The government on Monday proposed a roadmap for time-bound redressal of grievances under the landmark Right to Education Act. The move comes three weeks after the country's apex watchdog for the law raised concerns about the absence of such a mechanism.
The human resource development ministry on Monday discussed with states the proposal to set up a detailed grievance redressal mechanism for the law, with specific authorities and timeframe to tackle each violation under the Act.
The move comes amid increasing complaints of violations under the law, which guarantees schooling to all children between 6 and 14 years. The law bars corporal punishment, donations and even screening tests for admissions to schools.
It also requires all schools to register with the government and meet a set of quality parameters — including the teacher-to-student ratio, classrooms, toilets and drinking water — within three years.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, appointed the top referee for RTE Act disputes and complaints, had on March 31, raised concerns over the lack of clarity on roles of different implementing agencies.
It had asked the government to set up a clear grievance redressal mechanism and even submitted a blueprint.
Though Section 32 of the RTE Act requires local authorities appointed by state governments to settle all complaints in three months, it does not elaborate how a single officer is to address complaints.
The outline for the grievance redressal mechanism discussed on Monday proposes a detailed structure of which officer —within the police, bureaucracy and other authorities — parents and students are to approach with complaints. The mechanism will also put in place time periods — all less than three months — for each type of grievance to be redressed.
Critics have argued that the absence of a clear grievance redressal structure makes it hard for parents and students to understand who to approach.