While when little kids are seen on roads selling toys and flutes or cleaning dishes at restaurants, it brings to our notice that the children and their parents are not aware of the Right to Education (RTE) Act and its benefits. However, the awareness and the effective implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, will possibly make such instances a thing of the past.
Earlier this month, the state government took a step forward by notifying the rules under RTE Act (http://bit.ly/RTErules), thereby giving details about how to interpret various clauses. Though the first step has been taken, there is a lot more to be done to create awareness among people.
S. Chandra, a domestic helper has admitted her child in a matriculation school in T. Nagar. Though she might qualify for free admission as per the clause on private schools reserving at least 25 per cent of their seats for children from disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood, she has little clue to such a clause or the Act.
There are hundreds of parents and children like them who need to be provided with more information on RTE. According to P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System, “To start with, the Director of School Education has to circulate a detailed plan of action to schools and school administrators.”
Babu, further says, “The State government should make Tamil translations of the entire Act and the rules notified by it widely available. It should engage theatre groups like it did soon after the Act was passed and spread the message in remote areas in villages as well as slum tenements in the city.”
“A person who holds power locally could be entrusted the responsibility of looking at how RTE is being implemented in a particular area. The councillor or an experienced activist who has been involved with local issues should periodically monitor whether schools are adhering to the clauses,” says, N. R. Murali, deputy commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Chennai Region.
However, according to a senior official of the School Education Department, activities are being planned to raise awareness among people about the act. He says, “The rules have just been notified. We are working on programmes to increase awareness.”