IMPHAL, September 29: A one day district convention on “Right to Free and Compulsory Education”(RTE) was held at Yurembam Awang High School today. The convention was jointly organized by Yurembam Apunba Club and Manipur Alliance for Child Rights.
N Nimai, retired joint director, education (s) graced the convention as the chairperson.
Special invitees including Gopi Mohan, Zonal Education Office, zone II, Yaima, deputy inspector, Zone I, L Chaobihal Devi, pradhan of Yurembem gram panchayat, Y Laba, senior journalist and founder member of Manipur Human Rights Commission and Pradip Kumar, convener of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights attended the convention and delivered their comments on the Right to Education Act, 2009.
Among the speakers, Pradip Kumar stressed that the Act has not been implemented in totality in the state and the children of the state have been deprived of their fundamental rights.
Comparing the right to education with the right to life, he said that to monitor the RTE Act from the grass-root level, the School Monitoring Committee (SMC) system have been instituted under the provision of the act to observe the conduct of the teachers and the functioning of the school so that the children may get the facilities so provided under the act.
He mentioned that a SMC committee consisting of 14 members should be constituted for every school and half of the committee should comprise of women as per the norms given.
Under the act there are provisions for exemption of 25 percent from the admission fees of the students during times of enrollment in private schools since the inception of the act.
“The students studying in class I should avail the facility in private schools, as the RTE have been in implementation from the previous year onwards, yet the private schools are still to address the issue”, he said.
“There should be no screening exams conducted for the admission of students to the private schools so as to ensure free and fair education, yet it still goes on regardless”, he added.
Mentioning the hindrances in the RTE act by the departments concerned, he said that the implementing body of the RTE, officials of the concerned education (s) department when approached were also confused in their stance regarding implementation of the Act in totality.
He stressed on the need of a monitoring body to oversee the implementing authority of the RTE for better transparency and providing the amenities under the Act.
“The need to institute the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights is the need of the hour as such a body can monitor and fill the voids left lacking post implementation of the RTE Act”, he said.
Yambem Laba, also in a similar assertion stated that the state have been in a cesspool of corruption owing to many factors and has inherently affected the education sector.
He said that corrections in the system cannot be made overnight, but have to begin systematically from the grass root level onwards and will take time.
“Every individual or official has a large role to play in addressing the effective realization of the RTE , the requirement is to maintain one’s ideology and selfless endeavour in working to bring about a better system of delivering quality education by the government schools”, he said.
He further stated that behind the guise of non state actors, anti social elements have been preying on the infrastructure development of schools for monetary gains, such actions should be differed by the concerned and must have the courage to face the adversity to bring about a holistic change in the education sector and otherwise, he said.
The convention also saw participation from the attendees in an interaction session with officials from the education department.
It may be mentioned that the RTE Act, 2009 provides free and compulsory education to children from six to fourteen years of age besides other facilities of free text books, uniform, schoolbags, provision of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities among others.