Blatant disregard to RTE Act continues Forthcoming elections matter more than well-being of children?

RNI, New Delhi: Right to Education (RTE) Act has been implemented in the Country with the beginning of new academic year. This is supposed to be the case, at least on paper. Billed as an Act that was to provide safeguards to children and their right to good education, the Act was supposed to rein in the private schools which open up at every nook and corner, unmindful of health and hygiene, safety and well-being of the children. While RTE has been implemented in the NCR and rest of the country, blatant disregard to the Act continues as even now new schools continue to open up on plots as small as 30-40 meters, disregarding all health and safety regulations that the Government wanted to enforce. In a welcome step, the Delhi Education department allowed unrecognized schools to run on 200 square yard plots and has already started granting provisional registration to schools which are running on 200 square yards from a certain time-period. The new relaxations announced on March 22 has ended the great uncertainty which prevailed over the future of mid-income and low-income parents whose children were studying in unrecognized schools. This was a genuine demand keeping in mind the high costs of land in Delhi, which make it almost impossible to run a school on the earlier stipulated 800 square yard plot and yet keep the tuition fee affordable for the low-income families. Lakhs of children from low-income families have got a sigh of relief who are being provided quality education by these small privately-owned but yet unrecognized schools. While certain relaxations were genuinely required for existing unrecognized private schools, new schools should certainly not be allowed to open up, unless they meet the stipulated standards set by the Government. Particularly new schools including elementary education schools should not be allowed to open up on 30-40 square meter plots that are not only violating the terms and conditions of RTE Act but are also a great hazard for the safety and well-being of children. Yet, in utter disregard to RTE rulings, new schools are still coming up in Delhi while the Government authorities are keeping a blind eye in the wake of forthcoming elections in the Capital. Our correspondent furnished details of new schools which continue to open up in Delhi in 2013 to Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development, Secretary (Department of School Education and Literacy), Additional Secretary (Elementary Education), Joint Secretary (Elementary Education) and various Directors (Elementary Education) posted in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, but all mails seem to have fallen on deaf ears. A case in point is new school by the name La-Sani Public School, which has opened up on the first floor of a 30 square meter plot violating all norms like basic sanitation, fire facilities, double stairs, separate toilets for boys and girls, proper ventilation, play facilities, etc. Not only this, the school in concern is befooling the poor people of the area, by giving an impression that the school is recognized, whereas it is merely the Society that is running the School, which is registered. Promotion and marketing campaigns of the school use slogans like ‘dilli sarkar dwara registered’, which give an impression as if the Delhi Government has allowed the School to run. The School in contention faces no road, but a nullah (drain) and the children have to walk on ill-covered drain to enter the School located in a 3-room flat on the first floor. (The address of the school is A-1, Gali No.

3, New Brij Puri, (Near Masjid Shan-e-Allah), Behind Yoga Ashram, Delhi-110051. The phone nos. are 65023780, 9268169222.) In a mailer to all the senior officers as well as the minister of human resource development, response was sought regarding how far is the Government going to implement the education policy and what measures are being taken by it to ensure that no new schools which are either violating or not fulfilling the basic clauses of the RTE Act open up in the new academic year. Several days have passed yet no response has been received from the officers concerned. This shows that the Centre as well as Delhi Government officials are least bothered about implementation of the RTE Act. Or is it that a silent message has been passed not to act, in the wake of forthcoming elections both at the Centre as well as in Delhi State? Real News International News Bureau