‘Provide education to over 1 lakh ‘out of school’ kids’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Aug 2017 10:37:58


Staff Reporter,

In a path-breaking order, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Friday directed State Government to make every efforts to provide primary education to more than one lakh out of school kids and spell out proposed steps for ensuring that these one lakh out of school and aanganwadi children are admitted to fulfil the mandate under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

“It would be necessary for the State Government to take steps to ensure that each child is admitted in the school or aanganwadi in view of the provisions of the RTE Act,” the High Court noted while reminding Government and local authorities about their responsibility to scrupulously implement the constitutionally binding mandate without citing any excuse.

A division bench consisting of Justice Vasanti Naik and Justice Arun Upadhye also directed the government to notify the officer under rule 6 of the RTE Act for every local authority to implement the RTE Act and ensure cent per cent enrollment of kids in neighbourhood schools.

During last hearing on the petition filed by Mangesh Indapawar, a journalist with local Marathi daily about large number of out of school kids remaining out of ambit of the RTE, Women and Child Welfare Secretary Vinita Singal, in heraffidavit, had informed that over 96,000 kids were still out of school. Out of 28.86 lakh kids between the age group of 3-6 years, 27.41 lakh kids have been admitted in pre-primary schools while 96,505 kids are still out of school, the affidavit revealed. The affidavit also stated that in urban areas over 94,000 kids have not secured admission in any pre-primary schools while in rural areas, the number is barely 2,091.

Under the RTE, there is fundamental right of education to kids between the age bracket of 6-14 years. However, the affidavit was silent on steps taken to ensure enrollment of these children in schools as per the RTE Act. The High Court also reminded authorities that with a view to ensure that the records of children enrolled are properly maintained by the local authorities, State Government has to notify an officer who would carry out the household survey so that the local authority would develop a record management system and maintain records of all children. Apart from notifying officer, the State should also maintain the record by other means like school register, focused group discussion, from the birth of the children till they attain the age of 14 years.

During last hearings the petitioner pointed out exclusion of beggars and wandering kids from the Right to Education scheme and lack of efforts to bring them into mainstream. The High Court had sought response from the State Government on this crucial aspect along with number of such kids deprived from securing their fundamental right to education.

The High Court was unhappy with surveys conducted by Education Department about out of school kids between 6-14 years as the numbers were ridiculously low. The number of out of school children was pegged at 78,000 and later the number was brought down to 58,000. Later, the government agreed to conduct survey of all students between 0-14 so as to arrive at a more logical number and authorised Municipal Officers to conduct this survey.

Adv Firdos Mirza appeared for the petitioner. Adv Mugdha Chandurkar (Union), Addl GP Deepak Thakre (State), Adv Sudhir Puranik (NMC) represented respondent authorities.