Karnataka has started the system of public hearings on grievances related to the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, reported Deccan Herald. According to the paper, the scenes witnessed during the public hearing sessions were full of emotions and arguments by the public and the officials of Bangalore district.
Such kind of good initiative kicked off by Karnataka should be followed by other states also. The social justice in imparting free and compulsory elementary education to all children should be given due importance. Since children do not have a voice in the school education system, public hearings and instant orders are the best way out to meet the legal provisions of RTE Act.
According to the Bordia Committee on RTE Act, it was in August 2009 that the Parliament passed the historic Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, which must be seen from the perspective of children.
"It (RTE Act) provides a justiciable legal framework that entitles all children between the ages of 6-14 years to an education of reasonable quality, based on principles of equity and non-discrimination. It provides for children’s right to free and compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education. More importantly, it provides for the child’s right to education that is free from fear, stress and anxiety," read the Bordia Committee report.
Often school personnel lack even the basic understanding of the RTE Act and require to be given relevant legal literacy trainings. The Bordia committee had recommended that in the context of implementing RTE a holistic approach would have to be undertaken whereby the curriculum, textbooks, teaching-learning materials, the use of space in the classroom, infrastructure, assessment and teacher trainings are looked at holistically and mutually reinforce each other.
It is primarily the private schools, who turn out to be the main violators of the RTE act when it comes to admission of children of disadvantaged groups. This has to be seriously looked into by the concerned authorities.
One of the strategies to deal with marginalization of disadvantaged communities within the Act is by providing 25% reservation in private and unaided schools as per the RTE Act.