RTE Makes Difference To Children From Weaker Section
Four-year-old Akansha lives with her grandparents who work as cobblers at Indira Colony in Dausa in Rajasthan while her parents are daily wage labourers in neighbouring Jaipur.
Four-year-old, Akanksha rushes through the main gate of the school to join her classmates for the morning assembly. She says quick good bye to her grandparents who had come to drop her at the Krishna Public School in Dausa district in the western Indian state of Rajasthan
For children like Akanksha who come from weaker section of the society, the shift to being part of a private school like Krishna Public School, which caters to relatively affluent section of society, would have been difficult had it not for the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) that was enacted in 2010
Students like Akanksha have been enrolled due to the efforts of government officials. The initiative has been supported by UNICEF who have reached out to schools and the community, informing them about the provision
"When we went for her admission, we didn't know about the provision. The school administration was kind enough to inform us that we wouldn't have to pay fees," says Akanksha’s grandfather, Ram Swarup, heaving a sigh of relief
Sulagna Roy, Education and Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF in Rajasthan, who has been supporting the Government in its efforts to monitor RTE’s implementation in the state explains that there are six categories for the weaker sections of society for the reserved category
”The headmaster of the Government Upper Primary School (1st to 8th grades) in Gopalpura Devri, Prem Ballab Khulve, feels that the 25 per cent provision is helping children reach their actual potential all over Rajasthan. "There was a time, though, when disadvantaged parents couldn't even imagine to send their children to private schools," Khulve recalls.
Sushil Sharma, Secretary of the Indian Cambridge School explains that children from weaker sections of society might have different needs. "Teachers, therefore, use different methods of communication with them. After a point, with proper guidance, the children are at the same level as the rest.”
Amita Saraswat, a nursery school teacher from the same school who has been in the profession for 30 years, says that teachers are doing their best to bridge the divide.
Systems and processes to monitor the law Education experts like Rampal Sharma, who retired from the Education Department, has been instrumental in the inception and the implementation of the act in the state. "After constant feedback, we have been able to plug most of the loopholes thanks to the National Informatics Centre. The online application is useful for a parent too in case the school refuses to give application forms."
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