of the parents don’t complain about any problem that they may have with the school and 90% of the parent don’t even know if there is any grievance re103 dressal mechanism in the school.

EWS Admissions The team organized a camp to spread the awareness of EWS Admissions. The initial response recorded in the Munirka slums was terrific with about 21 parents interested in admitting their children in private schools. But, the initial enthusiasm died down as parents started getting a little hesitant about approaching these big schools. Their hesitancy proved to be correct when some families went to the respective schools and were invariably

Sparks in the dark Here’s the story about two kids that touched me the most. The first one is about a boy named Abhishek in fourth standard. I found him intellectually miles ahead of his neighborhood kids. He is an otherwise calm and confident boy, but with some worries on his face. He and his mother showed the same concern. He had to go through some breaks from his education due to serious family issues (precisely, death of relatives). As explained to me, they originally belonged to a middle class family but had to join the slum community after being caught up by the poverty. He would do everything to utilize his best potential and simultaneously covering the gaps. But life is not that easy and the primary school environment is even worse. Teachers are quick in identifying him as a hard working kid but unenthusiastic to teach properly. His classmates pass most of their time fighting and idling and he's yet to find a friend with same level of sincerity. Doubting that that mob will adversely affect his capabilities, he doesn’t mix up with other kids. We also discussed about his further education. Private schools were far beyond his reach but Kendriya Vidyalaya turned out to be a good option. The good part being his mother has been promised some help by the woman she works for as maid.

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Another story is about a girl from Motilal Nehru camp who chooses arts after scoring 82% in 10th board exams. Her father, a vegetable vendor wishes to send her in a good college (or atleast a college) but doesn't have any clue about it. In both case, the enthusiasm has been covered by a vicious blanket of poverty and ignorance. Unfortunately we are still struggling over the access of basic education and mid-day meal. The issue of tapping such talents and providing them the right platform comes much later in chronological order.

In another school of South Delhi, Radhika a resident of Sarasvati camp, Munirka was asked to bring a voter ID, ration card, an income certificate and her birth certificate just to get the ‘form’ from the school, which also happens to be available on the Delhi education Department’s website at the click of a mouse and free of cost. The parents now have given up on this dream.

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Authors: Jyoti Kumari (LSR, DU), Meghal Arora (Teri University), Niharika Yadav (LSR, DU), Prerna Kanan (LSR, DU), Riyanka Negi (LSR, DU), Shivani Dev (LSR, DU) and Shivani Malhotra (Teri University)
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I. INTRODUCTION The year 2009 marked a historical moment for the children of India. It is the year when the Indian Government passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. This Act serves as a building block to ensure that every child has his or her right (as an entitlement) to get a quality elementary education, and that the State, with the help of families and communities, fulfils this obligation. Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure both free and child-centered and child-friendly education.

‘‘The main hope of a nation lies in proper education of its youth’’ ~ Desiderius Erasmus For a country with second largest population and a massive youth bulge, low literacy rate squashes the hopes of exploiting the demographic dividend. Keeping this in mind, this landmark act was passed in 2009 and notified by Delhi Government in March, 2010. The schools were given 3 years to upgrade their standards and bring them at par with the norms specified in the Act. As the transition period of 3 years draws close, JOSH (Joint Operation For Social Help), a Delhi based nonprofit organization formed a team of volunteers to assess the implementation of the Act. The area of study is Begumpur slum situated in Malviya Nagar locality of South Delhi. Begumpur basically comprises of two slum clusters named Valmiki Camp and Indira Camp. The population pre dominantly comprises of migrants who earn a living by working as domestic help, construction workers, small shopkeepers etc. The economic profile as observed during visits does not hint at any wide income gap. The religious profile comprises of Hindus and Muslims, with Hindus being the numerically dominant. The Slum comprises of large proportion of school-aged children with most of them being enrolled in nearby MCD schools. The survey included students from both government and public schools. In total, 7 public schools and 7 government schools were covered. Households with children between 6 to 14 years of age were covered, with one child from each house. To minimize any bias, the elder child was interviewed, from the house, which had two kids satisfying the age criteria followed by the second to eldest in the next house and so on. As stated before that the majority of the population are migrants and its worth to mention that we during our field visits came across several parents who wanted their kids to get education but were unable to provide some key certificates required to get admission. Also, there were a few cases where because of frequent travel between Delhi and their villages, children either missed out on school or dropped out and now cannot join back because of age-appropriate 107 criteria.

This report is a compilation of our effort to bring forth the ground reality in the implementation of RTE. The surveys for the same were conducted during December of 2012. This document aims to discuss the issues, concerns and hopes of people impacted by this Act. We hope our little effort does justice to the needs of young India and gives them and their parents a hope for a better tomorrow.

II. RTE: STATUS OF AWARENESS Most of the parents in the camp were aware about the act, not in terms of all the provisions but in terms of education being provided for free, the mid-day-meal, free stationary, and uniform. Most parents did not know about the 25% reservation of seats for EWS in private schools. However we did come across households where children were admitted into private schools under the EWS quota but even these people had partial information about the EWS provision for instance whether two children from the same household could be admitted in the same school under EWS provision, hence in spite of being aware in terms of existence of the RTE they seemed pretty aloof about the provisions in the act. Several parents were unaware of the various scholarships the Act entitled their children to. They knew about the free education or absence of any fee provision but seemed pretty lost when it came to other features like existence of School Management Committees or SMC’s and Parent Teacher Meetings. However it was good to see that most of the schools conducted regular parent teachers meeting but disheartening that almost all the parents said that they had no clue about the SMC. 59% of the parents said that they were called for Parents Teachers Meeting and 94% of the parents admitted that they were not informed about any SMC by the school authorities. The same was revealed to be true during school visits, wherein most of the schools, the authorities agreed that SMC’s had not been formed. SMC’s will serve as a strong connecting medium between parents and school authority as it would enable the parents and the community to participate in the decision making process. The fact that no serious action has being taken for SMC’s till now is an important area of concern.

“Bhuvneshwari one of the student says they are taught in balcony because they don’t have enough classrooms”

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III. TEACHERS “A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.” Quality of education depends to a great extent on how knowledge is imparted to the kids. Clearly, the process of student-teacher interaction and the role of good teachers cannot be undermined. In this context, this Act has laid down certain norms pertaining to the teachers. In terms of the pupil-teacher ratio which according to the act should be 30:1, most of the schools that were surveyed fare well. While the pupil-teacher ratio for one of the schools, named MMTC Govt. Boys Senior Secondary School is approximately 33:1, for another school i.e. the Govt. Boys Senior Secondary School stands at 21:1hence fulfilling the requisite criteria. As per the act, part time teachers for extracurricular activities like music and sports should be appointed. However for two out of the four schools that were surveyed, there was no such provision. One of the schools – Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidyalaya did have a music teacher, however due to the decreasing participation of students, the teacher left. Some general grievances of the teachers were also recorded. They complained of the disrespectful and violent behavior of parents, which at times could be frightening. Some cases of thefts of school infrastructure like desks and wires etc were also reported by the staff. Besides they complained of the children being too indisciplined and of the lack cooperation from the community and local employees. The teachers felt overburdened since they were also heavily involved in certain non teaching duties like census and election etc.

“Sumit, a resident of US 8/36 Begumpur, Malviya Nagar, now works at a barber shop. He however is educated till second standard and dropped out of school owing to constant bullying he faced which eventually led to his declining interest in studies. He complains that lack of interest shown by the teachers to address his plight was a major factor that led to this decision.

Hence the onus to making a good teacher also lies in the fact that proper provision are needed to allow teachers to perform their duties to the best possible level. Relieving them off the extra activities and providing them with the requisite infrastructure and respect will in term work as an incentive for better implementation of the act.

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IV. QUALITY&CLASSROOM TRANSACTIONS The Right To Education Act ensures that every child receives quality elementary education with state being responsible for the same. The effective implementation of the act has expanded its network ensuring large number of children between the ages of 6 to 14years receive education. However, ensuring quality of the knowledge imparted is the fundamental aspect of this right. Thus enquiring about the quality of education from the beneficiaries i.e. parents and children is an essential part of this survey. Most parents complained about the teacher’s absenteeism and careless attitude in term of children education

“Sabira Begum, mother of 8year old Mohmmad Asif, expressed her desire for computer education in school, she even shared her dream of her son moving out of the slum and doing well for himself. Same sentiments were shared by many other parents.”

Teachers not only impart knowledge, but are also responsible for nurturing the young souls with good morals. Also, the classroom interactions have a decisive impact on these young kids, their affinity for school, regularity and interest in studies is inevitably linked to it. Thus, lack of assessment of teachers is another issue plaguing our education system. Teachers who are recruited by the government to only teach in government schools, do not teach anything in class and ask the parents to send the kids to tuition for minimal fees ranging from 200-500 a month. Also as reported nearly 59% of teachers have asked students to get money from home for activities ranging from school functions, identity cards, showing of answer scripts etc.

Schools are also responsible for all round development of child. Hence, it is imperative to focus not only on academic education but also to extra co-curricular activities like music, dance and sports. As understood by our surveys, 88% of the students liked their teachers while only 76% understood what is taught in class. While 86% reported that they had a library in school and maximum students complained of not getting books for home. While 50% got sports equipments like ball, bats etc for playing, primary school kids complained about lack of music and dance training in schools. Armaan (8), is extremely passionate about dancing but no such facility is available in school. His mother, appreciating her child’s needs informs us about her plan to get him enrolled in dance classes during his summer break.

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“Dilip Kumar(12), was asked to pay Rs3 for every answer script he was shown after exams”

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In spite of physical punishment being illegal, 43%of the students reported to have experienced physical beating of any sort. Maximum students feared their teachers. This view was substantiated by Jay Kumar, who after the beating was even scared to report the incident.

Thus RTE needs to sensitize teachers towards the needs of child development.

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V. ENTITLEMENTS The entitlements that have been provided to students are not sufficient as told by many parents . They don’t cover all the requirements that are necessary for completion of quality education of a student . Some parents are also very much aware about what are the entitlements that should be provided for their child. 69% of the parents said their children are entitled to scholarship. Out of 204 , 34 children are getting Rs.700, 1 child is getting Rs.400, 45 are getting Rs.500, 7 are getting Rs.1000,4 kids are getting Rs.1100, 3 kids are getting Rs.1500. In case of children with special needs, only 14% students reported to have seen any students with special needs in their schools. Thus lack of proper facilities in terms of school infrastructure and well-equipped and properly trained teachers for such children in another area of concern.

“Another case of lack to sensitivity among schools for the children with special needs came into light in the form of mother who lives with her two children in Valmiki Camp, US 8/175. Saroj, whose one kid is mentally retarded, is constantly struggling to keep up with life. She spoke to us about how she went to various homes where they take care of kids such as her daughter but all were very expensive, she broke down talking about the various struggles her daughter has to face. She is a working woman and has to constantly ask others to help her. Phone Number: 9958858762” As far as MDM is concerned 29% of children reportedly didn’t like the food in MDM, 19.6% said the quantity was insufficient for them and 20.5% don’t like menu of MDM.

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VI.COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION & GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL One of the main features of the RTE act is the formation of the School management Committee (SMC). Sadly no one has even heard of it. Quite naturally no one knew about the election procedure or if any meetings were held. 59% parents were called for Parent Teacher Meetings but most of them complained that the teacher did not talk about the child’s progress. 39% were not called for Parent Teacher Meetings. 41% parents never visited the school to check up on the school. 69% of the parents had never complained to the authorities about the school facilities or rather the lack of them. When we visited the camp parents had a lot of complaints, but when it actually came down to reporting to the concerned authorities, most of them had the same answer, “What is the point? . Their problems with the school ranged from teachers not teaching, teachers making the children clean the classrooms, gossiping in class, broken chairs, crowded classrooms, beating up children, dirty bathrooms, other kids brutally fighting and bullying, and no drinking water.
S ome of t he children who dared t o complain about t he injust ice met ed out t o t hem were blunt ly asked by t he t eacher” , why do you have t o st udy ? ” , “ What will you

become? Y ou have t he same dest iny as your mot her”

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The plight of 12-year-old Anchal, was that she was asked to pay up Rs 700 by the school for uniform with a promise of future reimbursement of Rs 1000. Anchal’s mother Kiran was extremely displeased she said ,” I have a family of five with three kids in school ,my budget anyway run’s tight, how am I suppose to spare money for school uniform when the income was insufficient for even the basic necessitates ?”

The major improvements the parents wanted were cleaner classrooms, fewer kids in the class, regular electricity, good food, responsible teachers, computer labs, safety for girls, and more classes. d were cleaner classrooms, fewer kids in

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VII. EWS ADMISSIONS According to the Act, every private unaided school should compulsorily allow 25 percent of its entry level admissions from the EWS category, i.e., from the underprivileged and weaker sections of the society. The state government shall reimburse to the school the expenditure made on the child or the fee, whichever is lower. As far as the levels of awareness are concerned, relatively better off ones knew and understood about the EWS admissions. The major difficulty faced by the people is their inability to get admissions for their children because of lack of requisite documents like income affidavit, five year residency proofs etc. The problem has deeper roots as a majority of these people have little awareness about the procedure to make these certificates and delays in the process add to the misery.

Among the various cases we came across while searching for feedback from people at Begumpur, one was the case of Mr. Dharmendra Kumar (works as a computer operator in Moti Bagh) who had applied to fourteen private schools in the vicinity of his residence in Begumpur but was confirmed admission for his 3 year old son Ansh in one school only. Two more schools have his name at the 7th position under the waiting list as there is a system of draw of lots for getting admission. He awaits the response from 11 more schools who will declare the names of children admitted to these schools on 15th February. Private schools shortlist children for admission on the basis of distance between their homes and the schools. Such is the criteria of the schools that those children who stay within a radius of 1km are given the first priority. Should there be any seats remaining, admission shall be given to those residing withing a radius of 3kms (and 6kms subsequently). He is expecting that his son will get admission in a nearby school so that he can save on the conveyance money. He explains that it is comparatively easier to get admissions in government schools because they accept late cases as well but that comes at a cost of Rs. 11000 per admission. He sounds positive with regard to government schools as they do not hesitate to take handicapped children. A friend of his could get his physically impaired son admitted into a government school by paying Rs. 11000. Also, the numbers of seats are more.

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He recounts that private schools are partial towards those people who have contacts inside the school. Thus, they are given preference when being allotted admission. People use unfair means to gather forms. On an average, a person is required to stand in the queue for 3-4 hours to acquire the EWS form and has to go the very next day in order to submit it. It is difficult to take leave every day. He sums up by saying that there are several hassles attached to the EWS category admissions.

“The case of Mr. Rizwan Khan, father of Sohail and Somiya (4 yrs) is that he could not get his daughter admitted to a good private school because of lack of forms at the school. He is a day wage laborer in Gurgaon and so he cannot afford to take several days off for a task which seemed easy then but now seems daunting to him. Such experiences lead to frustration and helplessness among” the people”

“Kusum mother of sahil, 8, expressed her anguish on sending her child to tuition just to compensate for lack of teachers guidance at school”

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VIII. CONCLUSION As per the 2011-2012 economic survey, India will emerge as one of the youngest nations by 2020. However, reaping the potential benefits of this demographic dividend and not turning it into a bane for the nation instead, is highly contingent on our youth being ‘healthy, educated and appropriately skilled’. Education is a pivotal input in developing human capital. The Right to education act is thus being implemented with the primary aim of empowering the youth through education. Over the course of its implementation in the past three years, the act has come under fire from time to time for various reasons. This survey was an effort to capture, at the grass root level, as to how the act has helped the intended beneficiaries. The aggregate picture that emerged was quite unsatisfactory. The study revealed some jaw dropping facts about certain provisions in the act. While most of the parents were broadly aware of the RTE act per se, they were in complete oblivion when it came to the EWS provision and School management committees. School authorities in most of the schools themselves admitted that the SMC’s had not been formed

The schools also seemed to be turning a blind eye to the needs of the disabled children. Most of the schools lacked proper infrastructural facilities for these kids like ramps etc, besides the teachers also were not given any special training to deal with the children with special needs.

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Another major area of concern was the quality of education as told by the kids. Teacher absenteeism, cases of teachers beating up the kids, inadequate teacher pupil ratio, improper facilities for extracurricular activities like sports etc were some of the broad problems. What was sad was that there were no grievance re-dressal platforms for both the parents and children. Most of them did not complained either due to lack of awareness of appropriate platforms that might be existing or because they were too afraid to complain to anyone. Some complaints also poured in from the teachers during the school audits. These were particularly related to the non teaching duties they are allocated and non cooperation from other staff members. Perhaps, what was particularly sad was the fact that most of the parents had become very complacent and admitted to the fact that they had no option but to be satisfied with the ongoing state of affairs. While not completely disillusioned, three years of shoddy implementation of the act could only make them grudgingly imagine that conditions would improve. However, there was definitely a section that were at least happy with the fact that with next to nothing resources they have, at least their children were getting education and were definitely hopeful that their future was ‘a little’ better than the present.

Thus, problems abound. However in the midst of all them, some hope lies in the fact that most of the kids were enthusiastic about going to school. RTE, on paper, is a powerful tool and the only thing that can strengthen their hope is its effective implementation.

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RTE STATUS REPORT:
Status of RTE Implementation in Delhi

Authors: Kinshu Dang (Ramjas, DU), Prachi Kanauji (LSR, DU), Divya Tewari (MA, DSE),Roshni Kumari (LSR, DU), Princy Bansal (LSR, DU), Aneish Goel (IIT, Delhi), Siddhartha Chakroborthy (Hindu, DU),Sargam Thind (LSR, DU), Saumya Gupta (LSR, DU) and Swetha Shekhar (LSR, DU)

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This report covers the areas of Nizamuddin and Sarai Kale Khan neighbourhoods in South Delhi. Dotted with small eateries, ittar shops and heritage structures, Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin is a vibrant community centred around the dargah of the 14th century Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Sarai Kale Khan, on the other hand, is surrounded by monuments such as Purana Qila, Humayun’s Tomb, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah, Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana's Tomb, Baara Pullah and others. The localities are thus significant not only in their historical context but also the spiritual, artistic and religious context.

The areas under survey were predominantly inhabited by Muslim families living harmoniously with a few Christian and Hindu families. The distribution of income in the areas hinted at an economic gap resulting from people from a variety of occupations ranging from landlords and shopkeepers to daily wage workers, rickshaw pullers, and auto drivers. Children studying in government schools, as well as those studying in private schools under the EWS provision of the RTE Act formed a part of our survey. The children who formed a part of our survey attended one of the 15 government and 9 private schools. It was possible for the surveyors to make visits to only 4 of the government schools, however, since the rest had already shut down for their summer break when the survey was on. The data on private schools is thus based solely on the students’ and their parents’ responses.

In spite of the high rates of illiteracy among parents, it was heartening to see an extremely high enrolment rate among children in the basti. However, while the light of knowledge should have illuminated the faces of the youngest teens, they were blissfully ignorant of even the basics of the three R's (reading, writing, arithmetic).

Another big problem that was observed was the high number of cases of age-inappropriate admissions.

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One of the brilliant, young girls who was a part of the survey.
One of the biggest problems however, was the high number of school drop-outs. Most of these children had previously been studying at the evening school called Ibtida being run by the DPS, Mathura Road authorities before it was declared unrecognised and shut down. All the children studying there were consequently thrown out of school without any proof of schooling.

In view of these issues, our report focuses on six broad areas: • the availability and accessibility of government schools in South Delhi, • the state of basic infrastructural facilities (toilets, mid-day meal, drinking water, libraries, etc.) in these schools, • the entitlements and scholarships guaranteed to the children under the RTE Act, • the quality of education and classroom transactions in these schools, • the level of community participation and platforms for grievance redressal in schools, and • admissions under the EWS (Economically Weaker Section) provision of the RTE Act.

Since the quality of data influences every aspect of policy and design of institutional reforms, it has been ensured that the sample taken into consideration is a good representative of the population of the aforementioned neighbourhoods of South Delhi. This was ensured through randomised sampling so that there were no biases present in the sample collected. Our team hopes that our final report on the implementation of Right to Education Act (2009) serves as a vigorous stimulus for ideas and recommendations which can ensure better implementation of the act not only in Delhi, but all over India.

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BRIEF STATUS OF AWARENESS OF THE RTE ACT

While none of the respondents were aware of the RTE Act per se, most of them knew broadly about the general provisions therein. This was largely a result of a number of surveys and social audits previously carried out in the areas by other NGOs, as well as the initiatives taken by the much revered Aga Khan Foundation.

However, most parents were not aware of the specific provisions of the Act. For instance, while they were aware that their children were entitled to receive a scholarship for purchasing their uniform, the minority scholarships, as well as a scholarship for the girl child, most were unaware of the exact amounts for the same. They accepted whatever amount was handed over to them by the school authorities. They were also not aware of the fact that their children could not be denied admission to a government school on the grounds that their documents were not complete. Most were uninformed about the fact that they could not be charged any money whatsoever by the school authorities, and were paying a marginal but positive amount of monthly school fee, fee for getting I-cards made, PTA fee, etc. They were absolutely ignorant when it came to laws regarding SMCs, corporal punishment, and the mandated infrastructure in schools. The Mid Day Meal Scheme was one of the very few provisions that every parent was aware of. With regard to the EWS provision of the act, there were significant gaps as far as the knowledge about the same is concerned. The relatively economically better off people were the ones who were, in general, more aware about EWS. Most parents had several concerns related to the act. They felt that the government had failed badly in its goal of providing “quality” education to the children.

ACCESS

Distance: Most of the students walked to school as they stayed within 100metres and 3 kms of the school. However, there was sometimes a trade-off involved between the distance of school from home, and the quality of schooling. In that case, some few chose the latter. For that reason, some of the children who studied in schools located at greater distances had to go to school by rickshaws, vans or buses. For instance, Mohmmed Nazim studying at NDMC, Lodhi Road, travelled to school by bus, and it still took him an hour to get to school. Similarly Mohammed Sameer studying at Navyug School too had to go by bus since his school was more than 3 kms away from his house. These households for whom their children’s schools were more than 3 kms away from home had to spend anywhere between Rs.300 to Rs. 1000 extra on conveyance.

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Admissions: A number of parameters related to school admissions were included in the questionnaires to study various aspects of the RTE Act. 78% of the parents reported that they had not had to pay any application form fee. The remaining 22%, however, still had had to pay an application form fee, despite the RTE Act preventing the schools from charging it. As many as 22% of the parents had paid an admission fee to get their child admitted to school. 46% of the parents reported that they were paying fees of other kinds in the form of monthly fees, fee for I-card, etc.56% of the students too reported the same thing. Further, no receipt had been given to 69% of the parents for these fee payments made by them. This was clear indication of the fact that these were all unauthorised payments being collected by the school authorities. This clearly shows that the provision of the RTE that prevents schools from charging any amount from these poor families is being routinely violated. The amounts the poor households have to pay may appear to be not very large, but as a proportion of their incomes, they still form a significant share.

Despite the government having ruled that no admission tests of any form would be conducted for the parents or their children, 33% of the children had had to appear for a written test, and 30% for an interview. 14% of the parents too were interviewed for the admission of their children. Some of the people surveyed had to keep migrating often on account of the temporary nature of their employment. The children of such parents were found to have a lot of trouble getting quick admission in schools. Age inappropriate admissions were a big issue in most of these schools. 21% of the admissions were reported to be age-inappropriate. Principals of half of the surveyed schools themselves acknowledged that there were age inappropriate admissions taking place in their school. This was primarily on account of the ignorance of the parents, who often did not get their children admitted to school at the right age. In some cases, age-inappropriate admissions also happened because the child had to keep migrating along with his/her parents who did not have any stable employment.

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Drop-outs: A number of drop-outs were found in the areas surveyed. 2 or 3 of them had dropped out because their parents had both expired and as a result, they had to start working. Most of the cases of drop-outs were, however, on account of having been thrown out of the evening school, “Ibtida” that was being run by the DPS, Mathura Road authorities. These children had failed to secure admission in any other school since they had not been provided with any Transfer Certificate or any other proof of schooling by DPS. One case that came to light in respect of dropouts was that of a boy who was 9 years of age. He had fallen seriously ill because of which he had to drop out of school. After being treated by a “hakeem” in U.P. for 3 months, when he tried getting admission back into school, he was refused since he could not produce a medical certificate. As a result, the boy was now out of school. Another peculiar feature that was observed in these areas was that a number of children had been drawn out from school by their parents, and they attended tuition classes run by the HOPE Foundation. Parents felt that sending their children to school was a waste of time, as nothing of worth was taught to them there. For example, Nasir Hussain, a resident of Nizammudin Basti had withdrawn his child from the MCD Primary School, and got him admitted for tuition classes conducted by the HOPE project as the parent was not satisfied with the quality of teaching in the school at all. Infrastructure: The infrastructural conditions were far from satisfactory, especially the most necessary facilities—toilets and clean drinking water. The information provided by the parents as well as their children corroborated well with the state of infrastructure found in the school surveys.

Out-of-School Children: There were a few out of school children found loitering around in the Central Park in Nizamuddin Basti. Most of the out-of-school children belonged to very poor families, and their parents were not very interested in sending their children to school. One boy who worked as a vegetable vendor said that he could never enrol in school because his family was very poor, and so he had to fend for them by selling vegetables by the day. Another girl named Rukaiya had never attended school. Her mother said that in the year 2011 (when the RTE Act had already been implemented in Delhi), she had tried to get her admitted in MCD Primary School, Sarai Kale Khan Village, but she was denied admission because apparently there were no more seats left in that school. One positive feature, however, was that there were very few out of school girls that the surveyors came across.

A view of the area outside the toilet of one of the KNSKV Jangpura

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Surprisingly, 67% of the children reported that their schools had functional toilets, and 65% reported that their school had clean drinking water facility. However, taking into account their description about the state of these toilets (described by most as very dirty, stinky, with no soap, and a lot of times no water as well) and the quality of water (salty and hard water), we found that only 21% of toilets could be classified as “usable”, and 28% of the water sources “drinkable”. Further, considering the fact that these were accounted for mostly by students studying in private schools under the EWS scheme, it would not be wrong to conclude that the state of provisioning in government schools was in a state of disrepair.

In the school visits, toilets were found to be dirty and stinky. A few schools did not have proper water facility in toilets. In this scenario, children, especially girls, avoided using the toilets in school. Heena, 14, a student at Kamla Nehru Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalya pointed towards the hypocrisy of teachers who had separate toilets for themselves, which were much cleaner and better maintained as compared with the students’ toilets. Some girls from MCD School also complained that the boys used their toilets because the size of their toilets was too small. However, this was not found to be the case when the school visits were made. Drinking water was available in 3 out of the 4 schools surveyed at the time of the survey, and had water cleaning devices installed. However, children complained that water supply was irregular, and that water was salty. In one of the schools (Kamla Nehru Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya), water facility was so bad that the children had to request the pedestrians to fetch them water from the nearby Gurudwara. This was a problem reported by a number of students from that school. There were handicapped students in all except 1 school surveyed. Although all students said that the teachers took extra care of the disabled students, the infrastructure in the schools was not disabled-friendly. None of the schools surveyed had any ramps or any other form of disabledfriendly infrastructure. Besides, although the classrooms in all of these schools were well-furnished, many of them were found to be very dirty at the time of the survey, and the students reported that a lot of times the teachers made them clean the classrooms, something that they did not willingly want to do. A case in point is Samiya (Kamla Nehru Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya), who complained that teachers in their school made students clean the classrooms. 65% of the schools were reported to have libraries. This is a low number, considering the fact that the RTE Act mandates each school to maintain a library. What was more disappointing, however, was the fact that 50% of the children reported that they were not allowed to borrow books from the library. Mohammed Shabir, a class five student at the Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Sarai Kale Khan mentioned how the library at his school, though present and wellequipped, always remained locked and therefore inaccessible to students. Similarly, at MCD Primary School, Nizamuddin, some of the students complained that there existed no library in their school, let alone the concept of issuing books to them. However, in the school visit, it was found that there was a library, but books were issued only to students of standard 5.

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From the point of view of the school, this position seems to be somewhat understandable. Teachers said that some students never returned the books given to them, while certain others returned them torn or damaged in other ways. Hence the ” rational” thing to do was to allow students to use the books in the assigned library period, but not let them take it with themselves. Only half of the schools visited had newspapers and magazines in the libraries. On the other hand, all of them had books on all subjects, as well as story books. While 90% of the students reported that they had extra-curricular activities in school, they were very basic activities like drawing, cricket and badminton. In most of the cases, there were no separate teachers for extra-curricular activities, and the burden fell on the subject teachers. Some students also reported that they were simply made to sit during their P.T. periods. 59% of the students reported that they were provided with equipments to play in school. In most cases, these were simply racquets, bats and balls. There weren’t a lot of options available to these kids in terms of the sports activities they could participate in. In one of the school visits, it was observed that these equipments too were not the normal ones, but plastic racquets and bats. Also, since most schools had only 2 or 3 pairs of racquets or bats for the entire school, only very few children actually got to play with them. The only school that stood out in terms of all of its infrastructural facilities was MCD Primary School, Nizamuddin. It had proper drinking water facilities, clean toilets and clean classrooms. Most of this was because of the funding provided by the Aga Khan Foundation. However, parents like Aisha, mother of a 10 year old studying at MCD Primary School, did report infrastructural glitches in the school and added how the school was flooded during the monsoons, and nothing was done regarding this. The other infrastructural facilities were satisfactory. All the schools surveyed had a complete boundary wall or fencing with a gate. None of the schools had broken walls. All of them had barrier-free access to school, adequate seating arrangements in class, and a usable playground.

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TEACHERS

As per the norms of the Act the student teacher ratio should be 30:1. 2 out of the 3 schools from which data on the same could be obtained were following this norm. This was a positive observation. Nonetheless, the level of learning happening in the classrooms was very low. The following was the data obtained corresponding to the schools visited:

PARAMETERS KNSKV,JANGPURA MCD PRIMARY SCHOOL NIZAMUDDIN MCD PRIMARY SCHOOL PANTNAGAR TOTAL NUMBER OF STUDENTS 1200(approx.) 640(approx.) 423 TOTAL NUMBER OF TEACHERS Regular 34,guest teachers 10 and 1 contract 13 which includes 8 permanent ,1 for nursery ,3 contracts and head mistress 13( including HM , 6 permanent,2 contract,1music,1 punjabi) TOTAL NUMBER OF CONTRACT TEACHERS 1 teacher under sarva siksha abhiyan and 10 guest teachers 3 2 SPECIAL TEACHERS FOR CWSN There were teachers to deal with such students but they weren’t really trained as told by the principal of the school trained teachers were there to deal such students Not really trained Pupil teacher ratio Total students/tot teachers = 27 49 33

Thus, the fact that despite the norm prescribed by the government with respect to the student-teacher ratio being met by a majority of the schools, there is still lack of learning, it implies that there is a deeper problem with the system. Besides, out of the schools surveyed, only one (MCD Primary School) had part time teachers for art, music and sports as per the RTE Act, 2009. As a result of the lack of extra-curricular activities in school, most children do not undergo an overall development of their personalities that education must entail. Non teaching duties: Teachers of all the schools surveyed reported that they were, from time to time, involved in non teaching duties such as the census duty, election duty, and other kinds of clerical work as well. However, they said that most of this work was done after school hours, thus not affecting their attendance at school. However, in an interaction with the principal of one of the schools (MCD Primary School), it was found that classes do get disrupted due to pending work and overburdening of teachers due to such duties.

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Grievances of the teachers: Some of the teachers seemed to be dissatisfied with the clause relating to corporal punishment, deeming it to be the reason for the prevailing environment of indiscipline in schools. Some of the teachers, especially those of KNSKV, reported about the helplessness they felt when students harassed them for not complying with their demands. One of the kids studying in standard 8 at KNSKV reported that once in the past, girls of standard 12 fought with one of their teachers over some issue. The teacher was beaten up by these girls, cried and had to fall to her knees and beg for forgiveness from them.

The police had come to school that day. When asked about the downward learning trends among the students, the teachers blamed it on the students and their parents whose lack of interest in studies was responsible for their results. Also, the norm that a student cannot be failed till class 8th was cited as a reason for poor performance of children. They complained that on a number of occasions, despite the children lacking the aptitude for a particular class, they had to be promoted indiscriminately. The quality of teaching was, in general, found to be substandard. There was unanimity on this point that the teaching in government schools left much to be desired. A vast majority (as many as 96%) of the children under our survey sample reported that they like going to school. However, when asked for reasons for the same, most gave non-academic reasons like—“we get to play” or that “we get to be with friends”. Thus, the high value cannot be interpreted as arising from a genuine sense of interest in studies. The same applies to the question of regularity at school. Children were very regular as reported by their parents as well, but the incentives they had for going to school were--being able to meet their friends and play at school. Some isolated cases existed, however, where the children reported that they went to school regularly because they wanted to make a bright career for themselves. The sort of education being imparted was thus not the kind that would keep the students engaged. Most children (90%) said that they liked their teachers. Since liking the teacher is extremely important since it encourages the students to come to school and attend classes, it was good to see that such a huge proportion of the students liked their teachers. In more informal chats, however, they told surveyors that even though they liked their teachers, they did not like their teaching methods and way of teaching. The surveyors were told by the students that their teachers merely wrote out things on the blackboard and asked them to note it all down. Others complained that their teachers would simply tell the class representative what was to be done, and left the class. Javed’s (studying at MCD Primary) mother Madima complained how teachers in the school are not punctual, and often come late to class. Consequently, children end up wasting a lot of their time waiting for the teacher to come. A positive response was given by 85% of the students when asked whether they understood what was being taught in class, which was commendable on part of the teachers. However, there is no clear indication available as to whether this result points towards the competence of the teachers or to the fact that deliberately, very simple things are being taught in school. The surveyors, too, could not cross check for the same. According to most respondents, teachers were willing to repeat instructions and clear doubts. Some teachers, however, scolded children if they asked the teacher to repeat. As a result, they had stopped asking the teachers to do so. A case in point was Sohaib, a student of MCD Primary School, Nizamuddin. He told the surveyors that even though the teachers did repeat instructions if asked to, they also got irritated and scolded the students at the same time. Daniya from KNSKV also reported that teachers sometimes hit students if they asked the teachers to repeat instructions again and again. While corporal punishment was an issue that came up in most conversations (72% of the children reported that corporal punishment was an everyday reality), most of the children acknowledged that it was only resorted to when all other means had been exhausted. The parents too agreed that it was not an issue with them if the teachers hit their child as long as it was to maintain discipline in the class. However, for one of the schools surveyed (Kamla Nehru Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya), many students reported that most of their teachers were very short-tempered, and hit children excessively, often for no fault of theirs. Shazia and Samiya, students of this school recounted that on a lot of occasions, their teachers pulled girls by their hair and punched students.

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DISCIPLINE ISSUES

Shamim, whose daughter Nazia went to standard 7 of the KNSKV, Jangpura complained that the boys of the adjacent school often created ruckus in school. Girls from the school interacted with the boys from the adjacent school, with the boys sometimes even crossing the boundary wall and entering the premises and exhibited indecent behaviour. Since there were no guards manning the back side of the school, it was very easy for the boys to enter the premises by crossing the boundary wall. Kamal, the parent of a 10 year old studying at MCD School, Jungpura complained that elder girls in the school were very violent. The school didn’t seem to have any control over them. ‘’They bully their juniors, and carry cell phones to school. Teachers say that to tackle such girls is beyond their strength. Several times, police has had to be called to resolve such matters. I plan to change my child’s school very soon”, he said. Issue of vandalism and alcoholism was raised by Heena, 14, a student at Kamla Nehru Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalya. She accounted how girls from class 11 and 12 have been found drunk in school and consequently, misbehaving with the teachers and ragging their juniors.

One of the parents with whom the surveyors had a chance to interact in a very detailed manner, Mr. S. Sagheer Hassan Zaidi, father of Yahya, a student at MCD School, Jungpura, complained that their child had received books 6 months after the start of the session, as a result of which his studies suffered a lot. Further, he complained that teachers in his school were very abusive, and thus set an extremely bad example for the students to follow. A similar complaint was made by Kehkasha, a student of the same school. As a result of the poor quality of education, many children were found to be taking private tuitions, thus putting an extra financial burden on the already financially strained families. For example, Shabana, a student of KNSKV had been spending a sum of Rs. 300 a month on her private tuitions. Parents were very concerned about the fact that their children were not able to write out even their own names despite having passed primary school. Numerous accounts of indecorous behaviour at school are a clear indicator of the dismal quality of education being imparted in government schools.

ENTITLEMENTS

Mid Day Meal: 50% of the parents and 40% of the students said that the mid day meals given in school were of poor quality. Most of the children carried food from home, and said that they ate the MDM food only when they could not carry the home-made food due to some reason. Respondents complained that the food was not well-cooked, was sometimes rotten or, at times, even adulterated. Two of the children, Kesha and Hamza complained of the poor quality of the MDM. They told the surveyors that occasionally, the Rajma served to them had worms. They were threatened by the teachers not to tell this to their parents, or else they would be beaten.

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Many of the parents said that either the quality of food should be improved, or the MDM scheme should be scrapped altogether. However, in the outlying areas of the basti such as Khusro Park, where parents earn their living by doing petty jobs such as driving rickshaws or menial tasks, respondents said that the quality of food served was good, and that one of the reasons why they sent their children to school was because they were given food in school. Thus, there were contradictory opinions on the part of the respondents with respect to the quality of the MDM. This could largely be attributed to the difference in their economic statuses. Those who could afford good and healthy food were the ones who complained about the quality of the mid day meals, while those who could hardly afford food had no problems with the MDM. The quantity of food provided under MDM was reported to be sufficient by 65% of the students. Children were mostly allowed to eat as much of food as they wanted. Some children reported that on rare occasions, the MDM food was not available. In those cases they had to go hungry. Students of NDMC School, Lodhi Road, however reported that they got only one helping of the MDM, and that they could not ask for more even if they were still hungry. Most of the children, however, had a problem not with the menu of the MDM, but its quality. Scholarships: 96% of the parents reported that their children were getting the scholarships they were entitled to. This, however, was entirely due to lack of information about the scholarships as well as their exact amounts that their children were supposed to get. When asked by the surveyors to list out all the scholarships and their amounts that their children were entitled to receive, not even one parent could do so. One of the parents, Mr. Haidar Ali, whose child Shamina was studying at MCD School, Jungpura complained that since the exact amount of the scholarship was not known to them, the school gave them different amounts on different occasions. Sanjeeda from KNSKV said that since the correct amount of the scholarship had not been given to her, her parents went to speak with the school authorities. The authorities however said that the amount disbursed was all that they had received from the government. For another student studying at the same school, the parent had to go again and again to request the authorities to give her child the scholarship money.

While notifying us about how dissatisfied Mohd. Shabir’s mother was with the quality of MDM served at her son’s school, she acknowledged that the standard of “good food” is highly relative. Thus, schools should rather provide children with, say, small tetra packs of milk along with a packet of biscuits, as the quality and taste of such products is widely consented.

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Parents complained that the amount given to them for purchasing uniforms was not sufficient, and that they thus had to put in extra money of their own. For getting the minority scholarship and the girl child scholarship, children were asked to get affidavits made, which was an additional expenditure for these poor households.

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL

There was absolute ignorance about the concept of an SMC. Neither the parents, nor the school authorities were aware of what an SMC was. 98 to 99% of the parents either reported that SMCs had not been formed, or that they had no idea about what an SMC was. Further, 75% of the schools surveyed said that no SMC existed in their school.

The platforms for grievance redressal for the parents were thus the principal or the teachers of the school. For proper participation in the school’s functioning as well as keeping track of their pupil’s performance, parents’ only fallback was PTAs. 30% of the parents reported that they had never been called to school for a parent teacher meeting. Some parents complained that there was no proper channel of communication between the teachers and them to pass on information about meetings. While all of the schools claimed that they had proper forums where parents could discuss their problems with the school, only a meagre 19% of the parents said that there were adequate platforms for grievance redressal. Sanjeeda(mother of Nikhat from KNSKV) complained about how the school authorities did not listen to complaints from the parents. Most parents had similar complaints to make. Amongst those who complained to the authorities at school, while some parents reported that the teachers took their complaints into consideration, most said that the teachers were ignorant. Some parents also reported that the principal was inaccessible, since his P.A. did not let them meet him. Certain others reported that while their complaints were heard, they fell on deaf ears.

In many cases, parents were unwilling to complain, having internalized the fact that government schools have been and will be mismanaged and are below satisfactory levels. Most of the children avoided complaining about their teachers to the Principal, because the teachers would mostly get to know who had complained, and hit the children in turn.

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Children from 3 different schools-- Muskan from Nagar Nigam Prathmik Vidyalaya, Warisha and Gulfhia from KNKSV, and Mohammed Nazin from NDMC School, Lodhi Road quoted instances where a student had complained about the teacher to the principal and the teacher came back and scolded/hit the child for having complained. 63% of the students said that even if they had problems with their teachers, they did not complain to anyone. In a few cases, however, the teachers would improve in case a complaint was made against them.

This was a problem associated only with the Government schools. People whose children were studying in the private schools under EWS scheme reported that the teachers kept in constant touch with them over the phone, and any complaints were duly addressed.

EWS ADMISSONS

The major hurdle, which we discovered during the camp, was that households faced while getting admission to schools under EWS was that of getting an income certificate made. They reported that the people at the SDM office would send them back, saying that the office was shut or that the office hours were over. Since most of these people were daily wage labourers, and could not afford to miss work every day to get the certificate made, they put their children in government schools instead.

As far as the admission to private schools under the EWS provision of the RTE is concerned, it was mostly the relatively better off households in the basti that were aware of this provision. The relatively poor ones mostly seemed unaware of it. Filling up for this gap was the main idea behind organising the camp in the basti where we made sure people knew about the admission process under EWS category. On the part of the schools, people said that forms were easily available free of cost. (Most of the students interviewed were studying in DPS, Mathura Road or Air Force Bal Bharti School, Lodhi Road). Some parents however complained that their children had been denied admission owing to lack of adequate documents. One parent reported that the school authorities did not entertain his child’s application despite having all required documents. When asked to give a reason for the same, they told him to produce an OBC certificate, without which admission would not be granted.

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While almost 90% of the students studying in private schools under EWS, as well as their parents, seemed very happy with the facilities in school, its functioning, and their involvement in it, some 10% said that they were discriminated against. Nazima Begum, mother of Tabu Jalal complained of discrimination owing to their socio –economic background. She said that they were discriminated against at parent teacher meetings. Although corporal punishment did not emerge as a problem associated with these schools in general, one student reported that he had been hit so badly by his teacher that he had gone deaf in one ear. The overheads associated with studying at these schools were, however, very high. One of the parents told the surveyors that they had had to pay Rs.3000 for a fancy dress competition. Besides, other expenditures like expenditure on annual magazines, picnics, Icards, exam fee, etc also had to be made. Nazima Begum told the surveyors about how their children were sometimes asked to do some work and search for certain information online. There were, however, no cyber cafes around, and even if there were, they couldn’t have afforded to send them there every now and then. This made their kids feel out of place and not at ease with the relatively better off kids in school.

One of the most important issues associated with EWS that emerged was one associated with the evening school called “Ibtida” which was previously being run by the DPS authorities. Since this school had no recognition, it was shut down by the government authorities, and students who had been studying there were thrown out of school without any certificate or proof of schooling of any kind. As a result, most of them failed to secure admission at any other school, and were consequently out of school at the time of our survey.

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IBTIDA SHIKSHA KENDRA CASE STUDY

One peculiar case that was encountered by the team as part of the surveying exercise was regarding the now defunct evening school (Ibtida) that was previously being run by one of the illustrious schools of Delhi--DPS, Mathura road.

The school had been started in the year 2001 with the intention of providing quality education to children from poor families of the Nizamuddin and nearby areas, who could not afford private school education. However, after many years of imparting quality education the school was declared unauthorised, and shut down, thus affecting the future of many students. These students thereafter tried seeking admission in the nearby government schools like KNSKV, Jangpura and MCD School, Nizamuddin. Parents complained, however, that DPS (Ibtida) had not given their children any proof of schooling as it was not affiliated to any of the recognised education boards, and was more or less like an informal school. Thus, in many cases, children were denied admission to other schools owing to the lack of proof of any affiliation of the previous school. Consequently, many children ended up not getting admission anywhere. Also, students who did get admitted to government schools complained about their difficulty and inability in understanding what was being taught at school, since the teachers employed Hindi as the medium of instruction in these schools, as against the medium used in their previous school-English. The students raised various other issues related to the decadent state of education in these government institutions that they were now attending, and their helplessness at not being able to do anything about it. Owing to the acuteness of the problem, the parents approached the chief minister, Mrs. Sheila Dixit and requested her to do something about it. Even though she interacted with the school principal, nothing substantive was done to solve the problem. The following case studies substantiate the above stated arguments are firstly, Rubina Begum had her daughter thrown out of the DPS evening school. Secondly, One lady named Shabnam, wife of Md. Aslam, add-66, Nizamuddin basti, ph no-9266340226, complained about how around 300 students previously studying at Ibtida were suffering because they had been thrown out of school. While some of them had been admitted to KNSKV, Jangpura and MCD School, Nizamuddin, a lot many had failed to secure admission anywhere. Despite Mrs. Sheila Dixit’s intervention in the issue, a solution to the problem had not emerged. Thirdly, Another parent, Md. Salim, add-B-30, near Kali Masjid, Nizamuddin basti, ph no-8802240311, described the same incident. He said that some students from standards 5 and 10 were being admitted to some other schools, but many others had to drop out. People from the basti went to Mrs. Sheila Dixit, and she spoke with the principal of DPS Mathura Road, but nothing happened.

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CONCLUSION

According to the ISPOS Economic Pulse of World Survey, India is the fourth most economically confident country in the world and it is expected to be the second largest manufacturing country in the next five years. Moreover, data released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims India to be the third biggest economy after US and China. This stupendous description of India’s profile begs the question of why it has failed to elevate its masses from the depths of poverty and continues to be counted amongst the developing nations. One of the answers to the same lies in its abysmally low standards of education, especially school-level education.

As per the Human Development Index Report, 2012 commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), over the years, India has not budged from its dismal ranking of around 130 among 187 countries. Also India ranks 82nd among 137 countries in the expenditure on education as percentage of its GDP (3.8%), which is less than its annual defence budget. How, then, can India expect to reap the fruits of development if the basic foundation of education is faulty? There is an urgent need for the government to review its policies before the damage becomes irreversible. The RTE Act was a significant policy change made by the government, which promised sweeping changes in a short span of time to address the problem of lack of quality education to the underprivileged. Three years on, its impact can certainly be felt, as it has done a commendable job in making education more accessible (enrolment of children is nearing 100%), providing mid day meal to 85% of our children, helping improve school infrastructure and in general making parents more hopeful of their kids receiving education. Importantly, perhaps the bigger victory for the Act is the recognition on part of the people that this Act was the need of the hour, and that it has acted as a means of hope for the next generation.

However, what remains unchanged is the quality of learning inside of schools. RTE’s directive that no child shall be detained till class seven is being blamed for degrading the standards of education, and thus needs to be scrapped immediately. The government must understand that their duty does not end merely with getting every child enrolled in school. They are accountable for the quality of classroom transactions as well. Getting kids into school is only half the battle won. Retaining them in school, and providing the quality of education comparable with any good private school should be their ultimate goal. The makers of the law must understand that quality education is as much a right as a classroom, a playground or a toilet. Education should be such that it provides opportunities to help people develop as individuals who will contribute creatively to the society, and until that requirement is fulfilled, the RTE Act will not have realized its purpose. There is a still long way to go. The RTE Act may have kick-started a process that could possibly revolutionize education for the underprivileged, but significant improvements will still be needed on part of the authorities to make sure that the Act can live up to its promise. Else the Act would end up becoming just that— an act that seems very good on paper, with all the correct intentions behind it, but worthless due to improper implementation. Therefore, education must not remain “business as usual”. The RTE must become every child’s right to Right Education.

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ANNEXURES

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Ankita Vij B.tech/M.tech, Biochemical engineering & Biotechnology IIT Delhi “Working with JOSH to help increase awareness about the RTE act was quite enriching. The whole field experience was really an eye-opener for me and I really hope that our combined efforts do pay off.”

Kinshu Dang B.A. English (Honours) Ramjas College, University of Delhi “This implementation deficit of the government (wrt RTE) I believe calls for action. We as powerhouses of energy and as the privileged ones of society can do and should do our bit in making necessities accessible to the poor. My vision is that of a progressive India and not a regressive nation, as it currently is.”

Vidisha Kanodia B.Tech., Chemical Engineering IIT Delhi “The RTE has been a very promising Act, since it has incentivized parents of underprivileged sections to send their children to schools. But, as reflected in our report, we are far from achieving the goal of providing wholesome education, and a good study environment to these young minds.”

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Ayush Gupta B.Tech. I.T., Delhi Technological University “Volunteering with Josh helped me know about the under privileged sections of the society, their living conditions were so pathetic that it was beyond my imagination. The good thing is that more of such people are sending their children to school now, but the sad thing is that the quality of education in these schools is not up to mark.”

Nehali Jain B.Tech., Chemical Engineering IIT Delhi “Working with josh was an experience of a lifetime. The fieldwork, being the best part, helped me learn a lot about how the policies made for people are interpreted by them. It was very touching to see that most of the children are going to school but there is still a long way to go before the benefits reach everyone and I really hope our combined efforts help in this direction.”

Raaisa B.Tech., Mathematics and Computing IIT Delhi “Working on this project with Josh was a great learning and fun filled experience. The part in which we interacted with the children was probably the best. Getting all excited when we talked about their schools and showing us around, the smiling faces of these kids kept us lively and energetic during the surveys.”

Divya Sebastian B.A. Economics (Honours) St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi “Working with JOSH was one of the best experiences I had in my life. It has opened a new window for me through which i had never looked before, never realized there were children who did not get the same opportunities as me! The whole experience compels me to be a harbinger of change”.

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Sahil Loomba B.Tech., Chemical Engineering IIT Delhi “Education, especially at the Primary level, for each and every child of the nation, can be the solution to all the problems that our country faces today. Being fortunate enough to have received my share of education, it made me proud to have contributed in some little way to ensure that the RTE succeeds in fulfilling its promise to those countless children of our country, who are yet to receive their rightful share of knowledge and quality education. Lets hope that the loopholes that have been unearthed in this report are plugged in soon enough, and our efforts pay off!”

Divya Gupta M.Phil Economics Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi “Volunteering with JOSH helped me immensely to gain experience at grassroot level on the status of education in Delhi. Education, according to me, is the most important stimulus that can go a long way to solve various other challenges as well that our country faces like those of poverty, hunger etc. So, I thought, lets start with ensuring that each child gets education, and quality education indeed!”

Sahil Dhankhar B.Tech., Textile Technology IIT Delhi “Experience of working with JOSH was immensely enriching both at personal and social level. It is believed that the future of a country is reflective of the status of the children which is why education is of prime importance. The survey clearly indicated the poor implementation of the policies in the education sector (like the RTE act) and hence an immediate heed is required on our side.”

Pragya Acharya B.A. Economics (Honours) Ram Lal Anand College (Evening), University of Delhi “With India being one of the most populated countries in the world, education becomes an important issue especially at the primary level. In my opinion, Right to Education Act is a worthy initiative for educating our young generation and its strict implementation can help the masses of the country. My brief experience as a volunteer in JOSH showed me that the Act still needs a lot of improvisation, especially where orphan children are concerned. I sincerely hope that the efforts put in by all of us help fill in these serious loopholes so that all the children can enjoy its benefits!”

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Divya Chaudhary B.A. Economics (Honours) Ram Lal Anand College, University of Delhi “Experiencing and being a part of JOSH was quite a learning experience for me. Though it was fun interacting with the kids and campaigning yet an eye opener for all of us. Education in today’s time is no less than any other basic necessity so I am happy to be able to contribute my bit in this field.”

Akhil Aggarwal B.Tech., Chemical Engineering IIT Delhi “In the virtual world we live in, the talks of policies and developments are always there in the air. To measure growth, we talk in terms of numbers. But when we actually go out in slums to measure the impact, we realize that an individual is not a number. It’s a unique set of hopes and aspirations. An abstract policy doesn’t work out unless it suits to these personals demands. Social audit is an excellent method of tapping this gap. What more, it involves youth in the social development process.”

Saumya Gupta B.A. (Philosophy) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi “It is indubitable that the Right to Education Act is a boon to India’s children, but working with JOSH revealed the huge challenges that lie behind realizing it, and the urgent need to overcome them. It is high time the country gathers concern to actualize the dream of an Educated India.”

Divya Tewari, M.A. Economics, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi “The experience of getting to interact with the people of the Basti first-hand was very enriching. It was sad to see that even though people were going beyond their means to ensure that their children could study, the government was not doing its bit. The anger that people had against the government was clearly evident. At the same time, there was also a sense of helplessness amongst the people who felt that there was no one to take up the cudgels on their behalf.”

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Raghav Saran Aggarwal B.Tech., Production and Industrial Engineering IIT Delhi “The status of RTE in Delhi has been very bad. There are lot of ignorant and deserving people out there who don't know their basic rights.”

Rohil Jain B.Tech., Mechanical Engineering IIT Delhi “Almost every child in delhi seems to be going to be going to be schools! But this survey showed the level of education and facilities they are receiving which is way below standard. The dream that the children of poor get equal opportunity to study in private schools is still a distant dream. RTE has been unsuccessful in many ways in Delhi.”

Shivani Malhotra M.Sc. Economics (Environment and Resource Management) TERI University, Delhi “My experience taught me that the government is indeed taking up policies aiming to uplift the poor section of the society however it is the implementation which is the problem. My interaction with slum residents gave me a sneak peek of the aspirations they have for their kids and frustration they experience because of poor state of affairs. The infrastructure in bad and there is no school/ teacher accountability system in place thus quality education is not been imparted. Hence a lot needs to be done.”

Anuja Bhandari B.A. Economics (Honours) Ram Lal Anand College, DU “Education being the fundamental solution of all problems in india needs special attention. RTE though an important step still needs a lot of improvement which is clearly shown in our report. I really feel privileged to get such a great opportunity of working with JOSH and contributing my bit.”

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Astha Chadha B.A. Economics (Honours) SGGSCC, University of Delhi “I personally feel that RTE is medium of Social Revolution in a country like India, which is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Society has realized that education is every child’s fundamental right. Law has been put in place, but now is the time for implementation by the government. We all, be it parents, children, teachers or responsible civilians, need to work on this together to bring about reforms in the present system and make this Act not just bold words on paper but a fact, a reality… a dream come true !”

Prerna Kannan B.Sc. Statistics (Honours) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi “RTE if followed through its full potential can change the face of education in India. It was introduced to induce a sense of wholesome growth in our country, ie. to bridge the social divide between the poor and rich by educating the lesser privileged in our country. Common civilians in the country need to work together to understand and spread the vision of the RTE act. Our dream of helping the lesser privileged will not go in vain if we work together. Nothing is impossible!”

Trisha Dhawan Pharmacist, Ion Healthcare Pvt. Ltd Delhi “I feel the Act has proven to be very beneficial and has struck the right chord among the masses. Admission of underprivileged kids to private schools is an area which requires a lot of attention. Efforts at the end of teachers, parents and authorities to extract the most out of this Act will definitely result in an increase in the literacy rate as well as provide quality education to children.”

Jyoti Shorewala M.A. Economics Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to fight against all kinds of evils in the society. While we are born in that part of the society where access to education was the most obvious thing, those who come from the Economically weaker sections still consider it a ‘privilege’ and need to be empowered with education to stand against the prejudicial behavior of the society against them. The RTE ACT is a remarkable step in this regard but its implementation, in the true sense, will depend on how far it manages to change the attitude of the society towards the problem.”

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Bratiraj De M.A. Economics Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi “Working with Josh has been a really enriching experience for me. Interacting with the families staying in various slums in Delhi has given me a different perspective of the multiple issues they face in educating a child. I hope that our hard work gets noticed and in turn benefits the underprivileged society when it comes to child education.”

Shivani Dev B.Com. (Honours) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi “The RTE Act along with its underlying provisions has sure turned out to be a boon for the underprivileged children of our society. However, its implementation has been a problem.”

Prachi Kanaujia B.A. History (Honours) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi “If so much is being done by the government, with plentiful of funds allocated to the cause of education, then where are the things going wrong was one such question which aroused the anxiety of many people like me. To find answers to this question and to come to terms with the reality of public education in India , I encashed upon the opportunity provided by JOSH(Joint Organisation for Social Help) whose idea appealed to me as one of its kind wherein college students free from prejudices and biases of the system would conduct a survey in less privileged areas of the capital .”

Princy Bansal B.Sc. Maths (Honours) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi “I studied in a convent school, and will soon be passing out from one of India’s leading institutions, but this extremely enriching experience has changed my opinion of life forever. My heart is deeply disturbed to see that a country like India which is counted among world powers has failed hugely in terms of providing its citizens the basic amenities and quality education.”

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Roshni Kumari B.Com. (Honours) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi “Surveying in Nizammudin was a tiring yet cheerful experience. Towards the end of the mapping and survey, almost everybody from the basti recognised us, making us feel at home.”

Aneish Goel B.Tech., Civil Engineering IIT Delhi “Having had my education in a distinguished Delhi school where everybody was well off and recognized the need for education, I was always intrigued on reading about India’s abysmal literacy rate in Social Science courses in school. I decided to join JOSH and see answers for myself and the reality turned out to be quite bittersweet, i.e., the Nizamuddin Basti area is a backward one, one rich in culture but thirsty for improved education facilities.”

Siddharth Chakraborty M.A. Pol Science Hindu College, University of Delhi “The greatest positive that has emerged from this entire exercise was working as a cohesive unit and compiling a body of work which would be of immense benefit to any agency or governmental department .This experience has also made me more aware of the existing social realities which continue to be unaddressed.”

Sargam Thind B.Com. (Honours) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi “My overall experience with JOSH was enriching and fulfilling. It has taught me the fact that we should never complain about things we do not have, instead we should always be happy with whatever we have, where ever we are, and whatever we are doing.”

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Sweta Shekhar B.Com. (Honours) Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi "These two months taught me what my 12 years of convent education couldn't teach me. It was like a crash course in reality. I never knew of the "Nizamuddin world" until JOSH gave me an opportunity to go into the very heart of the Basti where I saw and experienced what all it had to offer. The fear and the uncertainty of my initial visits were very soon transformed into excitement by the welcoming nature of the people. Each visit taught me many things and also gave me an insight into the difficult lives of the people. In spite of all the difficulties, the people there still have high expectations and believe that at the end of every dark tunnel there is a ray of hope. They wish that the condition changes as soon as possible."

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Abbreviations

ASER Annual Status of Education Report CBSE Central Board of Secondary Education CCE Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation CWSN Children With Special Needs DISE District Information System for Education DCPCR Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights FY Financial Year GOI Government of India GNCT Government of National Capital Territory MCD Municipal Corporation of Delhi MDM Mid Day Meal MHRD Ministry of Human Resource Development NCERT National Council for Educational Research and Training NCF National Curriculum Framework NCPCR National Commission for Protection of Child Rights NCT National Capital Territory NDMC New Delhi Municipal Corporation NUEPA National University of Educational Planning and Administration NGO Non Government Organization OBC Other Backward Caste PPP Public Private Partnerships PTA Parent Teacher Association PTR Pupil Teacher Ratio PWD Public Works Department RTE Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 SC Scheduled Caste SCERT State Council for Educational Research and Training SCPCR State Commission for Protection of Child Rights SDP School Development Plan SMC School Management Committee SSA Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan ST Scheduled Tribe UT Union Territory

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Joint Operation for Social Help (JOSH) Head office: 3/15A, Lower Ground Floor Jangpura B, New Delhi. Pin Code: 110014 Phone: +91 11 24373180 Field Office: 5/10-11, Trilokputi, Delhi. Pin code: 110091. Phone: +9108447867144 www.josh4india.org, josh4india@gmail.com

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