ITEC and Darsana organized a workshop to discuss about Child Rights and specifically on Right to Education (RTE) on 6th December 2014 at SCM House, Bangalore. The workshop was led by Child Rights Trust, a UNICEF funded NGO, which has been active in this field for the past 25 years. It endeavours to protect and promote all the inherent and indivisible rights of children whoever and wherever they are. Its field activities are mainly in Karnataka, while its training and support facilities are available nationally.
It was an open session and was attended by about 60 participants.
The workshop started at 11:15 a.m. with Manoj K.C. from Darsana welcoming the participants. Pramod Varma, a coordinator of Darsana Bangalore chapter introduced the topic and the key presenters from Child Rights Trust.
Dr. Padmini started off the session with a brief talk on Child Rights touching upon the below aspects of violation that we see in daily life –
- survival issues, right to be born
- selective abortion, female foeticide
- child trafficking
She said that children are entitled to participative rights, which is the freedom to voice their opinion. She also emphasised that Children need exposure to multiple languages, technologies, games etc. as those help in the developing of the brain.
Mr. Vasudeva Sharma gave an introduction on Child Rights Trust, its aims, objectives and programs. He also threw light on the various initiatives they have undertaken in the state. CRT as an organisation is into advocacy of Child Rights and deals with some of the below mentioned aspects of Child Rights –
- Every rights for every children - CRT vision
- Capacity building and advocacy
- RTE task force
- Budget analysis
- Q&H analysis
- Children's poll
- Pre-Election Advocacy
- Child rights in grama sabha
- Education and awareness on child rights
- Karnataka child rights observatory
- Right to Free and compulsory education
Mr. Nagasimha Rao, introduced salient features of the RTE Act:
- Private bodies cannot run educational institutions in India. They have to be registered as a not for profit or trust or society.
- No school in India shall operate for profits
- These trusts enjoy a lot of benefits from government like subsidised land, tax cuts, free electricity etc.
- They cannot be called private institutions and should be called non governmental schools. They are expected to function like NGOs.
- Article 30 of the act prescribes that no capitation fee should be charged in the school. And hence any money paid to the school will be considered donation and hence will be exempted from tax under 80(G). This is essentially the reason why no school gives any valid payment receipt to the parents/guardians upon paying capitation fees.
- The RTE dictates that every school should have SDMCs which are School Development Monitoring (Management) Committees. Since these committees are expected to bring in transparency and have the powers to look at the spending and earnings of the schools, these committees are avoided in most of the schools in Bangalore. These committees are expected to into the following aspects of the school
- Teachers (their qualification)
- Quality of education etc… among the many other duties
- Article (3) of RTE mandates free and compulsory education to all children in the country including specially abled children. Each school is expected to have teachers who can cater to the needs to differently abled children (separate clauses defined to measure the level of disability though)
Apart from those mentioned above, the RTE lays path for a lot of features to ensure that quality education is imparted to every child in the country but that seldom happens. The speakers pointed out that there are many schools in Karnataka that are running without any recognition at all. There are even chains of schools that are operating sans recognition here. What is more shameful is most of the schools have opposed article 12.1.C of RTE which says all children should be given admission without any discrimination.
Mr. Nagasimha introduced Bharath, journalist at economic times, Shruthi, journalist at Deccan Herald, Prakash and Suresh kumar, both autorikshaw drivers, who are active and part of RTE task force. While Bharath and Shruthi shared information on the evolution of RTE task force and the importance of the work they are doing, Prakash and Suresh Kumar shared their experience as first beneficiaries of RTE and then as active crusaders for implementation of this act. Between then they have facilitated the admission of more than 50 children under RTE. They also have information and pamphlets ready in their auto to spread awareness about child rights.
Overall the workshop was very informative and interactive. There were many questions and clarifications from the participants. Workshop was concluded at 2.00 p.m. with a vote of thanks by Joy Bose from ITEC.
Contact Details of RTE task force:
For any queries/suggestions/contributions, please write to email@example.com or contact Mr.Narsimha Rao at 9880477198.