Wednesday, May 30, 2012


SOCIAL JURIST 478, Lawyers Chambers, Western Wing, Tis Hazari Court, Delhi-54 To Hon’ble Shri A.K. Sikri Acting Chief Justice Delhi High Court, New Delhi- 110003 30.05.2012 Subject: Grievances of children studying in Government Schools relating to various violations of their Right to Education brought to light by a Postcard Campaign held by Social Jurist Respected Sir, We at Social Jurist have the honour to bring to your kind notice the grave violations of the Constitutional and the statutory rights of the children to free and compulsory quality elementary education as envisaged in Article 21(Right to life with dignity), Article 21-A (Right to Education) of the Constitution of India, Article 38 (Right to Social Justice) and in Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which have come to light during the RTE POSTCARD CAMPAIGN held on 26.05.2012 and 27.05.2012 at Jehangirpuri Resettlement Colony and Samyapur Badli Slum Colony respectively. This campaign saw wide-scale participation from children studying in Government schools namely Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalaya, Badli, Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli, Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Jehangirpuri amongst others, who wrote the pros and cons regarding their schools on postcards seeking Your Lordship’s intervention for realization of their rights. We at Social Jurist are a group of lawyers and social activists dedicated to the cause of the common man and in particular, the children who are the building blocks of the society. There are various recurring problems which emerge as a result of this Campaign. All the 74 postcards are attached hereto for your kind perusal and consideration. This letter is in continuation to our earlier letters dated 27.05.2010, 12.07.2010 and 24.12.2011{which form the subject matter of a pending PIL (W.P.(c) No. 4535/2010) entitled Court On Its Own Motion v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and M.C.D.}, which is a constant endeavour on our part to ensure that the rights of the children are upheld. The enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 has ensured an instrument to gain access to free and quality elementary education. However, it is necessary to remove the lacunas in the system to ensure that this access is not hindered by institutional loopholes. We acknowledge the initiative on the part of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court for more than a decade which has been fruitful in ensuring greater access to education all over the country in general and Delhi in particular. It is submitted that various landmark orders regarding the Right to Education passed by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the past have been instrumental in initiating a positive change in the process of realization of the Right to Education of the children. (1) Sushmita, a student of MCD Primary School, Sector-18, Rohini, New Delhi says that studies take place and the teacher teaches properly. (2) Rajkumari from R.C.S. K.V., D-block, Jehangirpuri, Delhi appreciates her teacher by saying that she teaches well and maintains discipline. (3) Israel acknowledges the provision of cold water in her school while (4) Firoza from the same school is happy with her teachers and claims to have no complaints from them. However, there are lakhs of children who continue to suffer innumerable hardships owing to absence of quality education, deplorable infrastructure in schools and lack of basic facilities like drinking water, desks, clean toilets, and teachers. The effective implementation of the RTE Act is in jeopardy due to the negligence on the part of the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the repercussions of which are being faced by lakhs of children studying in the city schools. It is indeed a matter of national shame that even after 65 years of Independence, the Public Education System has not been able to deliver quality education to children belonging to the weaker sections of the society. The fact that lakhs of children in the National Capital are still engaged in child labour and are not attending schools is enough to reveal the failure of the Public Education System. The existence of the above facts, even after two years of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, has come to light after the recently held Postcard Campaign which was conducted under the auspices of Social Jurist on 26.05.2012 and 27.05.2012, wherein the children wrote close to 75 postcards penning down their difficulties and highlighting problems faced by them at school. All the children were extremely enthusiastic about being provided a platform to air their opinion about their schools and actively participated in this Campaign. It is submitted that the students surveyed bear testimony to the glaring loopholes in the education system in the form of sub-standard level of education imparted and lack of basic infrastructure. (5) Madhubala, a class XIth student of Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalaya, Badli complains that students have to clean the class roll number wise on a daily basis. (6) Premchand, a student of Class XIIth of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli says that teachers are always sleeping. They tend to ward off students when the latter go to call them to teach. Later, he says, the teachers ask questions to which the students have no answer and then they have to bear insults from the teacher for the same.(7) Sagar, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli says that the teacher makes the students lift the garbage and clean the classroom. He also complains of faulty tube lights and inadequate water facilities, He says that the number of fans is hardly adequate and even the ones present are not effective.(8) Rahul, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli says that the teacher misbehaves with the students and hardly comes to class. Students who go to call the teacher are dismissed off and are asked by the teacher to work from home.(9) Yasmin, a student of R.C.S.K. School, D-Block, Jehangirpuri, even though appreciates the studies at school, complains that classes are not cleaned properly and students have to clean their own classrooms. She says students end up spending more than half of their time in cleaning the classrooms and end up getting dirty while doing so, which in turn affects their studies. (10) Rubina, a student of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Badli complains that the number of fans is inadequate and the ones present are not functional. She also points towards inadequate water supply in the washrooms. (10) Sabina, a student of Government School, K-Block, Jehangirpuri says fans don’t work and it has been 2-3 months since they have. She says that there is a water tank in the school premises but no water supply and the students are not allowed to fill their bottles even when there is supply. (11) Sheik Saddam, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, K-block, Jehangirpuri, says studies don’t take place in school and that there is no hygiene. He complains that the teacher merely takes attendance and lets the students leave. (12) Ismail, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Jehangirpuri says that the students are not provided cold water, even in this heat. Fans don’t function properly and classes are not conducted. (13) Madhuri, a student of R.C.S.K. School, D-Block, Jehangirpuri, says that there is no canteen to provide for food and water and students have to go hungry if they don’t get lunch from home. She says that it’s impossible to concentrate when hungry, in the classes post lunch, and she feels nauseous. (14) Afsana, a student of R.C.S.K. School, D-Block, Jehangirpuri complains that water facilities and hygiene in washrooms are two major problems in her school. Also, she says that she gets to hear abuses in her school. (15) Siraz Anwar, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Azadpur Colony complains that cleaners in their school abuse and students leave the school premises during the school hours due to lack of security. He complains of no water from the water tap. He says that the teacher, when told, asked the students to get water from home. The major issues highlighted by the Postcard Campaign are summarized as under: Teacher Absenteeism Students complain that teachers don’t come to class and even if they do, they don’t teach properly. Students say that they don’t answer questions satisfactorily and in some cases merely take attendance and leave. Concerns about quality of education and certain teachers abusing have also come to the forefront. Infrastructure • Cases of books which are in a bad condition being distributed have been reported. Also, quite a number of students talked about Computer facilities in their school being inadequate and said that there are not enough teachers to teach. • A major issue has been that of unhygienic toilets. It is said that cleaners don’t clean the washrooms and in some cases, there is no water supply in the washrooms. • Complaints of inadequate number of tube lights are many with students saying that the present ones are also mainly non-functional. Majority of students have complained of fans not working in their school in this sweltering heat and a certain student said that it’s been 2-3 months since fans have worked. • There is less number of desks as compared to the students. Lack of adequate seating in classrooms leads students to sit on the floor. • There is no playground in many schools and the teacher doesn’t conduct games. This hampers the physical development of the students. Water problem Students complain that there are no water facilities in schools. In schools where there is a water tank present, there is no water supply. Certain students complain that they aren’t permitted to go fill the bottles even when there is water supply. Complaints of unclean places where the water tank is installed are also rampant. Students say that when the teacher was asked, he asked the students to get water from home. Hygiene Students are made to clean classrooms and lift garbage. Students spend a major chunk of their time cleaning heir own classrooms, sometimes even at the direction of the teachers. A certain student complains that the cleaners asked the students to clean the classrooms. Security There have been many complaints that students get out of the school premises during school hours due to lack of security. Students leave the classes midway, which is a serious issue regarding the children’s security. Workload Students are aggrieved because of too much of written work and are made to prepare files which leave them with no time to learn. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is an important benchmark in the Legal and Educational History of the country as it ensures every child the right to quality elementary education. It envisages dissolving all the inequalities present amongst children so as to ensure that every child is equal before the eyes of Law. The prerogative of the authorities does not end with introducing a means for children to access education but should also extend to ensuring that they can make use of the same in the most effective and efficient manner possible. The authorities, mainly Government of NCT of Delhi and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi should strive to ensure that all the lacunas present in the system are removed so that the continuous struggle of the children for access to education, especially from the weaker and underprivileged strata of the society, comes to an end and the higher purpose of Law as an instrument of social change can be achieved. We, therefore, most humbly request you to kindly take cognizance of the matter at hand and initiate appropriate proceedings against the concerned authorities to redress the grievances of these school students who have been the victims of institutional malfunctioning and have been deprived of their most valuable Constitutional and statutory Right to Education. With regards, Ashok Agarwal, Advocate Adviser, Social Jurist M-9811101923 30.05.2012

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