New Delhi: Three
years since it came into being and promised free and compulsory
education to all children in the 6-14 age group in India,
redressing violations of the Right to Education (RTE) Act across
the country has been apparently poor, a fact ascribed by the chief
monitoring body to teacher shortage and lack of educational
An RTI reply reveals that till date only 32 percent cases of
violation have been dealt with. According to the RTI reply, of the
3,632 complaints received over the last three years, the National
Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the chief
monitoring body for the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory
Education Act, has been able to act on just 1,191 cases. In other
words, 68 percent of the cases remain unacted.
RTI activist Rashmi Gupta, who had sought the information, said
that the figures are disheartening, to say the least.
A different RTI querry filed by Gupta further revealed that the
Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has
received 557 complaints of RTE violations in the last three years,
of which 116 have been disposed of - a disposal rate of 21
"Under sections 27 and 28 of the RTE Act, these commissions (state
commissions and the NCPCR) are to monitor and redress violations
of the Act. The RTI data shows the lack of efficacy on the part of
the commissions in redressing grievances. So where do parents and
guardians go if a child's right to education is violated?" Gupta
"Hence it is important that the accountability (of the
commissions) is fixed," she added.
To give some state-wise examples: NCPCR received 970 complaints
from Delhi over the last three years. Only 235 have been disposed
of until now. Similarly, of the 842 complaints received from
Andhra Pradesh, only 44 have been disposed of.
In the case of Uttar Pradesh, 83 of the 179 complaints have been
disposed of and in the case of Maharashtra, 108 of 150 have been
Elaborating on the nature of complaints received, the RTI reply
states: "Infrastructure, corporal punishment, denial of admission,
denial of entitlements, pupil-teacher ratio, and detention are the
major issues regarding which complaints were made."
Surprisingly, NCPCR chairperson Shantha Sinha has a different take
on the figures revealed by the RTI reply. "Every complaint that
has come to us has been disposed of. We don't have any case
pending," Sinha told IANS.
When questioned about the discrepancy in her statement and what
her department revealed in the RTI reply, Sinha said: "There has
been a misunderstanding. What the RTI reply meant by disposal was
closing down of a case. It's true that a little over 30 percent of
the complaints, or cases have been closed down, and that is
because we don't close a case until we are satisfied with the
Sinha said that the biggest challenge has been addressing the
shortage of qualified teachers.
"Shortage of trained teachers remains a problem. Recruitment of
teachers is still in process...there are still para-teachers and
Shiksha Mitras. Infrastructure is also a challenge, like toilets
and clean drinking water in all schools. Things are not becoming
worse, but progress is very slow," she admitted.
On the positives, the chairperson said that since the Act's
implementation, awareness among parents about their child's
education has increased, and so has the enrolment rate in schools.
However, the recently released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)
raised questions about the quality of education.
"You can't look at quality of education in isolation, because to
ensure quality, other factors have to be considered, like good
teachers. A lot of work is still to be done, and the field of
education needs more investment," Sinha said.
(Azera Rahman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)