It is very clearly mentioned in the Right To Education rules, under the Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, that students who are allotted seat sunder RTE should not be discriminated academically, culturally and socially. The Act was formulated with the noble intention of not leaving behind underprivileged children from equality and quality education.

It is 5 years since the Act has come into force in the State but time and again it is proved that there are too many lacunae in its implementation.  Just 3 days ago an instance of first standard students who were allotted seats under RTE were found to be made sit separately and taught at a school in J P Nagar.  Parents who found out resorted to protest. But should protests be the means to fulfill the end? This is but a stray example of discrimination and insults that RTE students face.

Refusing admission, having a separate class, making them sit separately, segregating them from general students at all cultural and sports activities, discriminating during mid-day meals, making them sit in the back benches, referring to them as RTE students in an insulting manner…… are all attitudes that the private schools have imbibed and resorting to practicing a new kind of untouchability.

At first the private schools made their best efforts to avoid coming under RTE, giving excuses like they are unaided schools, minority school etc, thereby defeating the very purpose of the Act that aimed at providing quality and equal education to all.  The government and the law made it mandatory for them to follow RTE and now the private schools have learnt the mean act of practicing untouchability in its new form.

Under such circumstances, the responsibility of parents, guardians and local education officers have grown multifold.  Any discrimination noticed in any school must immediately be reported to the higher officials.  A permanent Complaint Management Cell must be established. Both the children and parents must be sensitised to recognise and assert such issues and report.  There is also a need for propaganda against the menace. Stringent measures should be taken to punish the culprits.

The government, on top priority, should file criminal cases against anyone resorting to discrimination between children. Children should be protected from any such shocks and anxiety.  The entire society should take the responsibility towards building a future generation devoid of such shame and create an environment conducive to making education happy.