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RTE Makes Difference To Children From Weaker Section in Rajasthan
" AIPUR, Rajasthan, India, 2 April 2014 - 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 neig "

JAIPUR, Rajasthan, India, 2 April 2014 - 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.

For children like Akangsha who come from weaker section of the society, the shift to being part of 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.

Till now, 140,000 children, like Akanksha have benefited from the RTE Act and are now in schools due to the efforts of State Government. The initiative has been supported by UNICEF who have reached out to schools and the community, informing them about the provision.

Photos Credit: Syed Altaf Ahmad

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.

For children like Akangsha who come from weaker section of the society, the shift to being part of 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.

Till now, 140,000 children, like Akanksha have benefited from the RTE Act and are now in schools due to the efforts of State Government. The initiative has been supported by UNICEF who have reached out to schools and the community, informing them about the provision.

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. Akansha lives with her grandparents who work as cobblers at Indira Colony in Dausa while her parents are daily wage labourers in neighbouring Jaipur.

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. As part of the RTE, it is mandatory for all the non-minority unaided schools and schools belonging to specified category to admit 25 per cent of the strength of the class from children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups

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. Till now, 14,555 schools have granted admission to 140,000 children, like Akanksha have benefited from the RTE Act and are now in schools.

"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. Swarup is very optimistic as Akanksha is very bright and says that she will get a good job and secure a bright future someday if she studies diligently.

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 programme is tailored to benefit the poorest of the poor at the entry level, which can be pre-school or Grade I.

”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.

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.

"Initially, the children who hail from the weaker sections of society have adjustment issues. As a teacher, it is my job to ensure that the child keeps up with the rest. We get involved with parents also as they need to be instructed. All this takes time and eventually the changes become obvious," she explains.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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