Skip to main content

NCPCR team to visit Gujarat in July third week to inquire into implementation of right to education Act

Locked toilet in a Kutch school
By Our Representative
A high-level National Protection for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) team is expected to visit Gujarat in the third week of July this year on the basis of inquiries it made following a recent NGO survey, “Study on Implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009”, which found that the Gujarat government has failed to implement the main provisions of the RTE. According to informed sources, the team is likely to particularly focus on Kutch schools, from where it got ground-level reports that the situation with regard to implementation of RTE is the worst, especially in the remote villages.
Carried out by Janvikas, the survey is focused on 506 primary schools in Ahmedabad, Anand, Kheda, Kutch, Mehsana, Panchmahal, Sabarkantha and Vadodara districts. The study found that the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) was the worst in the schools in Kheda district (100%), followed by Kutch (92%) and Vadodara (89%). The study says, “This has a direct impact on the children's basic literacy skills of counting and, language viz. reading and writing. Therefore the children are also de-motivated and the chances of drop-out are high.
A teacher in Class I in Gomtipur Urdu Shala in Ahmedabad district having classes from I-V Standard has been quoted as saying, “I have to handle 80 children in the classroom. It is equivalent to two classes. I have to give quality feedback also. Sometimes if my colleague is on leave, I have to handle 150 children, which is impossible. I cannot teach, my entire energy goes in controlling kids. I go home tired, with headache, with no motivation to come back again to teach”.
The study reveals, “Overall about 35% of the schools did not have adequate number of subject teachers. This indicates a grave picture, where the schools are not equipped to handle the children or give them qualitative inputs. This has affected the education of children. Overall there is 80% deficit in the pupil room ratio in schools having Std. I –V."
This is a very high percentage for any state, let alone Gujarat, which otherwise has very good infrastructure. Kheda district (100%) and Kutch (100%) top the chart, followed by Panchmahal (92%).All the districts face inadequacy in number of classrooms, teachers handle two standards in one classroom. As schools having Std. I –VIII, the percentage of adequate teachers is 54% in Gujarat. In Sabarkantha it was 87% followed by Anand with 85% and Kutch district with 63%.
Yet another RTE requirement is that each standard should have a separate class-room and a classroom should be of 300 sq. ft. “During observation method, it was found that many schools were having two standards combined in one class because of lack of students. The teachers find it difficult to cope up with teaching two standards at a given point of time as they have to take two subjects of two different standards in the same class. It is difficult for a teacher to pay attention to all especially to children who are shy and quiet“, the study says.
“Overall deficit ratio in schools having Std. I –VIII is 54%. Sabarkantha with 87% schools was at the first spot followed by Anand with 85% and Kutch district with 63%”, the study says, adding, as for midday meals, it was found that 24% of the schools did not have space or shed for cooking. About 76% of the schools in Ahmedabad do not have cooking space or shed for cooking because the mid-day meals are supplied by Akshaya patra and Stree Shakti organizations and therefore there was not much need for such a shed. However, districts that fared poorly were Anand (22%), followed by Kheda (20%) and Mehsana (20%). 
The study says, “It was observed that in most of the districts the cooking shed was in dilapidated condition and many of the kitchens did not have a roof. In all, 94% of the schools received adequate quantity mid-day meals, but it was difficult to exactly measure the quota of mid-day meals served to the children. Yet, it was observed, in Panchmahals district, there was discrepancies in serving mid-day meals, followed by Kutch district. In Khavda region of Kutch it was observed that the teachers were quite irregular and therefore the mid-day meals were not prepared regularly.
While 82% of the schools had seating arrangements for midday meals, random observation of 35 schools in eight districts revealed that, things were contrary to the RTE, under which midday meals should be served in a clean hygienic environment. It was observed in Mehsana district, Kanya Pratmik Shala-1 that there is no separate space for children to eat and therefore the children sit in the lobby of the abandoned school building and have midday meals. 
Unused midday meal shed in a Kutch school
In Panchmahals district, in one of the schools, a case of discrimination was reported by one of the parents in serving mid day meals. Some parents belonging to marginalized community said that their children did not receive cooked food and when their child protested about discrimination the teachers used derogatory words against the child.
The study says that the quantitative data did show that most schools have clean drinking water for children. There are few schools that do have even purifying systems but many don't. Around 88% of the schools have access to drinking water facilities. Yet, Kutch fared poorly with non-availability of water (30%) and 15 schools followed by Vadodara (28%) and Anand (11%). There was complaint of not having clean drinking water at most places.
The three major issues related to the provision of drinking water are – the source of the water, quality of water and storage of water. However, the study says, “In majority of the cases the water is put directly into the storage tank, without any purification. The tanks in a lot of schools are old cement tanks. There is no system in place of getting the tanks cleaned. The structure of most tanks is such that it is not possible to get them cleaned. Tanks have fungus growing on the inside of the walls. There are several cases where the lids of the tanks are rusted and at times the tanks do not have a lid.”
Further, the study found, “The area around the water tank is dirty as there is no proper outlet for the excess water to drain away properly. Many times children wash their plates near the same water tank due to lack of facility to wash their dishes after MDM. This makes the surroundings dirty. Kutch district has the tanks to store water but as there is water shortage in the villages, drinking water in schools is a far cry. Kheda district shows 100% drinking water facility but purification and storage of the water is a matter of concern.”
Further, it was found that the toilet blocks are not a part of the main school building at most places. The study says, “This makes it difficult for children to use them during monsoon. In a majority of the cases the urinals are open from the top and have only half partitions. There are no doors and no roof in large number urinals of the schools. This is not safe and would deter older children, especially girls from using such toilets. A large number of toilets were found locked as well. So the toilets were not useable. The structure of the urinal is inappropriate as there is no hole in the ground; it had a flat surface, no flushing system and no provision of water, hence it is unhygienic and difficult to keep clean.”
Further, “there is no provision of toilets for differently-abled children. Kutch district has 100% separate toilets in the 50 schools surveyed. But in the schools of Khavda, there is no water in the school or in the village. The toilets once used have never been cleaned or used again, as a result a large number of schools have kept their toilets locked.” 

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.