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On weekends, working pros, students spread awareness on RTE

Niveditha Jain, Oct 19,, 2015, Bengaluru: DHNS: 0:45 IST
Volunteers talk to potential RTE parents during a weekend awareness drive. DH PHOTO
While Saturday and Sunday are days of leisure for many, a group of working professionals and college students is dedicating its weekends to the noble cause of spreading word on the Right to Education (RTE) Act and helping children gain admission into schools under the RTE quota.

For this bunch of 20 volunteers from Janaadhikaara Sangharsha Parishath (JSP), weekends are about reaching out to citizens from economically backward areas and helping them fill out RTE applications.

Their hard work has resulted in the admission of 5,000-odd children in various institutions under the RTE quota, over the last one year.

The volunteers recently undertook a survey at PG Halli and Shariff Nagar in Yeshwantpur.
Adarsh R Iyer, founder and co-president of JSP, said the mission was to prepare the public to exercise their legal right without paying bribe to middlemen.

“During our previous survey, we found that various schools had failed to comply with the RTE Act. We had complained about this earlier to Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi. Families whose earnings are below Rs 3.5 lakh per annum are eligible for the seats.

However, the act is not effectively implemented in Karnataka. Major culprits are the tahsildars who take bribes and issue income certificate without checking,” Iyer said.

Pradhyumna Naresh, another volunteer, said their survey found that many parents were coughing up money to RTE agents to get their children enrolled in schools. There is lack of awareness about the Act and some parents do not have requisite documents, too, he said.

The State government has earmarked a budget of Rs 22,000 crore for education, including Central government funds. The utilisation of funds, however, needs to be made transparent, Naresh added.

Apart from the RTE Act, the volunteers also help citizens with other welfare schemes such as widow pension, senior citizen pension, handicap pension and Yeshasvini health insurance scheme. Till date, they have covered about 20 economically backward areas in the City.

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