The Chamar Mahan Sabha, while welcoming the notice served by the education department to 473 private schools accused of violating the Right to Education Act by not providing admission to students from economically weaker sections, has demanded that the authorities should also take action against the schools which were not abiding by the rules.
"The sabha suspects that the notices are only aimed at misleading the weaker sections. Mere warnings won't do. What we want is concrete action," sabha president Paramjit Singh Kainth said on Monday.
"Some newspapers recently published reports quoting education minister Sikander Singh Maluka as saying that 473 private schools which were violating the RTE Act would face closure. But no action has been taken so far. The RTE Act has not been implemented in the past two-and-a-half years. We fear the minister made this statement to cover up for the government's inability to make private schools fall in line," he said.
A sabha spokesperson said the state government had issued a notification in November 2010 on the Right to Education Act, but since then most private schools had shown little inclination to admit children from economically weaker sections, including scheduled castes and other backward classes.
"Parliament, after observing that children from weaker sections were denied the right to education all over the country, had passed the Children's Free and Compulsory Right to Education Act in 2009. But even two-and-a-half years after notifying the Act, the Punjab government has failed to implement it.
The managements of private schools are making all kinds of excuses to escape their responsibility. Why is the government not acting against them?" asked Kainth.