Sita, a house help, does not know if her 15-year-old son goes to school or if he gets any money for his books and uniform. She would like to know but has no way of finding out.
"I don't know anything about schools. The guard does not let me enter the school premises. I will not come to know if my son bunks school or if his alcoholic father takes away the money given for uniforms and books," she says.
But this situation is set to change soon.
In a decision that could alter the way parents and government schools relate to each other, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the government of Delhi to make available certain categories of documents for inspection from September 30. This order pertains to all government schools.
The order was passed by information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi on a complaint filed by NGO Joint Operation
for Social Help (JOSH), with
the Central Information Commissioner about unavailability of this information, especially to poor parents.
"The main objective of the effort was to make records available for those marginalised communities whose children go to government schools," said Saurabh Sharma, member, JOSH.
The directive states that all schools of the Delhi education department will have the documents available for inspection by citizens on the last working day of each month, from 8am to 10am and from 2pm to 4pm for the first and second shift schools, respectively.
The Director of Education, Delhi, has also been asked to send a consolidated report of compliance of the directions to the Information Commission by September 15. The only information that need not be made available to the public is circulars - that are strictly for officials or employees.
Delhi education minister Arvinder Singh, however, said there is complete transparency in the education department and everything about government schools are available online.
"From transfer and posting of teachers to students' results, performance of every class, and admissions - everything is available online. Students and teachers have been given user identities and password. The parents can easily access whatever they want to know about their child's school," Singh said.