IMPHAL Sept 15: The right of the children to free and compulsory education as enshrined in the constitution fails to address the children studying in almost all the government schools functioning in Ukhrul district. Parents have to pay educational expenses on their own on in stark contrast to the provision provided in the RTE Act 2009.
As per the rules no child studying in Government school (Class I to Class VII) is liable to pay admission, tuition, examination and any other fees or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
However, even after more than a year since the RTE Act is implemented in the state, there is still big gap between what is assured by the government for the children studying in government run schools and what is being implemented in the ground. The children in the district could get text book of a few subject in the middle of the academic session, only part of the uniform is available to each children. School bags could not be made available to all the children enrolled in the government and aided schools in the primary and upper primary level during the 2010-2011 as per DISE Report.
This was stated by H. Thotchuila, convener of Ukhrul District Alliance for Child Rights,UDARC during her key note address of the inaugural session of the one day District Level People’s convention on RTE. The convention was held today at the Multi-purpose conference hall of Mini Secretariat in Ukhrul.
She elaborated that Infrastructural development is still a big challenge. Most of the schools do not have safe drinking water facilities, separate restrooms for boys and girls, adequate classrooms, benches and desks. Many of the Schools in the district are of ill equipped to run for normal classes. Further during her speech she highlighted that many of the provisions are yet to be realized such as the 25% reservation in class I in private schools for economically disadvantaged children belonging to SC, ST,OBC, minorities, orphans, children affected/infected by HIV and others whose parents income does not exceed Rs. 40000 per annum.
The state government has failed to address the required necessary arrangements in the district for the children with special needs, particularly mentally and physically challenged children. The pursuit of bringing quality education is misdirected in the district as many of the teachers appointed to teach in the schools are indulging in employing proxy teachers on their behest.
She further stressed during her speech that the recognition of private schools should be strictly comply with the prescribed norms of the RTE Act. Pupils Teachers Ratio needs to be specifying at the earliest in order to avoid congestions in the classroom particularly in private schools, she said.
She added that corporal punishment and mental harassment continue to inflict the children not only violating the child rights but also discourage them from study.
Citing the need to introduce the school teachers to train adequate professional degree within five years to improve quality education in the district, Thotchuila urged the authority concerned to include the counseling aspect during teachers training. Later she urged that a rigorous capacity building is needed for the School Management Committee in order to sharpen their efficiencies to effectively perform their duties.
In the mean time R. Sudhan, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Ukhrul district while addressing the gathering as the chief guest of today’s inaugural session pointed out that there is a need to develop community participation in bringing coherent academic atmosphere. He said that public participation is a must, if we are to garner successful implementation of welfare schemes. Recounting on his personal experiences on the hill districts of the state, Sudhan asserted that the hill areas are lacking in the standard of education scenario as compare to their counter parts in the valley districts. There are no sufficient teachers to impart the students, infrastructures are in shamble and attendance of student ratio is poor. Highlighting on the issue of teachers indulging in employing proxy teachers in the hill districts, he said that strict vigilance needs to be impose to the schools.
Keisam Pradeep, convener of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights who was also on the dais during the function also stressed on the issue of proxy teachers and social deprivation of mentally and physically challenged students.
The District level People’s convention on RTE was organized by UDACR in collaboration with MACR.
W. Rock, Chairman SMDC Siroi Hills, N. Everest Luikham, ZEO, Ukhrul, Silla J. Konghay, president TSL and Ringyuichon Vashum member secretary CWC Ukhrul were also on the dais during the inaugural session of the convention.