Policy flaw in RTE act holds back OrphansApril 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm
Just a few days back, I went to lab in the morning and started reading an online news article, as usual. Suddenly my mind was stuck to read an article title, "School education: Strict rules bar orphans from RTE benefits". It reported that according to RTE Act 2010, it is mandatory for all to produce income certificate, caste certificate, BPL card and birth certificate to get free education. In private schools, 25% seats are reserved for economically weaker sections. But they made it mandatory to provide all the documents which orphaned children can never produce. Thus they are barred from receiving benefits out of RTE.
When asked about the provision of the RTE regarding documents, Brij Kishore Sharma education minister of rajasthan said: "It is compulsory for all to submit the documents to get admission under RTE. Without such documents, no one can take benefit of the RTE." When asked how an orphan can submit such documents, he said he would look into the matter. District education officer, Jaipur, Shiv Charan Meena said: "Unlike SCs, STs, BPL, disabled, there is no separate category mentioned for orphans in RTE. So, we have sought guidelines from the government on what documents orphans shall produce to get the benefit of RTE."
Now, this is a flaw in the RTE. It seems this expulsion is unintentional and due to lack of in-depth thinking while making the act. However, it can be rectified now by adding an annexure so that orphaned children can also get the benefits of RTE. This should be done at the earliest. Otherwise these children would be deprived of the benefits of this act in the coming academic year. We can envision the future India as a country where every children irrespective of their social status, will atleast get education up to a certain minimum level.
IM's view: Generally, when there is a scenario like this where there is a clear flaw or lacuna in an act and the minister comments that he/she would look into the matter, that generally don't see any action taken in less than a year and most times, even more. We see this as a loss of a year for these children, which ministers generally don't give much consideration to. With IM's political accountability coming to fore, we'll push forward to make provisions to fix such issues faster.