Kolkata: Days after India's apex child rights panel exposed rampant violations of the Right to Education Act in West Bengal's government schools, several of the schools have been directed to refund the fees taken from the students.
'In compliance with the directives of the NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) during a public hearing on RTE Act implementation in West Bengal, held in Kolkata recently, the district project officer, Sarva Siksha Mission (SSM), Malda has reported actions taken on complete refund of fees collected from children in violation of section 3 of the RTE Act,' said a statement issued by the NCPCR.
The statement also said that the project officer has confirmed that all the school authorities have been directed to immediately refund the fees collected from all such children who could not lodge a complaint.
'It is heartening to note that the SSM has reported actions taken on complete refund of fees collected from children in violation of section 3 of the Right to Education (RTE) Act,' said panel member Vinod Kumar Tikoo, who was one of the jury members of the public hearing.
'In yet another case, an FIR has also been lodged against the secretary of Popra Ishwarlal High School with the charge of extracting money from the newcomers lodged in an Ashram hostel. The school management committee has been kept suspended,' he said.
The two-day public hearing, that concluded Oct 21, unveiled a horrific picture of the rampant violation of the right to education act in the state's government schools.
The hearing also dealt with issues of child trafficking in South 24 Parganas district.
NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha had then said that several cases have been found where students in government schools have been charged money in the name of development fees and school fees.'
'With the interventions of NCPCR, necessary steps have also been taken to stop admission test, which is again in violation of section 13 of the RTE Act,' said the statement.