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RTE in place, but no water or toilets

Government run schools, Right to Education

NEW DELHI: Little seems to have changed in the city since the Right to Education was implemented exactly two years ago. A large number of schools still lack basic facilities promised under the new constitutional right. A study by Delhi RTE Forum-an umbrella body of 20 non-profit organizations-says denial of admission and absence of basic facilities in schools pose a hurdle in proper implementation of the RTE. The forum had surveyed 207 schools in south Delhi’s Madanpur Khadar and different areas of east Delhi, including Trilokpuri and Kalyanpuri, in November last year. It found that only 5% of the schools had provision for clean drinking water and as many as 30% of the schools did not have proper toilets and playgrounds.

“Most of those schools lacked basic facilities promised under RTE. We spoke to nearly 1,200 students from 32 schools as part of a focused group discussion. Many of them said they did not go to school as it didn’t help them in any way,” said Saurabh Sharma, a member of the forum. The survey also found that 22% of the schools did not have proper fencing or boundary walls, and 30% of them did not have separate toilets for boys and girls. Sharma said most schools did not have a School Management Committee (SMC) as the government notified the rules only in November 2011.

All of the schools surveyed are run either by MCD or Delhi government. The forum also surveyed 5,006 households selected randomly in various parts of east Delhi in June last year while the admissions for 2011-12 session in the Delhi government schools were still on. The forum found that 3.3% of the children surveyed did not go to school. Nearly 7% of the children out of school had special needs. “Though RTE ensures equal opportunities for children with special needs, the school authorities are completely unaware of their needs. As a result, many drop out or not get enrolled at all,” the survey report says.

The Times of India, 02 April 2012

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