This picture has been taken by me today morning in the premises of India's biggest District Court at Tis Hazari, Delhi. The picture depicts children below 14 years of age are involved in rag-picking work as usual and have never attended school. RTE Act, 2009 will complete its three years on 31.03.2013. The situation is dismal everywhere. The Governments have utterly failed to address the core issue of providing quality education to 200 million children in the age group 6 to 14 years. Nearly, 100 million children are still out of school (20 million children with disabilities, 10 million children of migrant labour, 40 million children engaged in one or the other work, 30 million older children (particularly girls) looking after the siblings/drop-outs). Those 100 million children going to the government schools are literally not getting education, what to talk of quality education and that has witnessed high percentage of drop out in these three years. The propaganda by the Government machinery about RTE Act, 2009 has certainly increased the demand for education among the marginalized sections but the supply side is zero. The Governments have not taken any effective steps to implement even the RTE provision relating to 25% admissions of children belonging to disadvantaged group and economically weaker section in unaided non-minority schools. Delhi is the only State where this was implemented due to Delhi High Court's intervention and peoples' pressure.
Unless and until the standard of all the government schools in the country is upgraded to the minimum level of Kendriya Vidayalas (Central Schools), the goal of realization of right to good quality education will remain elusive. The big question is: Are our Black Rulers ready for it?
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Delhi High Court constituted Monitoring Committee of which I am a member inspected Fortis Jessa Ram Hospital, Karol Bagh, New Delhi on 09.03.2013 and found that the free ward was apparently like a make shift arrangement in the corridor of the Building. It is interesting to note that during the earlier inspection which was done about 6 months back, the monitoring committee pointed out in writing to the hospital authorities that such an arrangement is undesirable, discriminatory and in violation of Supreme Court and High Court orders and the free ward needs to be shifted in the Hall/Room immediately. The then M.S. had committed that the free ward would be shifted inside the Hall/Room shortly. The members of the Monitoring Committee were shocked to find that the free beds were still in the Corridor and the ews patients were occupying beds there.
Delhi High Court constituted Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee to determine the justifiability of fee-hiked in 2009 by unaided private schools of Delhi in its two interim reports submitted in the High Court has held that most of the private schools have unjustly and without actually requirement increased fee and other charges and directed refund of the same to the parents with 9% interest thereon. In view of these finding of the Committee, it would be advisable to all the parents to not to pay the hike fee in 2013-14, till a school gets prior approval of the hiked fee from Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee. The parents should note that there is no law permitting the schools to increase the fee every year by 10%. The law is that it can be increased or decreased depending upon the actual requirement of a school.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, National President, All India Parents Association (AIPA) M-09811101923
RANCHI: Education activist and Supreme Court advocate Ashok Agarwal on Wednesday threatened to file a public interest litigation (PIL) against the Jharkhand government if it fails to ensure children from BPL families get the benefits of the Right to Education Act in private schools, or fails to frame rules to regulate fees.
It was because of Agarwal's crusade and a string of PILs in the SC that the Centre came up with the Right to Education Act. He was in the city on a day's visit and had discussions regarding implementation of RTE in Jharkhand with the state representative of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Ganesh Reddy.
"I was surprised that in the last three years the state government had done nothing to implement the RTE in the true spirit. The government was to ensure that there was a 25% enrolment of students from BPL families in all private schools. The indifferent attitude of the government has ruined the future of thousands of students," maintained Agarwal.
He also asked the local office of the NCPCR to create pressure on the government for early formulation of rules to regulate fees in private schools. "The state government should pressure schools to keep at least 50 per cent parents in school management committees. Schools are not supposed to be profit-making concerns and so parents should be a part of managing committees. This way they can also be aware of all management decisions," said Agarwal.
Reddy said they are contemplating filing a PIL with the help of Agarwal to ensure quality education to students in Jharkhand. "The state of schools here is very bad and Agarwal has promised to help us through a legal battle," said Reddy, adding that schools should ideally follow the model of Kendriya Vidyalaya.
TIMES OF INDIA 21.03.2013
On 20/03/2013, I along with Ganesh Reddy and Nisha Tomar visited one of the primary schools in a naxal affected village 25 km from Ranchi City of Jharkhand State (presently under Central Rule). The school has an enrollment of 25 students but only 10 students of classes 1 to 5 were present in a classroom. It is a single teacher school. Two toilets were locked. There was no drinking water facility at all. Top of all, there was a language problem. The teacher and the students do not understand each other’s language. The students know only local language and do not even understand Hindi language. The teacher does not know the local language. Literally, there was no teaching taking place. What to talk of Desks for the students, even tat-patties were not there. There was not electricity in the school. There was no boundary wall.Instead of running school in such bad conditions, the Government must provide transport facility to the students of this and other similar schools, so to enable such students to go to secondary or sr secondary school,may be at distance of 6-8 kms., where they may get conducive environment for good education.
A Meet on the RTE (Right to Education) is being organized by ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION (AIPA) and SOCIAL JURIST on Sunday 31st March 2013 at conference hall Gandhi Peace Foundation 221/223 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, near ITO, New Delhi -110002 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. All are invited to participate.
Issues including (i) How to improve Government Schools? (ii) How to stop arbitrary fee-hike in unaided private schools? & (iii) How to effectively implement EWS admissions in unaided minority schools (on public lands) and in unaided non-minority schools? etc., would be focused.
All are cordially invited. Contact persons Mr. Ashok Agarwal M-09811101923 Email firstname.lastname@example.org and Mr. I.S. Gambhir M- 9810133325.
A Civil Rights Group
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan
18, Institutional Area
Shaheed Jeet Singh Marg
March 11, 2013
Subject: Representation against charging of school-fees from students of Classes I-VIII in Kendriya Vidyalayas
Several parents whose wards are studying in classes I-VIII in Kendriya Vidyalaya, NTPC, Badarpur, New Delhi, vide a letter dated 11.03.2013 have informed me that your school has been charging school-fees under the heads of tuition fee, Vidyalaya Vikas Nidhi and computer-fee, which comes to approximately Rs. 1300 per month which they are somehow meeting, despite their poor economic condition. They have also informed me that the school has announced a three-fold fee-hike from April 2013, which would only result in withdrawal of their wards from the school, as they would not at all be in a position to afford the same. They have requested me to take up this matter on behalf of the students and help them in not only stopping the school from increasing the school fee but also to stop charging the current fees and further refund the fee already charged from April 1, 2010, i.e. the date of implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. A copy of the parents’ letter dated 11.03.2013 along with copies of fee-receipts is enclosed herewith for your reference.
It has also come to my notice that not only your aforementioned school, namely Kendriya Vidyalaya, NTPC but also all your other schools all over the country are charging school-fees from the students of Classes I-VIII in violation of students’ fundamental rights as guaranteed to them under Articles 21 and 21-A of the Constitution of India read with provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
It is needless to say that in terms of the provision of Articles 21 and 21-A of the Constitution read with the provisions of Section 3 of the RTE Act, 2009, your schools are obliged to provide totally free education to all the students studying in Classes I-VIII and therefore the school-fees having been charged from them during academic sessions 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 is not only illegal but also unconstitutional and all the students so charged are entitled to refund thereof.
We therefore request you to forthwith stop charging any fee from students of Classes I-VIII in all the Kendriya Vidyalayas and also to refund the fees charged from such students for the academic sessions 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist
A Meet on the RTE (Right to Education) is being organised by ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION and SOCIAL JURIST on Sunday 31st March 2013 at conference hall Gandhi Peace Foundation 221/223 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg New Delhi -110002 from 2:00PM to 5:00PM. Interested participants please SMS your Name preferably along with E-mail ID to 9810133325.
One of the 47 identified private hospitals obliged to provide free treatment in terms of the land lease clause to the patients belonging to economically weaker section (EWS) has refused free treatment of infertility to a 24 years old EWS female patient Manju. It is interesting to note that the hospital is providing treatment of infertility to the paid patients. The hospital argued that infertility being not a disease was not covered under free-treatment category. Of course, I am not a medical expert to comment upon the medical aspect of the matter. However, I see no valid and just reason on the part of the hospital to deny free treatment to Manju merely because she is poor and cannot pay to the hospital.
DELHI HC PULLS UP NCERT ON REVISION OF LIST OF SELECTED STUDENTS OF NCERT NATIONAL TALENT SEARCH EXAMINATION 2012
Delhi High Court (G.S. Sistani) has today (05.03.2013) issued notices to NCERT and HRD Ministry, Government of India on a petition filed by three aggrieved parents through Advocate Ashok Agarwal against the revised list of selected candidates of National Talent Search Examination, 2012 conducted by National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT), published in January, 2013, whereby the NCERT revised the final list of the selected candidates published on 16.08.2012, excluding the names of the as many as 40 students from the list of the selected candidates and thereby depriving them of the qualifying certificates and scholarships of Rs.500/- per month. Justice Sistani pulls up NCERT questioning the rationale behind revising the result on the basis of representations received way beyond the deadline for entertaining such representations, fixed by the NCERT itself. The High Court has sought replies from NCERT and HRD Ministry within 4 weeks.
“The action on the part of the NCERT in revising the list of 16.8.2012 is totally arbitrary, unjust, anti-child, unreasonable, unfair, violative of the principles of the natural justice, violative of Articles 14 & 21 of the Constitution of India. It has also caused mental agony, trauma and harassment to the students that were authentically and consciously declared successful in the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), 2012 as back as on 16.08.2012” argued Mr. Agarwal.
Next date of hearing is 24 May, 2013.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate