New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) Two years after the government's flagship education programme came into force, its monitoring body has not been able to resolve as much as 76 percent cases of violation of the right to education (RTE) Act, a right to information (RTI) document reveals.
Promising free and compulsory education to children from the age group of 6 to 14, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, brought about hope for change in the lives of children, and in the future of the country.
While things have more or less gone in the intended direction since the act's implementation two years ago, there have been a number of violations. And the chief monitoring body, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has not been able to keep up with the breaches.
An RTI query reveals that over the last two years, the NCPCR received 2,850 complaints regarding the RTE Act. However, it has been able to resolve just 692 cases, or just 24 percent of the entire lot, by now.
Breaking down the numbers year-wise, from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011, the commission received 1,089 complaints, of which it resolved 592 cases.
And from April 1, 2011, to March 16, 2012, the commission could only resolve a mere 100 of the total 1,761 complaints received.
Umesh Gupta of ActionAid India, who filed the RTI application, told IANS: "Not only is the data shocking, but the numbers actually denote the lowering efficacy of the NCPCR in monitoring the proper implementation of the RTE Act over the two years."
Despite what looks like a dismal performance, Delhi seems to be better off than most other states. According to the document, in 2011-12, of the total 517 complaints received from Delhi, 80 were resolved.
In Tamil Nadu, of the 15 complaints, three were taken care of; and in Uttar Pradesh, of 59 complaints, seven were acted upon. A case each was resolved in Maharashtra and West Bengal from where the number of complaints have been 132 and 99 respectively.
However, in states like Andhra Pradesh, from where 780 complaints were received, none has been resolved. Nor has any case been resolved in Odisha (35 cases), Haryana (17) or Assam (12).
Among the cases resolved by the NCPCR was that of a child being beaten by the teacher for not wearing the school tie in Uttar Pradesh. A notice was issued to the district magistrate regarding the matter.
In another case, Unnati Malik, a Class 7 student of K.R. Mangalam School in Delhi was detained - a violation of the RTE Act, which says no child can be detained until Class 8. The principal of the school was issued a notice.
Notices were also issued against the education department in 50 cases in Delhi. They were mostly related to denial of admission in schools because of disability of the child, screening tests conducted and corporal punishment.
There were public hearings organised too in 11 states, which included Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Manipur.
However, Gupta is not happy with the action taken by NCPCR.
"Simply issuing notice is not enough. Has the case seen its logical end after the notice? There should be strong action taken so that it serves as a deterrent for others," Gupta said.
Ramya Menon, a teacher in a Delhi school, said: "For the Right to Education Act to be properly implemented, strict monitoring is very important. Awareness about the Act is still low across the country, and those who are aware and approach the commission with a problem should not be discouraged with an unresponsive attitude...as if no one cares".
Besides the NCPCR, the RTE Act also puts the onus of monitoring of its implementation on the state commissions. As of now, 14 states have constituted their respective State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR).
(Azera Parveen Rahman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)