Friday, July 23, 2010

Every postcards had story to tell

Neha Pushkarna | TNN

New Delhi: Nearly 200 children from government and MCD schools in the city wrote to the chief justice of Delhi high court once in May and again on Monday highlighting the abysmal state of their schools and the need to implement right to education.The children shared a variety of problems they face in school by sending postcards to the chief justice.About 141 children came together in Jahangirpuri on May 22,and 65 in Dwarka on Monday to participate in the RTE postcard campaign launched by a civil rights group called Social Jurist in collaboration with NGOs.

From teachers beating them up and forcing them to collect garbage,to toilets remaining locked and clean drinking water being inaccessible,the children had a lot to write about.Shahnaaz Khatoon,a class VIII student of Rani Channama Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Jahangirpuri,wrote, Madam padai ke samay phone pe baat karti rehti hai (The teacher keeps talking on phone during class). She said that water in the tank of her school had not been cleaned for 8-10 days.She added,however,that the playground in the school was good.

Poonam,class IV student at MCD school in Jahangirpuri,B-Block,wrote, Our madam is good.She teaches us.But our principal often beats us and makes us pick up garbage.Please take action.

Every postcard had a story to tell.While some students wrote that the fans and lights in classrooms didnt work,others were upset about the lack of tables and chairs.A few even complained that the teachers discouraged them from asking questions and the classes were often conducted on the playground.Many of them even left their phone numbers on the postcard.

These children are hopeful that contacting higher authorities directly may change their school for the better.Speaking to TOI on Wednesday,Shahnaz said, The toilet in our school is seldom cleaned.Even the food we get in school (midday meal) is often too little and does not taste good.We have complained to many people several times but nothing happened.Then someone told us writing to the chief justice could help.
According to Ashok Agarwal,founder of Social Jurist,more students are likely to come together in the coming days to put across their side of the story. RTE has been implemented but nothing has changed.The infrastructure and the student-teacher ratio continues to be bad.We wanted the court to intervene, Agarwal said.
He added, We asked children to write their top three problems and also the good things about their school.It should make a difference.

Times of India, New Delhi, July 15, 2010

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