Monday, 24 June 2013
Friday, 21 June 2013
BANGALORE, June 21, 2013
'6.28 lakh children are out of school in Karnataka'
Contrary to Education Department’s claim that only 51,994 students aged between 6 and 14 are out of school in the State at present, an analysis submitted to the Karnataka High Court on Thursday points out that 6,28,047 students in this age group are out of school.
Analysis done by social activist Kathyayini Chamaraj, who has been permitted by the court to intervene in a public interest litigation petition suo motu initiated by it on the issue of the out-of-school children, has demonstrated this aspect by analysing the figures of students enrolled and continuing in various classes as provided by the Education Department.
Ms. Kathyayini has said that 78,76,110 students have been admitted to first standard from 2005-06 to 2011-12. In 2012-13, all these children should be in second to eighth standard.
“As per the government’s figures, there were only 72,48,063 children studying from second to eighth standard in 2012-13. Hence, there are 6,28,047 children who have either dropped out, or are missing, after enrolment in the last seven years,” the analysis pointed out. “This works out to about 8 per cent of the children who are out of school at any given time. However, the official dropout rates are far lower due to the unscientific manner in which it is calculated by the Education Department. Thus, the figure stated by the Education Department does not match at all with the actual number of children who have dropped out of school as per the statistics maintained by the department,” claimed Ms. Chamaraj.
After going through the analysis of figures, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna asked the State government to study the analysis while pointing out that it will be a serious issue if what has been pointed out in the analysis is true.
“What has been pointed out in the analysis may or may not be correct. You [government] study this aspect and file your response…”, the Bench observed while adjourning hearing till July 4.
Aditya Sondhi, court-appointed amicus curiae, said a panel should be formed comprising officials of the Education Department, local authority representatives, social activist and educationist to oversee the implementation of certain provisions of the RTE Act. The committee should monitor admissions to schools under the RTE Act, incentives given to private schools, and prevent discrimination of children admitted under the Act.
BANGALORE, June 20, 2013
Why run schools without enough children: Kimmane Ratnakar
Decision on closure of government schools across Karnataka was inevitable, says Minister
More than 3,000 government schools across the State have closed down on account of zero or negligible enrolment of children in the last five years, according to Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Ratnakar.
The Minister, however, argued that the decision on closure was inevitable. “There is no point in running schools which have less than 10 students. There is a good school building and teachers, but no students.” He said he would convene a meeting of education experts and scholars to elicit their opinion on improving quality of education and to make them attractive. “We are doing injustice if we do not take urgent steps to address the problem. I am optimistic of arriving at some solutions before the next academic year,” the Minister said.
He said 28 government schools had been closed in Tirthahalli taluk of Shimoga district, from where he hails. The number of students seeking admission to government schools has declined by nearly three lakhs in the last few years.
The government has provided every infrastructure, but students are not enrolling. In some schools, there are more than three or four teachers for eight to 10 students, he said.
TODAY'S PAPER » NATIONAL » KARNATAKA
BANGALORE, June 20, 2013
Model schools in GPs to rope in more students
Ideal student/teacher ratio: 30:1
The State government is planning to establish a model government school at the headquarters of each gram panchayat to attract children towards government-run schools.
Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Ratnakar told presspersons here on Wednesday: “I have directed Block Education Officers (BEOs) to furnish details regarding number of government schools in each gram panchayat, number of teachers, total number of students and infrastructure available to implement the proposal.”
Just like private schools, school bus facility would be provided to model government schools to attract students.
The main objective of the programme is to ensure attendance of at least 30 children in each class and one teacher exclusively for each section. The proposal would take final shape after submission of reports by all BEOs. “If all goes well, we would implement the proposal from the next academic year,” he said.
Looking for donors
The department is soliciting corporates and big business houses to donate for infrastructure development such as drinking water, electricity, playgrounds and teachers in these schools, he said.
At least Rs. 5,000 crore is required to improve existing infrastructure in government school across the State. While Rs. 3,500 crore is required to improve infrastructure for classes 1 to 10, Rs. 1,500 crore is needed for PU colleges, the Minister said.
The Minister pointed out that the Primary and Secondary Education Department gets around Rs. 15,000 crore from both State and Union governments for infrastructure of which Rs. 10,500 crore goes towards teachers’ salary, Rs. 1,500 crore for the mid-day meal scheme, Rs. 160 crore for uniforms and Rs. 200 crore for distribution of bicycles for students, which leaves very little for enhancing facilities.
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
BREADS organized a one day consultation on “Children: Governance & Equity” on 17th June 2013, at EDC (SJP college Campus), Bangalore. The consultation was an effort to record people’s perspectives on their priorities. This consultation is part of the advocacy initiated at the national level by Wada Na Thodo Abhiyan (WNTA) to collate people’s voices to influence the development of a framework for Millennium Development Goals.
7 organisations had partnered with BREADS to organize the consultation in Bangalore. The members of the core group had conducted Focus Group Discussions (10 in all + 1 email survey) with their respective stake holders and consolidated the concerns that have emerged. These concerns were presented to the participants in the forenoon session. Post lunch, the participants were divided into 4 groups (1 with children exclusively) and facilitated to articulate their priorities.
Mr H R Umesh Aradhya, KSCPCR Chairperson was the chief guest. Dr Padmini, Founder Trustee, CRT presented the keynote address and Mr Vasudev Sharma, Executive Director, CRT facilitated the programme. Participants included representatives from research and field based organisations, various NGOs, teachers, BRC/CRCs, children, juvenile homes, District Child Protection Unit, advocates, activists, SHG members.
Recommendations put forward by children:
1. All schools – govt or private – must treat all children equally, without any discrimination and provide them all with the requisite facilities and opportunities.
2. Family, society and schools are equal stake holders in protection of children.
3. No child must go hungry; health care facilities must function optimally to ensure services as and when needed.
Recommendations from adult groups:
1. Universalisation of education and health care
2. Strengthen systems like ICPU to ensure efficient functioning
3. Community monitoring of implementation of various government schemes
4. Whether we have MDGs or not – the shift must be towards a rights based approach
5. Ensure accountability and commitment of the systems at multifarious levels. This also calls for interdepartmental coordination
6. Children’s participation in decisions concerning them
7. People should be educated on the schemes they can avail of and the significance of safe sanitation practices
ü ‘My World’ Survey (The United Nations Global Survey for a Better World):
As part of the programme the organisers were required to do a survey on people’s priorities, using the questionnaire designed by the United Nations. Interestingly, some of the participants expressed their ideological opposition to this questionnaire and refrained from filling it. They submitted the survey forms with their opposition mentioned in it.
Saturday, 1 June 2013
'Widen scope of RTE Act'
01st June 2013 06:53 AM
The scope of the Right to Education (RTE) Act should be widened to include those up to 18 years of age under the classification of ‘children’ in order to effectively put an end to child labour, a prominent child rights NGO said here on Thursday.
During a State-level consultation on the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012, organised by Sama Kalvi Iyakkam (SKI), the activists said, “The proposed Bill categorising those below the age of 14 years as children and those above 14 years but under 18 years as adolescents, violates India’s ratification of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its own Constitution.”
A Ambrose, Advocacy Co-ordinator of SKI, said, “The amendment Bill attempts to align with that of the RTE Act but weakens the constitutional commitment of RTE to ensure free and compulsory education to all children up to 14 years by permitting them to work at home after school hours in a family setup.” “Although the Bill prohibits employment of children below 14 years in certain occupations and processes, it permits the same if those processes are carried out within a family set-up,” he said.
He further said that the bill was restricted to prohibiting only three hazardous sectors, while the detailed occupations and processes that were found in the principle Act, that is the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 had been ignored.
This cleared the way for employers to engage children below 14 years of age, who were earlier prohibited from being employed in 65 process and 18 occupations.
The proposed Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on December 4, 2012 and is pending before the Standing Committee till date. The Bill is expected to come up in the forthcoming sessions.