Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Jahangirpuri students write RTE Postcards to Delhi High Court Acting Chief Justice highlighting sorry state of affairs in schools

SOCIAL JURIST A Civil Rights Group To Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice Mr. B.D. Ahmed High Court of Delhi New Delhi: 110003 August 27, 2013 Subject: Sorry state of affairs in Government and MCD run schools in Jahangirpuri Respected Sir, As part of our effort to critically analyse the position of implementation of right to education, the Social Jurist team, visited a stretch of slums in the Jahangirpuri area on Sunday 04.08.2013 and gathered feedback of students residing in the locality regarding the state of the schools. The students expressed their experiences and views regarding the Delhi Government-run and MCD schools in the area on post-cards addressed to your Hon’ble self. The findings are being briefed up hereunder. The children who wrote post-cards were mainly distributed among three schools: (i) the MCD Primary School, Jahangirpuri, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, K-Block, Jahangirpuri and Government Boys Senior Secondary School, K-Block, Jahangirpuri. A handful of students from the locality were attending to the Government Boys Senior Secondary School, A-Block, Jahangirpuri and the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, A-Block, Jahangirpuri. The problems that have surfaced from the study of these post-cards seem to be part of the common story about all the Government and MCD-run schools in the city: lack of hygiene, unusable toilets, lack of access to drinking water, poor electrical arrangements, lack of desks, lack of discipline, teacher-absenteeism, teachers’ misbehavior and so on. Forty postcards having been written by the students are attached hereto for your kind consideration. MCD Primary School, Jahangirpuri (8 post-cards) • Students from this school have expressed the hardships faced by them due to absence of usable toilets in the school. The toilets meant for students remain very dirty, stinky and unusable. The better ones are reserved for the teachers and if students dare use the same, they are assaulted at the hands of the teachers for doing so. • There is also no proper provision of drinking water in the school. The taps give out unclean water misfit for drinking. • There is a problem of frequent power-cuts in the school. • The mid-day meals are not supplied properly or in sufficient quantity. Moreover, students are engaged for serving mid-day meals. Further, the students are made to stand in a row and eat their meals. • There is massive scarcity of benches in the school. Besides the same, the school premises and play-ground get water-logged during rains, adding to the problem of lack of hygiene. Government Girls Senior Secondary School, K-Block (16 post-cards) • Insects found in mid-day meal on one occasion • Insufficient quantity of mid-day meal served in school • Toilets remain very dirty; on complaining to teachers, they in turn scold the children • Lack of cleanliness in school premises • Children have to stand in the open sun for morning prayers • Studies not properly conducted in the school; proper attention not given to studies • Students not encouraged to ask questions; rather, they are scolded and insulted if they are unable to understand and ask queries • Some teachers have a very positive attitude and are concerned about the students’ future • Mid-day meal not supplied on time • No proper provision for toilets in school • No adequate provision of benches in the school; three children have to share a single bench • Problem of indiscipline and physical fights among students • While exiting the school premises, girls have to face harassment in the nature of obscene and sexist remarks from boys who come for the second shift school • Water collects in the school during rains • Several teachers do not take their classes; many teachers do not report to school in time • Shortage of teachers in school • No proper provision for playing in the school • No proper arrangement of drinking water in school; out of four installed water-tanks, only one is functional • Overcrowding in classrooms • Insufficient, broken and non-functional fans in school Government Boys Senior Secondary School, K-Block (14 post-cards) State of amenities, provisions and hygiene • Toilets in the school remain locked; students have to go in the open for call of nature • There is no proper drinking water facility in the school • The school authorities have complete disregard for hygiene and cleanliness in school. The conditions in the school are very unhygienic. • The school faces the problem of water-logging during rains, which worsens the prevailing unhygienic conditions • Electrical fittings such as fans, bulbs and tube-lights are missing in many classrooms • On some days, mid-day meal is not supplied in school Teachers’ performance, behavior and state of administration in school • Teachers generally behave rudely and abusively with the students. They even assault students and make them sit on the floor for asking questions. • Hardly 3-4 teachers come to school on a given day; sometimes even they go missing. Most of the teachers do not come to school in time. As a result, out of 8 periods, only two to four are conducted on a given day. • Teachers are least interested to teach the students. Studies are not conducted properly in the school. • Students have to stand in the sun for prayers which may be particularly taxing upon the students’ health in case the school is an evening-shift school. • Physical fights are common among students; general discipline is poor. Government Girls Senior Secondary School, A-Block (2 post-cards) • School toilets are in a dirty and unusable state. • There are no functional fans in class-rooms. • There is an enormous over-crowding in class-rooms. One of the students has written that there are 64 students in her Section of Class VII. Government Boys Senior Secondary School, A-Block (1 Post-card) • There are no functional fans in class-rooms. • There is a lack of general discipline in the school; truancy is rampant among students and the same remains unchecked; most of the children leave school at recess. Under the RTE-PIL-Postcards campaign as well as visits to the schools, it has been a general experience that schools of both categories, the ones managed by the Delhi Government and those managed by the MCD, are plagued by problems of very fundamental nature and are far away from the goal of providing quality education. It is indeed a misfortune that after 66 years of independence, the government has not been able to ensure the very basics such as teacher-attendance and hygiene even for the schools in the Capital city. The questions such as raising the bars of education, rethinking, debating and redrawing the goals of our education-system are nowhere in consideration as we are still struggling to arrange the basic infrastructure and conditions even for elementary education. In these circumstances, your constructive interventions are sought so as to trigger a change in the hopeless state of things. With regards, Ashok Agarwal, Advocate Advisor, Social Jurist M: 9811101923

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