NPP protests against violation of RTE Act in J&K

25% free seats be given to poor students by Pvt. Schools: Harsh Dev

Jammu:   Agitated over the brazen violation of Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 by the present regime in UT of J&K, a strong contingent of Panther activists spearheaded by Mr. Harsh Dev Singh Chairman-JKNPP and former Education Minister staged a vociferous protest demonstration at Press Club, Jammu today. While raising slogans against the govt, the infuriated protesters accused the UT administration of colluding with the private schools and further extracting fees and other charges from the students of Class-I to Class-VIII by blatantly defying the provisions of RTE Act.

Highlighting a pivotal feature of the RTE Act, Mr. Singh said that it mandated the private schools to take at least 25% of the class strength from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) at the time of admission in class-I and provide free and compulsory education till class-VIII. “The said provision is not being implemented in J&K due to an unholy nexus between the top officers of Education Deptt and the private school management thereby depriving the poor and economically weaker students of their constitutional rights to have education in such schools. All this is done due to the vested interests of the unscrupulous combine of officers and private school owners which needed due cognizance of the Govt as well as law enforcement authorities besides the vigilante organizations. The nexus needs to be busted”, Singh asserted.

Addressing the media, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh expressed anguish over the gross violation of the most revolutionary mandate of the Act by govt as well as private schools. He said not only the most significant provisions of the RTE Act have been violated with impunity by the Education Deptt but the private schools have also been granted immunity from observing the mandatory provisions of the Act in view of a well knit nexus operational in the system. “RTE Act envisaged free and compulsory education to all the children of the age of 6 to 14 years, from class-I to class-VIII. It provides that no school fee, capitation, charges or expenses are to be paid by the child to get elementary education, a provision which was being brazenly defied by the govt schools in the UT of J&K. The Act further states that no child or his parent would be subject to any screening procedure for admission to school, no child shall be held back in any class till class-VIII and no child expelled from school. It further calls for provision of free text-books, writing materials and uniforms”, revealed Mr. Singh.

Expressing shock over the collection of huge fee and other charges by the govt from students of class-I to class-VIII in violation of the said Act, Mr. Singh revealed that the schools have been charging the students in the forms of School Improvement Fund, Red Cross Fund, Mutual Benefits Fund, Games Fund, Printing Fund, Science Fund, Computer Fund, Lab development Fund, Social activity Fund, Sweeping charges, Electricity/Telephone Fund and News Fund in brazen violation of the provisions of the RTE Act. He sought the refund of all fee charged from students by govt as well as private schools for the last two years as per the mandate of RTE Act and also for the reason that there has been hardly any academic activity in the schools. Further alleging disregard for the RTE law which had been incorporated even as a Fundamental Right in Art 21-A of the Constitution of India, Mr. Singh called for civil as well as penal action against those defying the significant constitutional guarantees provided to the citizens of this UT.

Refund all the fees charged from the students by the govt and private schools without any delay or else NPP would be forced to resort to agitation against the Education Deptt.

            Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Gagan Pratap Singh, Surinder Chouhan, Rajeshwar Singh Sambyal, Yashpaul Sharma, Mohinder Singh, Ravinder Jamwal, Vishab Singh, Rashpaul Singh, Manmohan Singh, Manjeet Singh, Romesh Singh, Munsha Singh, Tarsem Singh, Surat Singh besides others.