In a case of violation of the Right to Education Act, students of a government primary school in MP’s Agar district have been cleaning their plates after having their mid-day meal.
The school at Dhokarpura village has 46 students studying from class 1 to 5. Every day on an average 35 kids take mid-day meal.
The students of government schools studying in classes up to 8 are provided with mid-day meals under a government scheme to improve their attendance in schools and to reduce drop-out rate.
The Act says students cannot be asked to clean utensils, but the practice is going on in the Dhokarpura government primary school.
Asked about the issue, a teacher replied: “Why we clean utensils as its responsibility of person/agency providing meal at school.” A majority of students, however, said they had been cleaning utensils regularly following orders of their teachers.
When contacted, school headmaster Premchand Jain admitted that school staff has asked schools kids to wash their utensils after having meal daily and the same practice was being going long since long.
Trying cover-up his fault, Jain said he was in-charge headmaster and school had no arrangement of person responsible for washing utensil and how could you imagine school teachers wash utensils.
“It’s self-help group responsibility to provide helper and we had asked them for the same since long, but no avail,” Jain said.
On whether anyone from the school informed higher authorities about the issue, Jain said so far they did not contacted any senior official, but from now they wouldn’t allow any school kid to wash their utensil.
Nalkhera block resource coordinator Shankar Singh Chouhan admitted that what’s going on at the school is violation of norms, but school did not have ample funds to employee a person for washing utensils.
Agar district education officer Anand Vaskale said, “The issue has nothing to do with funds. The agency, which is responsible for providing mid-day meals at the school, is responsible to provide a person to clean utensil.”
“The issue has come to my notice today itself. We will take cognisance of the matter and take relevant action against those responsible,” said Vaskale.
On the other hand, Susner sub-divisional magistrate GS Dawar said, “I will initiate investigation into the matter.”