Maharashtra – Kids of transgenders, sex workers don’t need father’s name for school admissions #Goodnews


, TNN | Jun 4, 2013,

MUMBAI: Transgenders and those in the flesh trade will find it easier to educate their children. In order to make the admission process hassle-free for kids from such sections of the society, the state government has instructed schools not to insist on father’s name and address proof for such children during school admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Last week, a government resolution to this effect was issued by the school education department.

“Under the RTE Act, it is mandatory for all private educational institutes to give admission to the children of sex workers and transgenders as these sections of society are also included in the mandatory 25% reservation for the poor and backward class children,” said a senior government official.

School education minister Rajendra Darda said, “Every one in society has the right to get education. The education department is committed to the effective implementation of the RTE. Accordingly, the GR has been issued by the department for the marginalized sections of society.”

Seema Sayyed, manager, Aastha Parivar, a federation of sex workers working in Mumbai and Thane, welcomed the government’s initiative. “Sex workers don’t get the benefit of any government scheme as in most of the cases, they do not have any address proof. Now with the DF government issuing a GR, which categorically states that schools should not insist on father’s name and address proof, it will benefit a large number of our community members,” Seema Sayyed added.

However, gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi said that by issuing the GR, the government’s responsibility does not end. “The administration will have to ensure that kids from these sections of society get proper treatment in educational institutes,” Kavi added.

 

UPA-II failed to deliver on its promises: Aruna Roy’s report card


by Pallavi Polanki May 25, 2013
 National Advisory Council (NAC) member and leading social activist Aruna Roy has come down heavily on the government for its poor performance in the social sector.
Roy, an instrumental force behind the Right to Information Act, criticised the government for stalling on essential legislations such as the Food Security Bill, the Land Acquisition Bill and the Lokpal Bill.
Roy spoke to Firstpost about UPA-II’s record on inclusive growth, the government’s new advertising campaign and the UPA’s biggest challenge as it goes into polls in 2014.
Excerpts from the Interview:
 
Has UPA-II delivered on its promise of inclusive growth?
While UPA-I delivered on some essential promises in the social sector such as MGNREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and the Forest Rights Act, UPA-II has made promises which it has failed to deliver.
The Food Security Bill lies in Parliament waiting to be passed with little time left for debate on its provisions or to strengthen its framework. In fact, there seems to be a real danger that it may not get passed at all.
The Land Acquisition bill which has been mired in controversy has also not moved beyond the stage of the Standing Committee. Even the much touted UID-based direct benefit transfer has encountered basic problems and is a non-starter.
Roy has said the government failed to deliver on many promises. Image courtesy: Ibnlive
The UPA-II promised a revamping of the National Social Assistance Programme to move towards universal and enhanced pensions for the elderly, single women, and disabled. However, this too remains unfulfilled. The question of money seems to have dominated all decisions related to the social sector, so much so that many states are talking about a cash crunch in MGNREGA.
The Right to Education Act was passed during UPA-II, but the implementation of its progressive provisions remains crippled due to a lack of resources needed to meet commitments.
Corruption scandals have rocked UPA-II with disturbing regularity. How has government fared in bringing more transparency in governance?
An area where the performance of UPA-II has been deeply disappointing is in its inability to deliver on basic governance legislation of critical importance to the country today. The debate around the Lokpal Bill resulted in several pieces of draft legislation which would undoubtedly help citizens ensure accountability of the government and its officials. Apart from the Lokpal Bill, the Grievance Redress Bill, the Whistleblower Protection Bill, the Judicial Accountability Bill are legislations that should be passed immediately.
The Whistleblower Protection Bill and the Grievance Redress Bill actually affect the right to live of the poor in significant ways. An effective Grievance Redress Bill could have been like an RTI part II for UPA-II. Instead, the Government exempted its premier anti-corruption investigating agency – the CBI from scrutiny under the RTI Act, and has now been forced by the Supreme Court to promise independence in investigation of corruption cases.
If the Government has any intent of addressing corruption and arbitrary use of power, anti- corruption agencies must be made independent, transparent, and accountable, and this basket of accountability legislations, which have come to Parliament after much public action over the last two years, must be passed immediately.
What do you make of the publicity campaign released recently by UPA-II to highlight its achievements in the social sector. Is the UPA making the same mistake that the NDA made in 2004 with the ‘India Shining’ campaign?
It is true that the “game changer” label given to the UID-based cash transfer/direct benefit transfer seems to resonate with the NDAs ‘India Shining’ campaign. In both cases, there is little that is delivered to the poor in real terms and the triumphant claims only served to rub salt in the wounds of large numbers of suffering and marginalised people.
Does the UID system create more problems for the poor? AFP
The attempt to ensure that money reaches the beneficiary without leakages along the way is laudable, but imposing an impractical and untested centralized delivery platform like the UID on a complex development structure can complicate existing systems and exclude large numbers of people.
The results from the roll out districts speak for themselves. Miniscule numbers of beneficiaries have received money through this platform and even in these cases there has been no additional benefit to them. For the poor as a whole, there has been the added problems and irritants associated with having to acquire a UID number on which all entitlements will be tethered.
If wisdom prevails, UPA-II even in its last year would concentrate on delivering on its social sector promises: ensure that food and pension entitlements are made a reality, enact citizen-centred accountability systems to guarantee delivery of entitlements and fix accountability of officials.
What will be the UPA’s biggest challenge as it goes into polls in 2014?
The challenge for any government is to deliver on its promises and the UPA II will be evaluated on its implementation of promises made. The questions it will have to answer are: what are ways in which it has promoted or vitiated the achievements of UPA-I ,vis-a-vis the Right to Information, MGNREGA, Forest Rights Act, etc?
Two, has it delivered on its promises of inclusive growth in UPA II – Right to Food, Pensions, Education, Health, etc? And three, has it provided a real answer to the widespread frustration of people about the lack of accountability at all levels and numbers of cases of grand corruption that have been regularly coming to light?
I don’t wish to speculate on what the results of a particular election will be. I do, however, believe that a government has a duty to deliver on promises it has made to its electorate.
The India Shining Campaign demonstrated that people are shrewd and respond only when real benefits reach them. Tall claims and slick campaigns do not get votes. Slogans are seen as mere rhetoric. It would be a mistake not to recognize that people can understand political intent through delivery.

 

Muslim Girls want to study – Delhi Government School says NO #WTF


ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION

Aggarwal Bhawan, G. T. Road, Tis Hazari, Delhi -110054

 M- 09811101923, 9810133325

05/04/2013

To

Prof. Ms. Kiran Walia,

Education Minister,

Government of NCT of Delhi

Secretariat, I.P. Estate,

New Delhi-110002

 

Sub: Muslim Girls want to study – Delhi Government School says NO

Dear Madam,

3 young girls in the age group 6-7 years belonging to Muslim Community have come to my office today morning complaining that they want to go to school to study but a Delhi Government School at Patparganj is not admitting them in school on the excuse that the school does not have seats for them. It is all shocking that despite Constitutional Guarantee to these children, a State-run school has denied them admission.  It appears that the Government is least interested in the education of the children belonging to the minority community like Muslim, otherwise it would not have happened.

Nasima Khatoon (DOB 26.01.2006) d/o Mohd Mustafa, Shenaj (DOB 07.08.2007) d/o Sadray Alam (M-9213982480) and Jasmeen (DOB 22.10.2006) d/o Aslam, all resident of E 77/224, Nehru Camp, I.P. Extension, Patpar Ganj, Delhi-110092 have been illegally denied admission by  Sarvodya Kanya Vidyayala, Patparganj, Delhi-91.  It is a very serious matter.  Even after 65 years of independence and three years of RTE Act, 2009, the Government Schools are still not sensitive and child-friendly.

You are requested to kindly look into the matter and do the needful on urgent basis.

With regards,

Ashok Agarwal, Advocate

National President, AIPA

M-09811101923

 

Bombay HC- Reimburse unaided schools for expense on SC/ST students #goodnews


Express news service : Mumbai, Thu Apr 04 2013,

 

Bombay High Court (HC) directed the state government Wednesday to reimburse unaided schools for expenses incurred on education of SC/ST students as per RTE Act.

The money — Rs 10, 463 per student per year till standard 7 or the actual amount spent, whichever less — is to be reimbursed irrespective of incomes of parents or guardians of the students from academic year 2010- 2011.

For higher secondary school students, the reimbursment is according to recommendations made by a state-appointed committee in 2010.

For schools in Mumbai, it is Rs 350; for those under other municipal corporations, it is Rs 250 and for the rest of the state, Rs 200.

Schools are also to be reimbursed for OBC, VJNT and SBC students the annual income of whose parents is less than Rs 1 lakh.

HC clarified while RTE Act could not be invoked against the wishes of minority unaided schools, institutions admitting students from disadvantaged sections could claim reimbursement.

A division bench of justices Mohit Shah and N M Jamdar said provisions of RTE Act should be read in the light of articles 21A (right to education) and 46 (promotion of educational and economic interests of weaker sections) of the Constitution.

HC noted though RTE Act applied to elementary education, the state had been giving the benefit of reimbursement to classes 9 and 10 as well.

 

Akanksha NGO, founded by Shaheen Mistry, Ashoka Fellow, violates RTE Act #discrimination


“Akansha founded by ashoka fellow by Shaheen mistry is running a BMC school in kala chowki , mumbai where they are violating all the sections of Right to Education Act , I made formal complaint regading this to variouse authorities , due to this they are discriminating my son Kabir and today they have not taken Kabir to the picnic and they kept kabir in the school alone , this is the shameful act on the part of Akansha and Shaheen Mistry . “-Shakil Ahmed , contact shakilnba@gmail.com,9969925602

Dear Shaheen Mistry,

I am a father of a six- year old boy, who, like thousand other parents has been anxious about finding a best educational institution for my child. As a law-practioner and a civil rights activist for over two decades, I have been working on a very close quarters with the education system. One such cause that I have invested my life in is trying to bring in accountability and transparency in state run educational institutions. I along with eight- nine other members, run Parivartan Shikshan Sanstha since 1997, and have been fighting to overcome lack of education facilities for children in the slums of Sangam Nagar, Wadala (east). Our NGO has ensured that a civic school was built in this area in 2006, following a Public Interest Litigation. Akanksha and Parivartan has worked together in the past.Akanksha helped us focus on the quality of education.

So when my son Kabir turned six this year, I knew, keeping all his constitutional rights intact, I had to zero down on one of the near- by schools. I too, like lakhs of parents wished to enroll him in an English medium school. But after several months of research and rejections, I was hit by hard and pressing reality that the admission process in most schools violates every premise of Right to Education Act. I then turned to your organization- Akanksha. And to my shock your school, too, did exactly what private educational institutions did.

Running you through my experience:

Over a month ago my wife Shabana had gone to Prabhud Nagar Municipal School (English medium) Cotton Green, to admit our son Kabir in 1st standard. One of social worker in School run by Akansha, NGO informed   that all seats were already full. When we pressurized to admit out child citing the Right to Education Act, they told that they do not take the students residing outside 1 km. Thus School Authority turned my son away on the ground that we reside outside 1 km. from school.

We wanted to know the admission beginning and closure details but Akansha refused to disclose and said that they have taken admission of Senior K.G students then we asked the detail list of students admitted with their residence address. My wife wanted in writing the reasons for denial of admission but she was not given then my wife gave a letter in writing stating that we had visited school for admission of our son but they refused to take that too. We lodged a complaint before Commissioner of Municipal on the same day.

On July 19, 2012, I was called by one social worker from Akansha organization who informed me that they have been directed by Administrative Officer (School) to admit my son. On July 20, 2012, I visited the school for admission and met Ms. Chitra, Principal of school. Ms. Chitra asked me to come the next day as there was a shortage of staffs in school and she was finding it difficult in carrying out formalities of filling up the forms. I told her that I have come there on receiving a phone call and can hardly find time out of my busy schedule and insisted for admission filling up form myself in absence of the staffs. This is in sheer violation of Section 8(d) and 9(f) which enshrines the duty of the Appropriate Government and Local Authority respectively to provide infrastructure including school building, teaching staff and learning material. She interrogated me about my son’s previous schooling upon which I replied that he had not attended school previously. She refused to admit him for not having previous schooling background. I wanted to come back on their refusal on which she agreed to give admission and asked me to wait as she had no idea about form fill up and called staffs from head office.

After half an hour, two ladies staffs came from head office who advised me to put my son in senior K.G as he would not be able to cope up with other student having schooling background. I shall again point over here that in refusing my son to admit in Class I, Ms. Chitra violated section 4 of the Act wherein a child above six years of age has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could not complete his or her elementary education, then, he or she shall be admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age. The proviso to the section says that such child shall have a right to receive special training, in order to be at par with other children. They suggested me that these are in the interest of my son’s career. I did not agree with them and pointed out provision of RTE, Act which ensures special training for child to cope up in case child is admitted to class in appropriate to their age.

When I kept insisting her to take admission with the reference of Administrative Officer’s direction, she replied that AO has nowhere mentioned in letter to give admission and  again advised me to put my son in senior K.G. I did not agree for putting my son in below standard than his agree and came out.

After five minutes Ms. Chitra called me over my phone and told me that she is ready to grant admission without any condition.  She took prescribed admission form of BMC and thereafter she gave me another sheet carrying terms and conditions of Akansha, NGO. The conditions were not acceptable but I had no other option than to sign it. For example: Ms. Chitra told me to give only vegetarian food for lunch in tiffin, because it is the rule of school. I would like to point over here that the provision of mid-day meal in schools is a basic amenity provided by the Government towards ensuring that the children of all strata have the facility of having lunch provided in the school itself. Again emphasis by the school Principal to give only vegetarian food in lunch creates a sense of disparity among the children themselves as they come from all the sections of society. In fact, they should be made aware of the qualities of healthy food habits rather than discriminating them on vegetarian and non-vegetarian grounds.

While talking to the Principal I came to know that the school has tie up with Akansha, NGO under agreement to provide teaching staffs in the school. I asked per municipal rule the qualification of teachers of primary schools. She told me that minimum qualification of teachers is D.Ed. I asked number of teachers and their qualification of those teaching in their school.She informed that there are 20 teachers, out of 20 only 8 teachers have D.Ed or B.Ed qualification. I wanted to know the process of appointment, she told that they are employees of companies like Wipro, Infosys and deputed for two years in school. On asking about training I was told that Akansha provides them 20 days training. The project of deputing the teaching staffs in school are run by Teach India, NGO. Hence, the basic question that arises over here is, though the teachers over here may have worked with reputed organizations such as Infosys and Wipro, but do they have the minimum qualification of a B.Ed or D.ed degree to teach in a school? Teaching children between the age of six to fourteen years does not require experience of an IT Firm rather what is needed is the skill and training to be qualified as a teaching staff.

I asked for drinking water from one of teacher available in office for which they said that they have no water facility in school.   I expressed shock for non availability of water in school. Upon asking how children get water she replied that children are told to bring water bottle and in case they don’t’ bring water, they call parents to ask them arrange for water for their children. They further informed that school staffs take packaged drinking water when required. On asking about complaint in this connection they said that construction work of building is still going on and they are arranging funding for aqua guard. I observed that water connection is available in school but they are not providing water to children as they are waiting for aqua guard. The non-availabilty of safe drinking water facility in a school is in clear violation of The Schedule of the Act wherein the norms and standards for a school are laid down. Item (2)(iv) of the Schedule lays down that all-weather building should consist of safe and adequate drinking water facility to all children. It is to be emphasized over here that section 19 of the Act lays down that where a school fails to fulfill the norms and conditions within a specified period of 3years of its commencement, then the appropriate authority under section 18 of the Act shall withdraw recognition granted to such school.

Here, I would like to bring to your notice that thousands of parents like me are struggling to admit their child in school. Though there is legislation for providing children elementary education in govt. run schools, so that children right can be protected, it has been violated by your school. Akanksha has been in the field of imparting education for a long time and is perceived as one of the committed NGO’s.

But my experience with Akanksha has confirmed that your institution, although constitutionally bound to provide education to all, has failed a large section of the society.

Your schools arbit grounds to admit a child has violated not only the child’s constitutional right, but also defeats the purpose of a NGO.

RTE does not cover 0- 6 years age group. So when a child come to a school to be enrolled for the first time in a school at the age of six, it reflects a lot on his parents social and financial status. it for such a child that RTE comes for rescue and not for the ones who has an access to pre- primay education. Akansha should have been more careful and sensitive towards such kids. A child, who is deprived of this educational rights, should be Akanksha’s priority and not the one’s who have been to some nursery and pre- primary schooling. By asking me if my child has been to any such institutions before securing admission in standard 1st, your organization has violated my sons fundamental right to education. Previous qualification, age and the time when a parent approaches a school for admission is secondary. Every child should be in a school is and must be a priority!

I would like to ask, has Akanksha done anything to find out where are those kids it has denied admissions?

Does Akansksha know, after stripping them off their basic rights, have those kids been admitted to any school?

Unless a NGO works within the realm of the RTE and ensures each and every child is admitted in the school, without any discrimination, their existence can not be justified.

Thanks & Regards,

 
Shakil Ahmed

 

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