State-level advisory panel on RTE to be formed

State-level advisory panel on RTE to be formed

A state-level advisory committee will soon be formed to ensure that private schools are not harassed by officials of the Department of Public Instruction in the name of implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act.

The committee would have representatives of private school managements as well as government officials and educationists, Minister for Primary and Secondary, Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, told reporters here on Thursday evening after holding discussions with managements of private schools. According to Kageri, many issues with regard to RTE are to be clarified. 

“We have set in motion another process to ease the things,” he explained, adding that all private schools had promised to cooperate in RTE implementation.

The minister made it clear that any discrimination against students admitted under RTE would be taken “very seriously”. But schools would be given some leeway in fully complying with RTE as the admission process has been completed, he added. The committee will meet often and discuss all issues pertaining to RTE implementation.

L R Shivaramegowda, President of Karnataka Federation of Independent School Managements (KFISM), claimed that they would extend “full cooperation” to the government in RTE implementation. “There are some grey areas. We’ve sought clarifications on the creamy layer and minority status,” he said.

Shivaramegowda, however, clarified that schools under KFISM would not be closed, although they supported the demands raised by the Karnataka Unaided School Managements’ Association (Kusma).

A Mariappa, secretary, Kusma, sought to defend the call for closing schools for a week.

The call was withdrawn on Wednesday after a poor response from many schools. 

“We pleaded with Kageri to address our problems but he didn’t listen. Schools in remote places were harassed by officials of Department of Public Instruction. Hence, we had to call for the school closure,” Mariappa said. Sudi Suresh, Secretary of Karnataka State Private School Managements’ Federation, demanded protection from such harassment.

Representatives of Karnataka State Private Schools Management Federation and Karnataka Unaided Minority School Managements’ Association were also present.

Earlier in the day, activists of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) staged a protest in front of Oxford English School in Nandini Layout. 

A teacher at the school has been accused of instigating a student to cut tufts of hair of four children, including three admitted under the RTE quota. The school principal, Ajith Prabhu, said that the protest forced them to shut down even a day after Kusma called off the strike. 

Meanwhile, the principal convenor of Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samithi, Siddapura Manju, lodged a complaint  with the Cubbon Park police alleging that G S Sharma, former president of Kusma, violated a Supreme Court order. He made “derogatory” remarks against poorer sections and discriminated against lower castes, Manju stated in the complaint.

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