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.

 

CBSE tweaks ‘Open Book’ concept, comes up with PAT


, TNN | Aug 1, 2012,

NAGPUR: In what could be the biggest change made to the country’s education system, CBSE has decided to introduce the ‘open book exam’ concept for its board exams (Std X, XII) from the 2013-14 academic session. The central board’s chairman Vineet Joshi informed TOI that the new system will test “higher order thinking skills of students rather than their current reliance on a rote-based methodology”.

“But it won’t literally be an open book exam. It will be called the ‘Pre-Announced Test’ (PAT) and will be applicable for all Std X subjects and some major ones of Std XII,” he said.

Explaining the features of PAT, Joshi said, “Four months before the exam, students will be made aware of the test they are going to appear for. But the questions will not be simple and straightforward, they will test the students’ analytical power.”

A formal announcement with complete details regarding the new system is expected to be made in December this year. The HRD ministry had initiated the process and a reforms committee had been constituted to look into the concept. Sources in the board said that Joshi was heading the committee and its brief was to improve the education system to make it more ‘student-friendly’.

The committee tweaked the open book concept, followed in some western countries, to make it more relevant and acceptable here. “We were apprehensive about the reaction from other state boards if books are allowed inside exam halls,” said a highly placed source in the CBSE board. He was referring particularly to Maharashtra which had created a fuss over CBSE’s school-evaluated board exam for Std X students and refused them admission in state colleges.

PAT functions like the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) system that some education boards, including Maharashtra, are implementing. In the SSC exam, an out-of-syllabus passage is given to students and they are asked questions that cannot be answered word-for-word just by looking at the matter. For example, if the passage has a line saying, ‘Rajesh goes to school everyday and learns about animals, new countries and math formulae’, the question would be ‘Why does Rajesh go to school?’ The expected answer would be he goes to school to increase his knowledge about the world around him.

Under PAT, the same passage would be taught to students four months before the exam. S/he is expected to analyse various relevant questions that could be asked. On the day of the CBSE exam, PAT will not produce the passage but there will be questions based on it.

It is still not clear yet how the board will implement PAT for Mathematics where formulae and values are part of almost every topic. By the time a formal announcement is made in December, the CBSE Board expects to iron out all issues.

Local schools in the city were unaware of board’s plan but say it does seem to be a step in the right direction. A school principal, who did not wish to be named, said, “Today, what matters on exam day is how well a student is able to recall what he has learnt. PAT will force a change of approach. Students will not be able to depend on guides.”

Another teacher said that teachers will now face a “new challenge”. “Having the test available in advance will certainly help and the focus will be on how well the student can comprehend the lesson,” she said. Those who set the question paper also face a challenge, according to this teacher. “No question will be repeated in successive exams and that requires a lot of innovative thinking,” she added.

In 2008, the Gujarat government had decided to implement the open book exam concept for its board exams but has not done yet. Also, some schools in Gujarat had experimented with the concept but it proved to be very tough and few students passed.

Private Organisations can now adopt BMC schools- FIRST STEP towards privatisation of Education in Mumbai


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
By Jai Maharashtra News | 26 Jul Thu, 2012

Mumbai: In a move that could be  MOST DISADVANTAGEOUS  ( orginal post says advantageous) to students of municipal schools as well as to the government, the ruling parties Shiv Sena and BJP in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has taken the decision to let civic schools be run by private educational institutions.

The proposal for this decision was first put forward 2 weeks ago, on the 11th of July, and the final nod came from the standing committee of the BMC on Wednesday 25th July. This was seen as a welcome move to improve the quality of education in state run government schools.

According to the decision, a private Non Governmental Organization (NGO) can select one civic school, and after approval, it will be responsible for recruitment of teaching and non teaching staff, as well as the overall functioning of the school. However, all other matters of the administration, as well as student enrollment will still be handled by the BMC.

Although some members from the Opposition were against this move, stating that the BMC was attempting to shirk its responsibility, it was pointed out that by Vitthal Kharatmol, BJP councillor and education committee chief chairman, that the move would help the students from civic schools to come up on par with better educational institutions, and would remove the inferiority complex that is associated with civic schools. Additionally, since there was no more open land for building more schools, it was hoped that this move would help make most of the existing educational land.

Many members of the opposition reacted strongly to this proposed decision while it was still under discussion, including Congressman Asif Zakaria, who sarcastically inquired whether the next move by the BMC would be to outsource its roads too. Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Sheikh said that managing civis scolls was the sole responsibility of the BMC under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (MMC).

The additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani also promised that the civic schools would still be under the control of the BMC, and that despite the provision of better facilities by the NGO, the students would still be enrolled free of charge and not be asked to pay fees for their education. “Students will not be denied educational facilities,” he said. The ruling party asserted that far from trying to get out of their responsibility to provide free primary education to the poorer sections of society, the move would elevate the quality of teaching as well as the morale of students from civic schools.

There are currently more than 1,139 civic run schools in the state, and the attendance rates are not as good as the government would have wanted it to be.

The Story of One School Why 650 children came and only 200 remained


By Prakhar Jain

Education in ruins The residential school in Chintagupha, Sukma

WITH THE Right to Education Act (RTE) completing two years, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal may feel smug about the decline in dropout rates. But close to 40,000 children in the Naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh are yet to even enrol in schools. To them, the impressive figures of the Human Resource and Development Ministry regarding addition of classrooms matter little.

Most of these children missing from schools in these areas are actually victims of conflict. During the time of the now disbanded Salwa Judum, the state-sponsored anti-Naxal militia, and later Operation Green Hunt from 2005 to 2010, the biggest casualties apart from human lives were schools and education. Salwa Judum destroyed schools as they went on a rampage vacating villages suspected of supporting Naxals; while Naxals did the same, fearing that schools would be used as camps by the security forces.

Many schools were shut permanently, while some were shifted next to the roads along the Salwa Judum camps. The residential school in Chintalnar, around 80 km from district headquarters Sukma, was among those shut in 2005, forcing all the children to go back to their homes. “More than 650 children turned up for admission when the school reopened in 2010, but we were able to take just 370 of them. There were just too many to be accommodated with the limited infrastructure available,” recalls Jairam Sinha, an instructor in the school, pointing to the school building. The building is a small house with four rooms measuring 10 ft by 10 ft.

Since then, the number of students has come down to 200, as many have run away. Still, nearly 150 boys are crammed, often 2-3 to a bed, in an abandoned, dilapidated house nearby that serves as a temporary hostel. The girls sleep in the school itself. The irony, however, is that even the new school building, which has been under construction for the past two years, won’t be able to accommodate the sanctioned strength of more than 500 children. And Jairam Sinha says there are more than 2,000 children in a 10-km radius from Chintalnar who don’t go to school.

One big hurdle in reaching Chintalnar and constructing the new building is the 45-km long virtually non-existent road, which connects it to the nearest supply town of Dornapal. The road has seen some major blasts by Naxals in the past few years, claiming the lives of several security personnel. “Transportation is a challenge on that road as whatever little is sent has to be sent under heavy security,” says Alex VF Paul Menon, Collector of Sukma.

This, however, is by no means the most dismal scenario. Hundreds of villages scattered in the forests of south Chhattisgarh exist with no sign of administration. Due to Naxal threats and difficult terrain, neither the government nor any NGO is aware about the children left out of the formal education system. KR Pisda, school education secretary of Chhattisgarh, says, “According to our estimates, there are around 15,000 children who are yet to be enrolled in four districts of Dantewada, Bijapur, Sukma and Narayanpur.” However, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in 2009 estimated that there are 40,000 such children in seven districts, and the situation hasn’t improved since then.

Plight In Numbers

• 40,000 children out of schools in seven Naxal-affected districts of Chhattisgarh
• 185 schools shut down since 2005 in Dantewada district; 86 damaged by Naxals
• 50 percent of schools don’t have boundary walls to stop children from running away
• 42 percent is the average literacy rate in Dantewada, Bijapur and Sukma
• 26 percent is the drop-out rate at primary level against the national figure of 7 percent
• 4 out of 5 children drop-out before reaching class eight

Regular schools in these areas have rarely been successful. Residential Ashram schools and Porta Cabins (structures made of bamboo), being run by the Tribal Welfare Department and the Department of School Education under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, are a common sight all across these districts.

What is, however, odd is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camps right next to most of them. During Salwa Judum days, many schools were used as camps by the CRPF and police and were vacated only in 2011 after repeated warnings by the Supreme Court. But the new camps that came up later have been constructed quite close to the schools. Many see this as a way to check ration supplies to Naxals, often siphoned off from those meant for schools. This, in turn, make the schools vulnerable as they too can come in the line of fire in case a CRPF camp is attacked by the Naxals.

It is common knowledge in these areas that the initiation process to become a Naxal starts early and sometimes children are recruited for Bal Sanghams (Naxal schools) at an early age of six. At the age of 12, these Bal Sanghams get promoted to other ranks, which also includes armed cadres.

Gopal Buddu, 20, was taken away by Naxals at the age of 13 from his village Kamkanar in Bijapur district. “I was forced to go with them as resistance would have meant trouble,” says Buddu. After six years of hardship in the jungles and working as a bodyguard of the Division Commander, one fine day in 2011 he surrendered before the Bijapur police. Buddu has now been rehabilitated in the Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Armed Police Force.

Most parents now, however, see schools as a safe haven for their kids as they also provide protection from being taken away forcibly by the Naxals. Therefore, the longer the children remain out of schools, more their chances of getting picked up by the Naxals. Shanta Sinha, Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) says, “It’s important to give access to education to the children and then let them decide their path after they are empowered to think.”

EVEN IF a child gets enrolled in a school, retaining and keeping track of them is a huge challenge. Recently, the NCPCR found out that around 35 tribal children had been taken to Kerala by contractors to work in brick-kilns. “We wrote to the Kerala government asking them to send these children back to their schools in Chhattisgarh,” says Sinha. The state government there was able to track 25 of them while 10 could not be traced.

Himanshu Kumar, who used to run an NGO, Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, in Dantewada district, says, “We used to work with tribal activists, who knew every student by name and village. They were quite quick in tracing them as soon as they disappeared from schools.” He has, however, now shifted to Delhi after his house was bulldozed by the police in 2009.

In places like Dantewada and Sukma, where the drop-out rate is 26 per cent at the primary level, way higher than the national average of around 7 percent, radical steps are required to retain students. “In partnership with the government, we are working on a doable Management Information System on Child Tracking, psycho-social support for children affected by violence, and a set of standards and protocols for residential institutions on child protection, which would enable tracking of children both at the community and institution level,” says Shaheen Nilofer, who heads UNICEF Chhattisgarh, which is probably the only agency with access to remote areas in Sukma, Bijapur, Narainpur and other south Bastar districts.

It’s not that the administration is not working at all, but the focus currently is on creating school infrastructure at places accessible by roads. Close to Dantewada town, a huge Education City, comprising residential schools for boys and girls, is being built at a cost of Rs 100 crore. The project, when completed, would be able to accommodate more than 2,000 children. But relocating so many children from villages would itself be a huge challenge.

In these areas, the Naxals recruit children, as young as six, from the villages for their Bal Sanghams OP Chaudhury, collector of Dantewada, says the aim is to send a message to people in interior areas that such kind of development is possible in their village too. “We want the community to come forward and take ownership of these projects,” he says.

The Right to Education Act (RTE) says that “the appropriate government or local authority shall undertake school mapping, and identify all children, including children in remote areas… within a period of one year from the appointed date…”

The idea seems difficult to implement in these areas, but certainly it is not impossible to accommodate children who wish to learn, by improving the infrastructure of the existing schools and restoring the ones destroyed during the conflict. Then only, in a real sense, would the strategy of winning hearts and minds work.

Prakhar Jain is a Correspondent with Tehelka.
prakhar@tehelka.com

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,232 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,793,988 hits

Archives

July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
%d bloggers like this: