Delhi government’s promise that no student will be turned away from government schools in the city was belied by testimonies given by hundreds of parents at the People’s review of Right to Education (RTE) implementation on Wednesday.
The review, organised by the Delhi Right to Education Forum, brought together aggrieved parents, education experts and social workers to address the issue of the non-implementation of RTE, despite the act being passed 15 months ago.
“The number of complaints from parents just keeps increasing day after day. The real problem with the RTE Act is that it does not make any provision for a grievance redressal system. The parents don’t know who can solve their problem,” said Saurabh Sharma from Josh, an organisation working with children.
Representatives from National Commission for Protection Child Rights (NCPCR) and Delhi Commission for Protection Child Rights (DCPCR) were also part of panel discussions on the issue.
Amodh Kanth, chairperson of DCPCR, acknowledged the problems in implementation of the RTE and said that the agency had so far received 12,000 complaints from parents.
The number of complaints lodged with NCPCR, however, was much lower at 500.
“We have not received a lot of individual complaints as people do not know that they can complain to us. But a proper redressal system is needed. We have become a grievance receiving system but can’t address these problems as we are not the executive agency,” said Kiran Bhatty from NCPCR.
The NCPCR is in talks with the Ministry of Human Resource Development to put in place a grievance redressal system.
Education experts and social workers from non-profit organisations also raised questions about the students who the RTE leaves out.
“The implementation is not proper and every year students are left behind. These students then cross 14 years of age and do not come under the ambit of RTE anymore. Their right to education also needs to be looked into,” said Karan Bhagat, member of Alliance for People’s Rights.
He also mentioned how the schools were not prepared to accommodate the number of students that seek admission.
The government passed the act but schools have not been developed accordingly,” he added.